Facebook Politics

Regular reader The Manc left this comment under yesterday’s post:

Over the last few months three different people have posted something on my Facebook feed along the lines of “we needn’t worry about terrorism because far more people die in car accidents each day”. They are the kind of otherwise highly intelligent people that would pull that statement apart if it was posted in relation to anything else. I actually find it quite offensive, in the old fashioned sense of the word.

I might have said this before but I think that it’s difficult to respond to social media posts like that in case it ends up in a public argument in front of everyone you know with a bunch of people you have never met.

Political posts on Facebook are about as appealing as a Mexican karaoke night. I got so fed up with it I wrote the posted the following rant on my own account a few months back:

Can I just say something to all those people who post political stuff on Facebook?

Most of what is posted is of a quality consistent with that of a high school debating class, relying on third-hand opinions, anecdotes, and sources which lost their credibility back when The Spice Girls were popular. None of what I read is new: they are the same tired tropes wheeled out again and again, subjects which have been done to death on forums, blogs, and chat rooms since the day the internet was born. If any of this was posted outside of Facebook and subject to public scrutiny it would be torn to shreds within a matter of seconds and the author would be made to look so ill-informed and stupid they’d probably only do it once. The reason this doesn’t happen on Facebook is because family members and friends are too polite, and have too much invested in the real-life relationships, to risk upsetting them by challenging bullshit. Most people would roll their eyes and move on.

Unfortunately, a few likes and suddenly people think their opinions are popular and they’re offering valuable insight. But no, most people I speak to are beginning to realise how much politics on Facebook make their real-life friends and acquaintances come across as real dicks. I confess I have occasionally posted political stuff on here, but I ought not to have done. If anybody thinks their political opinions are worth listening to, put them in front of a public audience first: join a forum, start a blog, open a Twitter account. Thrash out the ideas first so at least you get some proper, unvarnished feedback before peddling high-school crap to friends and family who only connected with you because up until then you seemed all right.

Please, Facebook politics is the worst kind. It’s a terrible forum for it, and you’ll end up believing your own bullshit and losing friends.

It didn’t change anything. One person in particular is a gay man from an authoritarian, Muslim former Soviet Republic who went to New York on a tourist visa and quite deliberately overstayed so he is now living there illegally. His Facebook timeline is just a blur of re-posted anti-Trump articles, many pertaining to how homophobic he is. If I were American, I’d be fucking livid.

I’m going to start unfriending people soon.

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Motes & Beams

Sorry, I know I promised, but this is just too easy.

Laurie Penny talking about Donald Trump, September 16th:

Two days later:

Calling Donald Trump a white supremacist as a matter of course is something to be encouraged. Applying wholly inaccurate labels to Laurie Penny is beyond the pale. And of course, this professional attention-seeker has a disorder to disclose on the internet. Is MHD something real, or one of those trendy middle-class disorders?

As for this:

Try being less abusive yourself, perhaps?

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Another Era

This is somewhat ironic:

The East German secret police went to extraordinary lengths to track down people who wrote letters to the BBC during the Cold War. One of those arrested and jailed was a teenager who longed to express himself freely – and paid a high price.

Today the BBC is the last place you’ll find people expressing themselves freely, and the employees these days would make the Stasi’s job a lot easier by dobbing him in at the first opportunity.

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The Fox Without a Tail

Okay, I know I said I’d not write about Laurie Penny again but this is just too tempting. Here’s an extract from her book:

I think that it’s usually better for women to be single. Particularly young women. Particularly straight young women. Not just “all right”, not just “bearable” – actively better.

I grew up without much to do in a house full of books, one of which was The Fables of Aesop. I am reminded of this particular fable:

It happened that a Fox caught its tail in a trap, and in struggling to release himself lost all of it but the stump. At
first he was ashamed to show himself among his fellow foxes. But at last he determined to put a bolder face upon his misfortune, and summoned all the foxes to a general meeting to consider a proposal which he had to place before them. When they had assembled together the Fox proposed that they should all do away with their tails. He pointed out how inconvenient a tail was when they were pursued by their enemies, the dogs; how much it was in the way when they desired to sit down and hold a friendly conversation with one another. He failed to see any advantage in carrying about such a useless encumbrance. “That is all very well,” said one of the older foxes; “but I do not think you would have recommended us to dispense with our chief ornament if you had not happened to lose it yourself.”

