We live in a world where people often don’t say what they really think, at least in public. But sometimes the truth comes out, and when it does, it reveals attitudes we may not have suspected. There can be several reasons for the secrecy and I give examples of the following.
One reason not to say what you think is politeness, or the disapproval of the wider society. This applies to various forms of racism.
A second reason is a desire to win an ideological war.
A third reason motivates the politician who thinks he knows the public interest, but does not trust the public.
As for the first reason, take the private thoughts of one politician that Jews swooned over: President Franklin D Roosevelt. In 1923, as a member of the Harvard board of directors, Roosevelt decided there were too many Jewish students at the college and helped institute a quota to limit the number admitted.
Graham: This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.
Nixon: You believe that?
Graham: Yes, sir.
Nixon: Oh, boy. So do I. I can’t ever say that, but I believe it.
As a non-Jew I hear things that people would not say if they perceived I was Jewish. I have witnessed shocking disgraceful and outrageous anti-Semitism in Parliament… completely cross-party.
Also in Britain the French Ambassador to London, Daniel Bernard, told his close friend Lord Black of Crossharbour, proprietor of The Daily Telegraph, that Israel was a “shitty little country” and also “Why should we be in danger of World War Three because of these people?”.
Unfortunately for M Bernard the conversation was conveyed by Lord Black to his journalist wife, Barbara Amiel, who referred to the remark in her Daily Telegraph column without identifying Bernard by name. But within 24 hours, he was identified.
Bernard was of course unhappy about this – he said that the publicity was a breach of trust at a party where he thought he was among friends.
Stephen Steinlight, a Jew with Muslim friends, says that they
have told me in agonizing personal confessions — friends that attended madrassah and then Islamic institutions of higher learning in countries ranging from Morocco to Egypt, Bosnia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — that it is virtually impossible to be reared in classical Islam and not be educated to hate Jews — based on a literalist reading the Koran, where many of the verses concerning Jews (and Christians) are hateful incitements to murder.
“If the right forces us all to either defend (radical black minister Jeremiah) Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. . . . This makes them ‘sputter’ with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.”
A second example of ideological dishonesty being exposed was when hackers penetrated the computer network of University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and leaked a collection of email messages, data files and data processing programs. This trove of private correspondence revealed scientific fraud and data manipulation by scientists concerning the man-made Global Warming Theory.
To give an idea of the flavor: One email said:
“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”
Then there is the third motive for talking behind your back. This is the idea that you can’t be trusted with the truth.
Remove the right to speak about your frustrations, and only violence is left. Weimar Germany — to give just one example — was replete with hate-speech laws intended to limit speech the state did not like. These laws did nothing whatsoever to limit the rise of extremism; it only made martyrs out of those it pursued, and persuaded an even larger number of people that the time for talking was over.
Neather went on to say that “the policy was intended—even if this wasn’t its main purpose — to rub the right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.” He referred to a secret government report, and his allegations were later proven after a request through the ‘freedom of information act’ secured access to that report. After the response to his remarks got heated, Neather hastened to say that the main purpose was to fill shortages in the work force and that “excitable” right wingers are seeing a plot where there wasn’t any.
Nonetheless, I would, as a voter, want to know if a politician seeking my vote has plans to change my society. I could agree with it, or disagree with it, but I would want to know.
Medvedev replied “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
If the people you identify with don’t like you, then you should consider the possibilities:
- They are right. There is something wrong with you, or your beliefs, or your behavior.
- They are wrong. There is something wrong with your identifying with them.
- They are right about everything else, and just mysteriously wrong about you.
Two progressive Jewish students went to a conference of peers who they believed were fighting the righteous battle against racist speech and hate crimes. At that conference, Arielle Mokhtarzadeh and Ben Rosenberg heard anti-Semitic statements that were met with applause and approval—statements like “the state of Israel pays Jews to move to Israel to join the army and kill Palestinians” and even “you shouldn’t buy Ben and Jerry’s because they’re Jewish and have a shop in Israel.” A painful moment was when “The whole room—representing a diverse cross-section of progressive activists and students of color—was holding hands, embraced in each other’s support and calling out “Free, free Palestine!”
They walked out, Mokhtarzadeh on the verge of tears.”
In this case, my unasked for advice to Mokhtarzadeh and Rosenberg would be option #2 – don’t identify with leftist causes. I think they chose option #3.