So Long, Peter Oborne

Peter Oborne was in the news today:

The chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph has resigned from the paper, accusing it of a “form of fraud on its readers” for its coverage of HSBC and its Swiss tax-dodging scandal.

Peter Oborne claimed the paper did not give due prominence to the HSBC story because of commercial interests.

Newspapers had a “constitutional duty” to tell readers the truth, he said.

It reminded me that I once had a high opinion of him, for writing this last year.

The smoking ban killed the British pub. This vandalism is Labour’s defining legacy

Some people believe Labour’s defining legacy is Iraq. Others think it is the hunting ban. But the issue which has affected most people and which has damaged the fabric and appearance of British community more than anything else is the loss of the local pub.

The British pub is internationally famous. It is entirely bound with the nation’s history. Yet 26 are closing per week – more than 1,000 a year – changing the look of the nation. Town and countryside are littered with pub corpses, boarded up and often awaiting permission for conversion to flats or houses.

And it is not as if something else has come along to bring communities together. Instead, people sit in front of their televisions. This terrible process started with the ban on smoking. Labour was warned that it would result in pub closures, but went ahead regardless. The people it was supposed to protect – the bar staff – have suffered catastrophic job losses as a result (though this is rarely noticed, as so many bar staff are non-unionised, cash-in-hand foreigners). Labour knew this would happen…

But I was also reminded that my high opinion of him evaporated two months later:

…it is time for ministers to wake up and ask exactly who it is that ASH and other anti-smoking organisations represent, and why and on what basis the state is paying for them.

It’s time to loosen the laws against smoking in pubs. It’s time to treat smokers as grown-ups and not pariahs.

No problems with that. The problems started a few lines later with this:

There’s no argument that cigarettes kill, and the early attempts by the tobacco lobby to deny this were dishonest and disreputable.

And this:

I’d also guess that almost every smoker now realises that smoking in public places is a gross intrusion on others.

And this:

They should, of course, acknowledge that the anti-smoking lobby has achieved good things.

Well, I don’t accept any of those last three assertions. I don’t believe that cigarettes kill. I don’t think that smoking in public spaces is a gross intrusion on others. And I don’t think that the anti-smoking lobby has done any good at all.

As I pointed out at the time, as soon as you make these sort of concessions, you’ve lost the argument. There should be no concessions whatever made to the Tobacco Control lie machine.

But today James Delingpole was singing Oborne’s praises:

If you care at all about the future of quality journalism, you really should read Peter Oborne’s letter resigning his post as Chief Political Commentator of the Daily Telegraph.

As far as I’m concerned, quality journalism didn’t die with the resignation of Peter Oborne from the Telegraph. It died a long time before that. And it’s the main reason why I no longer buy newspapers.

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About Frank Davis

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15 Responses to So Long, Peter Oborne

  1. It all died when the leftists got control of basically all the media outlets and they hate the internet which is why Obama is pushing net neutrality which is just code words for dominating the content of us all and making crimes out of anything they so desire………..

  2. RdM says:

    Right On, Frank!!

    May I say, type, as an inveterate amateur proof reader, internal editor, that I’d suggest
    New line breaks, like:

    Well, I don’t accept any of those last three assertions:

    I don’t believe that cigarettes kill.
    I don’t think that smoking in public spaces is a gross intrusion on others.
    And I don’t think that the anti-smoking lobby has done any good at all.

    We need a compendium of evidence, easily accessed

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      And widely disseminated!

    • garyk30 says:

      Doll’s doctors study showed that while 85% of current smokers’ deaths were from the diseases ’caused’ by smoking, the same 85% of the ex-smokers’ deaths were from the diseases ’caused’ by smoking.

      84% of the never-smokers’ deaths were from those same diseases.

      Smoke, quit, or never smoke; it makes no difference, there is an 85% probability that you will die from a disease that is ’caused’ by smoking.

      If all smokers quit today, the percentage of deaths from smoking ’caused’ diseases would be unchanged.

      70 years from now, when all of the ex-smokers were dead, the percentage of deaths from the diseases that used to be said to be ’caused’ by smoking would be unchanged.

      The new villians will be obesity, or booze, or salt, or climate change, or something.

      The hysterical fear-mongering WILL continue without end!!!!!!

      Drug companies will always have drugs to sell, the antis will always need something to hate, and gov’ts will always need something to tax.

  3. waltc says:

    Completely, inexcusably OT but I found this very long article more than interesting. Title tells it all.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

  4. Barry Homan says:

    Something else O/T, I got into a contest with some jerks on a letters-posting the other day: can anyone tell me about the verdict in the United States vs Philip Morris Dept of Justice lawsuit, back in 2006? Did Philip Morris confess that SHS was a hazardous substance, were they just bullied into fabricating a statement? Was there something sneaky going on, some conspiratorial elements underneath it all?