I can’t think why.

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People are different. Who knew?

There are a few snippets I’ve read over the last few days which can be tied together with a common thread. Firstly, Mikhail Khodorkovsky in the NYT:

The challenge facing democratically minded Russians therefore isn’t simply to remove Mr. Putin from power; it’s to replace the authoritarian system he personifies.

The whole piece is an American liberal’s wet dream of a country which has never seen proper democracy simply seeing the light and embracing the sort of society readers of the New York Times claim they want to see. This was the same idiotic thinking which got people believing if only we bombed the shit out of Iraq and got rid of Saddam Hussein, democracy would flourish. I don’t know if democracy and a free, tolerant society can take hold in Russia but if it does it must come from Russians themselves, preferably ones who aren’t former robber-barons who spent a decade in prison before fleeing abroad. I don’t agree with the conviction of Khodorkovsky, but I doubt he had much interest in turning Russia into a liberal, open society until he fell foul of the regime and the New York Times and their ilk started paying him to promote one. Simply stating Russia needs to move away from a centralised, authoritarian system is a bit like saying if only Israel dropped Judaism things would improve. You’d need a new population first.

The second is a comment from Bloke in North Dorset under yesterday’s post:

Going back to Tim’s point about the media, especially the BBC. Part of their problem is they have spent years carrying out the Buddhist equivalent of beatifying Aung San Suu Kyi and now she’s turned out be just like any other leader in the region who is more interested in power than human rights, especially those of minority Muslims.

There are a lot of people expressing their disappointment in Ms Suu Kyi , presumably for failing to leap to the aid of the Rohingyas. I expect those who are disappointed don’t know much about the Burmese or Asians in general, and those who do aren’t surprised in the least. I confess I don’t know much about Asians and nothing about Burmese, but in that part of the world one’s race or tribe counts for quite a lot. From what I can tell, Ms Suu Kyi’s original beef was with the ruling militia which was oppressing ordinary Burmese, and she wanted things to change – for the benefit of Burmese. Did she care about other minority groups out of adherence to some universal standards of human rights? In hindsight, obviously not. Alas, the wet lefties in the west who wrung their hands for years as Ms Suu Kyi languished under house arrest simply assumed she was just like them. Funnily enough, being Burmese and not American or European, she isn’t.

Thirdly, this news report from the BBC:

The EU’s top court has rejected a challenge by Hungary and Slovakia to a migrant relocation deal drawn up at the height of the crisis in 2015.

In asking the court to annul the deal, Hungary and Slovakia argued at the Court of Justice that there were procedural mistakes, and that quotas were not a suitable response to the crisis.

Officials say the problem is not of their making, that the policy exposes them to a risk of Islamist terrorism and that it represents a threat to their homogenous societies.

Their case was supported by Poland, where a right-wing government has come to power since the 2015 deal.

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto was furious, calling it “appalling and irresponsible”. He vowed to use all legal means against the judgement, which he said was “the result of a political decision not the result of a legal or expert decision”.

“Politics has raped European law and European values. This decision practically and openly legitimates the power of the EU above the member states,” he said.

“The real fight starts now.”

In a milder statement, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said his country’s position on quotas also “does not change”.

The people and governments of Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia have made it abundantly clear that they do not want refugees from the Middle East and Africa being settled on their territory. The powers that be in Brussels deem this unacceptable, and wish to force these countries to take them.

The thread linking these three stories is the one whereby the ruling classes in the west seem to loftily assume that everyone else in the world is just like them, and if they aren’t then they should be. That western liberals are western liberals because they are products of the west’s liberal culture doesn’t seem to occur to them; they think people who are from wholly different cultures bound by very different histories and geography are the same, simply because they wish them to be.

As an attitude, it’s all rather 18th century colonial, isn’t it? Christian missionaries telling the natives to take the bone out of their nose and stop eating people would fit in well with today’s establishment classes.

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Sky News and the Rohingyas

I never watch the TV news, but this morning I needed some background noise so put on Sky News for ten minutes. The topic at hand when I switched it on was the Rohingyas, and the reporter appeared to be firmly in the pay of a professional lobby group hired to make their case.

