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December 12, 2013


Steve M

The desire for egalitarianism is as much of a sky fairie as the desire to follow the will of Allah

Luis Enrique

"Calling a dickhead idea "religious" does not give it legitimacy."

but there are perhaps good reasons for taking dickhead religious ideas seriously.

Don't grease your Hindu' battalion's cartridges with beef fat and such like

Luis Enrique

sorry, my Hindu example looked like a restatement of your threat of violence point - I should have used another example in which the only cost was genuinely upsetting lots of religious types when their dickhead idea is ignored. "offending" people gets taken seriously now days ... perhaps with good reason?

Ralph Musgrave

I don’t think Chris gets to the heart of Dandridgism. My explanation (for what it’s worth) is thus.

Every society has its religion (in a very broad sense of the word). In pre circa 1980 Russia it was Communism. In pre WWII UK it was Christianity, which has now almost collapsed. In present day UK it’s political correctness.

And if you want to succeed in any society you absolutely must be seen to adhere to the going religion. Plus the higher up the career scales you are, the more important it is to adhere. (In contrast a bricklayer can make blatantly un-PC remarks without getting sacked.)

Ms Dandridge, if she wants to keep her job, absolutely must behave in an ultra PC way. And the absurdity of her views doesn’t matter: religions (at least in my view) are inherently absurd. E.g. the Archbishop of Canterbury told us a month or two ago to pray for the victims of the Keynian mall massacre. A total waste of time: there’s no empirical evidence that praying for people 2,000 miles away does any good. But that’s religion for you.


Prayer might not do people 2000 miles away any good. It could, though, do those doing the praying plenty of good. But I take the wider point about evidence-based mindsets versus prejudice and belief. The broadsides against rational thought by hierarchically-minded politicians continue to attack professionals of all kinds.


Yes, 'political correctness' fulfills the same function in contemporary Britain as did communism in the Soviet Union.

Surely, reflecting for just a moment on that sentence after typing it would make you realise how absurd an idea it is.

Brian P Woods

As a senior academic I was invited to a conference organized by the Islamic Cultural Society. When I arrived at the venue I noticed that there were numerous 'ushers' who ensured that one gender sat on LHS, the alternate gender on RHS. When I objected - I was offered the choice of leaving or complying. I produced my Qur'an and asked one of the ushers to indicate where it was mandated that humans of different genders shall occupy separate areas. Very bad career move. I was 'escorted' out!


Calm down and take a deep breath. I don't think anger really helps your blogging.

Not that I disagree with the substance, but most protests over fees etc are simply not met with violent or oppressive responses (a few high profile counterexamples not with standing:availability heuristic much?). And it does not behove you to assume away a substantial debate, and simply brand all student activism "reaonable requests".

Churm Rincewind

Well that's a tirade and no mistake. But the debate is far more nuanced than you seem prepared to admit.

On a very basic level, both Judaism and Islam encourage gender segregation, de minimis at places of worship, and by extension elsewhere - there are gender-segregated colleges in both Saudi Arabia and in Israel where audiences are segregated at debates. According to you, this is straightforward "bigotry", and in the first instance I would invite you to condemn both countries' support for these arrangements on the basis of your arguments above.

I suspect, however, that you won't. But only if you do are you in any position to condemn the same practices in the UK on the in-principle grounds which you advance.

Or are you saying that different principles must be applied to the UK?

Brian P Woods

@ Churm Rincewind:

I would be a tad iffy about the two 'states' you evidence. Both are deeply 'theocratic'. Bit like Western Europe in early 1400s. Took us a bit of time to extract ourselves. Still some 'shit' adhering to vertical surfaces.

Gender segregation in schools in western cultures is problematic, except possibly for adolescents. Otherwise none, most especially in college and university. If some folk want to segregate religious congregations: fine.

And bye-the-bye; the one, and only human right we enjoy, is our Right to Life. All else are social conventions and concessions. Discretional.

Valerie Keefe

Cis women, you mean... for the at minimum 0.5% of the female population that isn't CAFAB, you're advocating a brand of childhood hell I have trouble adequately articulating. I have no idea why casual cissexism remains one of the left's pet prejudices, but there it is.

Churm Rincewind

@ Brian P Woods: I freely admit I took two relatively extreme examples by way of illustration. Though I'm not sure quite what you mean when you say that gender segregation in Western cultures is problematic "except possibly for adolescents". Do you mean that's it's OK to segregate adolescents, or it's not?

I guess my core problem is that this blog has, in the past, been energetic in promoting the economic benefits of immigration but has now reacted in strong terms to the inevitable cultural impact.

Well, Mr Dillow can't have it both ways.

The economic benefits of immigration have flowed pretty much towards the wealthy; the cultural disbenefits have been borne by the poor.

Now we have an example of immigrant viewpoints affecting the middle class, who of course effectively "own" university education. And might even impact on Oxbridge (shock, horror!).

To which I say, get real. These are issues which those of us who live in areas of high immigration have been addressing for years. And it's sort of offensive to be lectured, know what I mean?e


"There is, however, no such scientific, egalitarian motive for segregating the audience at debates."

Except nobody is arguing for this. They are defending the idea of allowing women only areas at debates, so long as there is allso a men only re of the same size and prominence and adequate non-segregated seating for everyone who wants it. In other words, everyone can sit among the sort of crowd they want to. We don't need any fancy religious rights argument to defend that, it's just plain old liberalism. Of course you don't have to like it, I don't, but liberalism is about defending freedoms we don't approve of, not (only) those we do.

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