    • http://topnews360.tmcnet.com/topics/a

      WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department was in a new dispute Friday with the tobacco industry over the government’s landmark lawsuit against the companies.

      The government has prepared corrective statements it wants the companies to be forced to make about the health hazards from smoking. But the tobacco companies don’t want those proposed statements put in the public record before they get a chance to review them.

      FORCED TO MAKE…….SOUNDS like somebodys not playing fair doesnt it.So if the tobacco companies make statements then the nazi anti-smokers get to say see even the tobacco companies admit this!!!!! force isnt that what hitler did at bayonet point!

      U.S. Judge Orders Tobacco Companies to Admit Deception and Tell the Truth to the American People

      A federal judge today ordered tobacco companies to admit that they have deliberately deceived the American public and finally tell the truth about their deadly and addictive products and fraudulent marketing. Today’s ruling is a critical step toward ending decades of tobacco industry deception that has resulted in millions of premature deaths, untold suffering and billions in health care costs. Requiring the tobacco companies to finally tell the truth is a small price to pay for the devastating consequences of their wrongdoing.

      Today’s ruling spells out the corrective statements U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler first ordered tobacco companies to make in 2006 when she found them guilty of violating civil racketeering laws and engaging in a decades-long fraud to deceive the American people.

      The Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund (a 501c4 affiliate of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids) is one of six public health groups that Judge Kessler allowed to intervene in the case, along with the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and National African American Tobacco Prevention Network.

      SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

      http://www.bizjournals.com/prnewswire/press_releases/2012/11/27/DC19766

  5. The New Pagan Religions that Built Nazism

    There are many variations within neopaganism, deriving from the fact that it collects a large number of geographically diverse faiths with some common threads, but all neopagans agree on one crucial point: Christianity must be, if it is not already, defeated.

    As showed in the first article of this series, Hitler’s Neopaganism and Anti-Christianity, and in anthropologist and historian Karla Poewe’s book New Religions and the Nazis (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) , being neopagan in the 1920s and 1930s was deeply linked to opposition to the Jewish-Christian tradition.

    The book reveals a major, so far neglected, element of Nazi history: the contribution of the so-called new religions, defined as non-established religions, to the emergence of Nazi ideology in the twenties and thirties in Germany.

    This book is not to be overlooked or underestimated because it’s the result of a 10-year ground-breaking research in the German Federal Archives in Berlin and Koblenz. It was researched from original documents, letters and unpublished papers, including the SS personnel files held in the German Federal Archives.

    The fall of the Berlin Wall gave Poewe, New Religions and the Nazis’ author, access to the archives of the Berlin Mission Society. In 1995, while working in these archives, she discovered a great amount of material regarding conflicts between members of the Berlin Mission, a Christian missionary society, and the Nazis.

    Karla Poewe is Professor Emeritus in Anthropology at the University of Calgary, in Canada, and Adjunct Research Professor at Liverpool Hope University, in England. She was interviewed by the Calgary Herald after her book came out:

    “The new religions that developed in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s ushered in National Socialism and nurtured it,” Poewe said.

    “There were constant battles in the 1920s between Christians and the members of these new religions, because they identified Christianity as a kind of Jewish imperialism. They wanted nothing to do with it, so they came up with their own version. They tried to build a genuine German religion.”

    Because the Nazis were “on the far right,” as a nationalist movement, they tend to be misinterpreted as a more extreme version of Christian conservatism. But “they weren’t trying to conserve anything,” Poewe said. They were rather extreme radicals, trying to overthrow completely the 1,000-year tradition of German Christianity — replacing the cross with the swastika.

    “There’s a big mistake in identifying National Socialism as a Christian movement,” Poewe said.

    “There was a Deutsche Christen movement, but they weren’t Christian at all. They rejected the Old Testament, Jesus had to be an Aryan, they were hostile to St. Paul, and they emphasized (the Gospel of) St. Mark. They remained in the church, but rejected everything Christian like the Trinity. Christ was at best a good philosopher.” [Emphases added]
    Poewe researched the former German missionary Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, who in the 1920s founded the German Faith Movement (Deutsche Glaubensbewegung or DGB), mixing Nordic and Hindu religions with Germanic idealistic philosophy. This new religion was intended to express the essence of National Socialism and the New German Man, as found in the the SS.

    We have to consider the state of major turmoil into which the First World War threw Germany. The loss of the war and and the punitive, draconian conditions of the Treaty of Versailles imposed on Germany produced general discontent and resentment. Therefore Germans, and in particular intellectuals, took political, ideological and religious matters into their hands with the purpose of achieving national regeneration.