The camera hovered around a muddy creek and what they hoped to portray as a huge crowd of desperate refugees, but you could tell it was no more than a hundred people. Yes, they were using some not-so-clever framing to deceive us. The presenter spoke with that incredibly annoying “mournful voice” which has become the norm whenever skinny brown people are shown on the news, telling us the people fear for their lives. The camera zoomed in on a youth in military uniform as the presenter told us this soldier “might” be from the same group that massacred a bunch of Rohingyas earlier in the day. The claim of slaughter was presented as corroborated fact.

The presenter told us the people had walked for days, desperately fleeing Burmese soldiers. But their clothes looked awfully clean and they seemed to have plenty of energy left. A bloke started handing out some sort of biscuits from a small box and a clamour went up. The presenter told us “this is what starvation looks like”. None of the people looked as though they were starving. They focused on “an eighty year old woman” who had walked a long way and could barely stand. Cue plenty of hamming it up for the camera. Then they switched to a woman who had given birth on the road, zooming in on a baby that looked a few months old. The woman complained she’d had no help and no medicine. Do the ordinary Burmese or Bangladeshis get either? The presenter told us the refugees were all women and young children because the men had been slaughtered. There was a time when journalists, upon hearing such a story, would have checked out the mass graves and interviewed survivors, but nowadays they just tell us a story and expect us to believe it. Of course, having heard the same stories emerge from Syria only to find these slaughtered men re-appear as child refugees at the docks in Dover, nobody does any more. Lastly, we were told of a woman whose legs had been blown off by a landmine. Now I’m no expert, but she didn’t look like someone whose legs had just been blown off by a landmine. For a start, she still had her legs. Also, she wasn’t screaming her head off. They carried her in a blanket across the creek where they found an MSF doctor “just by chance” who saved her. Presumably he had a full combat trauma theatre on standby just in case. At that point I switched it off.

The presenters must know they’re peddling absolute bullshit, that’s beyond doubt. What they probably haven’t realised is no-one is buying it any more except the permanently gullible who by tomorrow will be pushing Theresa May to start bombing Yangon.

It’s no wonder nobody gives a shit. The good folks at Samizdata picked up on this topic and had a discussion about it, and the ever-reliable Natalie Solent made this point:

Over the sixteen years since September 11 2001 the media campaign of denial and deflection regarding Islamic-inspired atrocities has had a predictable result.

Which is why I’m hearing sentiments along these lines:

I no longer care in the slightest whatever happens to Muslims, anywhere in the world, and quite a large number of other people feel that same way, too. With justification. Frankly, a dose of “ethnic cleansing” in Burma sounds like a fine idea.

I wrote some time ago about the dangers of forcing people to take sides, and we now seem to have arrived where our betters have led us. Unfortunately, it’s a different destination from the one they thought.

(This post from the Gates of Vienna blog is also worth a read. H/T Bardon)

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Expert political analysis from the BBC

The BBC are so busy bashing Trump they overlook what is actually happening in American politics. Here’s their headline:

Bannon on Trump’s worst mistake ‘in modern political history’

Jeez, what mistake is this? Invading Iraq? The Bay of Pigs? Giving Hillary the nomination?

Ex-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon says President Trump’s firing of the FBI’s director was the biggest mistake in “modern political history”.

Mr Bannon told CBS News if James Comey had not been sacked, a special counsel would not have been appointed to probe alleged Russian election meddling.

Oh, right. If you say so. But it’s not the BBC’s repeating hyperbolic nonsense that’s so bad, it’s this:

Steve Bannon says he’s “going to war” with the Republican political establishment. For conservatives – and even President Donald Trump – that should be very concerning.

Why should conservatives be concerned that Bannon is going to war with the Republican political establishment? It’s hardly like the latter has any interest in the former, is it? Anyone who didn’t have their head buried in the sand could see that Trump’s election was in large part due to conservatives being fed up to the back teeth with establishment Republicans going along with Democrat policies and doing nothing to conserve anything. Since the election these feelings will only have got stronger, with establishment Republicans being more interested in scuppering Trump than representing their voters’ interests. Nowhere was this better demonstrated than their utter failure to repeal Obamacare, or even come up with an alternative having moaned and bitched about it from the opposition benches for seven years. I’d imagine most genuine conservatives are absolutely delighted somebody is going to war with the Republican political establishment.

And why should this concern Trump? He’s barely a Republican, let alone an establishment one.

Mr Bannon seeks to tap into the same anti-Washington resentment that has fuelled the grass-roots Tea Party movement since the early days of the Obama presidency.

The Tea Party’s contribution to the Republican cause, however, has been decidedly mixed.

While it helped sweep Mr Trump to the presidency, and brought new energy to a moribund political hierarchy, the scalps the movement claimed were as likely to come from the right as the left.

What? The Tea-Party helped sweep Trump into office? This was written by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News North America reporter. I can only assume he suffered a major head injury just before campaigning started and woke up from his coma last night. The Tea Party popped up in the early stages of Obama’s first term around 2010, and was quickly infiltrated by establishment Republicans who pretended to listen but only wanted their votes. By 2016 they’d been largely forgotten. If anyone can be credited with sweeping Trump into office it is the much-maligned alt-right.

The former White House chief strategist also turned his fire on Republican congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

He accused them of “trying to nullify the 2016 election”.

“They do not want Donald Trump’s populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented,” Mr Bannon told 60 Minutes.

“It’s obvious as night follows day.”

Well, yes. It’s telling that the BBC appears to have learned this last night when Bannon told CBS.

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Paris according to a credulous journalist

One of the fun things about living in Paris is reading other people write about it and wondering if they’ve ever been here. Yesterday an article appeared in the Financial Times telling us why Paris will become the first car-free metropolis. Let’s take a look.

In Lima next Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee will rubber-stamp Paris as host of the 2024 Games.

Oh, lucky Parisians! Can I be the first to predict pictures emerging in 2028 of a derelict aquatic centre that cost €3bn to build, the pools full of weeds and covered in graffiti captioned with “This is the pool where Michael Flipperfeet won his 38 golds in 2024”.

By the time the Games begin, Paris will be transformed. “Vehicles with combustion engines driven by private individuals” could well be banned from the city by then, says Jean-Louis Missika, the deputy mayor, whose responsibilities include urban planning.

“Could well be”. Those words are going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting in this article, easily enough to win a gold medal in the snatch, clean, and jerk.

“Every inch of that road surface has to be maximised,” says Ross Douglas, who runs Autonomy, an annual urban-mobility conference in Paris. “The first thing the city will want to do is reduce the 150,000 cars parked on the street doing nothing. Why should you occupy 12 square metres to move yourself? Why should you use a big diesel engine to pollute me and my family?”

“Why should the workers have more than one pair of shoes?” said the Commissar. “Why should they eat meat which could be used to feed others?” 

Naturally, it doesn’t occur to such people that those 150,000 cars represent the residents of Paris deciding for themselves what their needs are and how they should spend their meagre salaries after careful consideration. Put it this way, nobody owns a car in Paris unless they really need it; a lot of my colleagues don’t have one, for example. Also, the French are not show-offs when it comes to cars and money, owning a car doesn’t imply status as it does elsewhere. In other words, anyone who owns a car in Paris and parks on the street has a pretty good reason for doing so. And no, they don’t have “big diesel engines”. The average car parked on a Paris street is a small compact with at least three dents in it. A big car won’t fit in the parking spaces.

By 2024, driverless taxis will be making ride after ride, almost never parking.

Firstly, anyone who says driverless taxis will be technologically possible in 7 years’ time is selling snake-oil. Secondly, I seem to recall Parisian taxi drivers rioting, tipping over cars, and burning tyres when Uber came to town, leading to the government caving in by lunchtime and banning the app in Paris. Presumably they’re going to take the introduction of driverless cabs without a murmur.

Paris’s parking spaces will become bike or scooter paths, café terraces or playgrounds.

Oh, so we’re going to replace cars with scooters, are we? There are already about a million of them in Paris as it is, and let me assure you they do not make for a silent utopia where children can frolic freely. Also, a lot of Paris’ car parks are underground. Will they become playgrounds or cafe terraces? Either sounds lovely.

The second reason Paris can change fast: France’s car industry has been steadily shedding jobs since the 1980s. It’s now too small to lobby hard against the future.

Okay, the reason Parisians own cars is not to keep people employed at Peugeot or Citroen. I think the author has spent rather too much time hanging out at the Sorbonne.

Third, France has a 39-year-old tech-savvy president.

You mean he owns an iPhone. What does he know about vehicles?

Whereas his predecessors spent their energy saving dying industries, Emmanuel Macron intends to grab pieces of new ones, such as driverless vehicles.