    By fusing politics, religion, theology, Indo-Aryan metaphysics and Darwinian theory they intended to create a new, genuinely German, pagan-faith-based political movement: that was National Socialism.

    Hauer, founder of the DGB,

    is particularly interesting, Poewe said, because he sought the pagan roots of German religion in Hinduism. In pre-history, the Aryans who invaded northern India were the same race as those who later became Germans. And Hauer found the warrior universe of the Bhagavad Gita particularly inspiring — “it fed him the kind of moral relativism he sought,” Poewe said.

    “The rejection of Christianity was due to the fact that it is universal, and they wanted something local” — the Volkisch (folk) phenomenon. “They rejected the universalist. They wanted something with a historical-genetic-racial link to them,” Poewe said.

    “They also rejected Christian morality. They couldn’t stand the Ten Commandments. They were totally against any categorical or timeless morality. They wanted something opportunistic, something that changed with the human circumstances.” [Emphasis added]
    Sounds familiar. Where have I heard this before? There are no moral absolutes, anything goes, we just want to be happy, we indeed have a right to be happy: that’s all there is to ethics. It sounds very, very modern. It’s today’s prevailing ethos, complete with the jettisoning of Christianity.

    Add to that our own revival of eugenics, wide use of science in reproduction and epidemic of abortions, and Nazism looks more and more like a pioneering movement.

    And Christian universalism, mentioned in the quotation, is indeed a profound antidote to racism, now as in Hitler’s time.

    Unsurprisingly, Poewe observed that former Nazis were prominent in the German New Age movement of the 1970s.

    The Nazi movement “took elements from the Christian religion, but it didn’t mean they were Christian. They also took things from Hinduism, from Buddhism — Tibetan Buddhism was particularly popular among the SS. From this they concocted a mythology that gave them a picture of the world that appealed to them. They wrote about it, novels, plays, poetry. It was very political, in some ways pantheistic.”

    And here’s another element of great modernity in Nazism:

    Hauer’s DGB bunde shared with National Socialism a tendency toward homoerotism. Hauer himself was permissibly heterosexual, but “homosexuality was very tolerated in these youth movements, and a high percentage of the SA and SS were homosexual or bisexual. People like to think that because Adolf Hitler murdered (SA leader) Ernst Rohm, who was homosexual, he was repressive of homosexuality. But that wasn’t the case. It’s a myth to think the Nazi movement was against homosexuality. Far from it; it wasn’t sexually repressive at all,” Poewe said. [Emphasis added]
    It all fits nicely.

    Third part tomorrow.

    http://enzaferreri.blogspot.ca/2014/01/new-pagan-religions-that-built-nazism.html#axzz3S650KX00

    • Some French bloke says:

      “It all fits nicely.”

      This analogy between nazism and “today’s prevailing ethos” struck me as being a tad contrived.
      On the one hand, “There are no moral absolutes, anything goes, we just want to be happy, we indeed have a right to be happy: that’s all there is to ethics.”
      On the other, “A Short History of Decay” by Emil Cioran I was quoting from yesterday, contains the author’s theory of fanaticism, notably that “When we refuse to admit the interchangeable character of ideas, blood flows…”

      But couldn’t the two conflicting ideas be reconciled by pointing out that moral relativism can sometimes be used as a springboard to reach new levels of tyranny? And OTOH, that ‘moral relativism’ could equally well apply to a stage where values are re-assessed by autonomous individuals?
      According to Cornelius Castoriadis, Autonomous individuals—the essence of an autonomous society—must continuously examine themselves and engage in critical reflection.
      In Castoriadis’ definition of it, values without autonomy become what undermined traditional morality, and newfangled tyrannies stemmed from that fundamental decay/betrayal, while “autonomy without values” becomes a contradiction in terms.
      It’s only thanks to the stubbornly ‘heteronomous’ nature of our societies, and ultimately of the individuals that compose them, that e.g. anti-tobacco lunacy has been able to take hold and thrive. Still, individuals of this day and age had been offered unprecedented levels of opportunity to develop their ‘autonomy’ (with increased leisure time, lifespans and access to information sources)!
      Some of Brendan O’Neill’s reflections on Political Correctness (quoted by Frank on Jan. 31st) also seem to echo back appositely here: It has no real roots in society or history, like the more traditional forms of morality did. […] And the end result is undoubtedly tyrannical and stifling and profoundly antagonistic both to individual autonomy and freedom of speech
      And PC would be left with no teeth if it weren’t for the demise and decay of traditional forms of authority and traditional forms of morality.
      So that thing has nothing but (borrowed) teeth, and no roots, like some kind of plastic carnivorous plant.

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