Oh yeah? Let’s see, shall we. He hasn’t experienced his first strike yet, and he’s already rapidly back-tracking on the promises he made when elected.

Fourth, Paris doesn’t need private cars because it already has the best public transport of any international city, according to the New York-based Institute of Transportation and Development Policy.

Then there’s no problem, is there? There’s nothing left to do if nobody needs a car. Only the very existence of those 150,000 cars mentioned earlier seems to contradict this statement somewhat. Like I said, nobody in Paris owns a car for fun, and most would much rather do without. But hey, what do they know? Surely a clever FT journalist knows better!

Visitors from clogged developing cities ride metro trains here goggling in amazement.

They do? Shit, even the French complain about it, and I know: I work in a building of 3,000 people, many of whom use it to get to work. I have spoken to people from KL, New York, Caracas, Moscow, Istanbul, and a dozen other cities all of whom complained about the Paris Metro. It’s usually two things: the lack of air conditioning in summer and (more importantly) that it’s extremely difficult to access with a pushchair. Most of them prefer the London Underground which has improved massively over the past 10-20 years, particularly in regards to disabled and pushchair access. The Paris Metro isn’t bad, particularly Line 1 which uses driverless trains, but let’s not pretend people ride it “goggling in amazement”. I’m wondering if the author has actually used it himself. You can be damned sure deputy-mayor Missika gets chauffeured around in a massive car, and will do so long after the plebs have their own cars confiscated.

Already, nearly two-thirds of the 2.2 million Parisians don’t own cars, says Missika.

Yeah, which implies the third who do actually need them.

True, the 10 million people in the suburban towns outside Paris rely more on cars. But, by 2024, most of them should have been weaned off.

Should?

Wander around almost any suburb now, and somewhere near the high street you will find a billboard saying: “We are preparing the metro site.” Grand Paris Express — Europe’s biggest public-transport project — is going to change lives. It will bring 68 new stations, and thousands of homes built on top of them.

Yes, they’re upgrading the Metro – but to the extent nobody in the far-flung suburbs will need a car while adding thousands more homes? This is rather fanciful.

The Olympics will help ensure it’s delivered on time.

Because nothing speeds up complex infrastructure projects in major, developed cities than adding a giant politically-driven infrastructure project which an inflexible completion date to the mix.

New electric bikes will allow suburban cyclists to cover two or three times current distances, making long commutes a doddle.

Should be fun in winter with two kids to take to school.

The Périphérique — Paris’s ring road, which now cuts off the city from the suburbs — will become obsolete, predicts Missika. He looks forward to it turning into an urban boulevard lined with trees and cafés.

Because Paris is short of urban boulevards lined with trees and cafes. And has he actually been along the Périphérique? It goes through some of the worst areas imaginable. Who’s gonna want to sit there drinking coffee?

By then Paris and the suburbs will have merged into a single “Grand Paris”. Missika points out that the Olympic stadium and athletes’ village in 2024 will be outside Paris proper, in Seine-Saint-Denis, one of France’s poorest departments — just five minutes from Paris by train, but currently a world away.

Would that be the same Saint-Denis that was supposed to be rejuvenated in 1998 by the FIFA World Cup and the building of the Stade de France? The one which nobody wants to go anywhere near unless there’s a game or concert on, and the modern office blocks built nearby remain mostly empty? So what will be different this time?

Missika says, “For me, the Games are above all the construction of a Grand-Parisian identity.”

That’s all the Olympic Games ever are, a manifestation of a politician’s ego, funded with taxpayer cash.

I asked Missika if he expected Brexit to benefit Paris. He replied that he considered London and Paris a single city, “the metropolis”. You can travel between them in less time than it takes to cross Shanghai. Anyway, he adds: “I have the impression Brexit won’t happen, since the English are pragmatic. The moment when they say, ‘We were wrong, we’ll take a step back’ will be a bit humiliating, but it will be better than doing Brexit.”

At least if all these grand plans go horribly awry we won’t be able to blame it on hubris, eh? Such down-to-earth people these French politicians, aren’t they? But we knew that already. The real question is, why is a British newspaper felching them so?

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In defence of Charlie Hebdo

There was much wailing on Twitter yesterday after French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo came out with this cover:

“God exists! He drowned all the Texas neo-Nazis!”

The complaints were mostly in the manner of:

1. After this, don’t expect sympathy when your offices are shot up again.

2. How many Texans died saving you from real Nazis?

3. It’s easy for you to mock us when we don’t hit back.

That last one makes the mistake of thinking Charlie Hebdo stopped lampooning Islam after the massacre in their offices in January 2015: they didn’t.

To be fair, I didn’t read anyone saying Charlie Hebdo should be silenced over this – most of the complaints were from the political right, not the infantile left. But they kind of miss the point.

Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine, and their MO is to publish the most offensive take on whatever the leading story is that week. They do this to shock people into understanding what thoughts might be out there, and remind everyone that people are free to hold them. Anyone who looks at the front cover above and thinks “Oh my God, they think Texans are Nazis and they’re laughing at the dead!” doesn’t understand Charlie Hebdo or satire. Whereas I have no doubt most of those at Charlie Hebdo are politically of the hard-left which dominate institutions in central Paris, you’d be mistaken if you believe their magazine exists to promote their political views. They’re a scattergun, take-no-prisoners outfit proving points which most people would rather shy away from acknowledging.

In the aftermath of the attacks, I never thought Charlie Hebdo was looking for sympathy. Rather, I think they wanted the assurance that what they were doing was perfectly okay and the attack they suffered was in no way justified. Instead they got weasel words, obfuscation, crocodile tears, and people saying perhaps they deserved it. One common opinion was that publications which deliberately go out of their way to offend people ought not to complain when there is a reaction. This misses the point: so long as Charlie Hebdo can continue to do what it does, everyone else is free to speak, write, and draw as they please. Once we enter into the territory of differentiating between deliberate and inadvertent offence, it becomes a negotiation with those who don’t recognise our right to do either and would rather silence us completely.

Charlie Hebdo is on the front-line of free speech, and they set out to prove it week after week. They don’t care about sympathy from Texans, they only want to make the point that if they can publish something as heinous as this then so can you, and if they are thinking such thoughts then so are plenty of others. Unfortunately, Charlie Hebdo is ploughing a lonely furrow. As I said in the aftermath of the attacks on their offices:

Nothing highlights the cultural gap between France and Britain more than the uncomfortable suspicion that Charlie Hebdo would not have lasted more than a year in the UK before being hounded out of business by the state and its backers in one form or another, as this article makes clear.

For all their faults, the French seem to take a more robust view of free speech than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. There is no way Charlie Hebdo could be sold in Australia or Canada, and if the past few years is anything to go by, they’d likely be shut down in the USA too. People like to imagine that the French are thin-skinned, but you don’t see the sort of hand-wringing over offensive speech and ideas here that you do in America and Britain. They prefer to ignore it and focus on more pressing concerns – like which wine to have with tonight’s dinner.

Rather than getting upset about Charlie Hebdo’s puerile and offensive front covers, we should be glad that at least someone is putting them out there. If they weren’t, how could we be sure that speech was still free? And how would we know that what we said was not going to land us in trouble? It’s startling that the French understand this and can answer these questions, but those in the US cannot.

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Facebook Feminism

Until somebody decided to shoot up a nightclub in Germany, this was running as front-page news on the BBC’s website:

Fairer pay for women must be backed up by stronger policies at work, according to Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.

But the firm’s chief operating officer, in an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, said the first step is to “start paying women well”.

She chose Beyonce’s empowering Run The World (Girls) as her first song.

This Beyoncé:

It’s one way to become empowered, I suppose.

She said: “We start telling little girls not to lead at a really young age and we start to tell boys [to] lead at a very young age. That is a mistake.”

We do? Okay, I can probably believe that in some countries with cultures we’re encouraged to embrace that little girls are told not to lead, but in the West? Really? Who is saying this, and where? This is bullshit.

“I believe everyone has inside them the ability to lead…”

Then you’re an idiot. Not everyone is a leader, just as not everyone is a loyal lieutenant, and not everyone is an essential specialist, and not everyone is an equally important plodder. If you’ve not understood this, you’ve not understood leadership at all.

“…and we should let people choose that not based on their gender but on who they are and who they want to be.”

Oh please. We’ve had women leaders since at least Cleopatra. Who, and where, are girls being told they cannot lead because of their gender? All I see on the webpages of major corporations is how important women are and how proud they are to have a load of them in senior positions. The fact we have a female COO carping at us in the national press ought to tell us that this isn’t really a problem. Whereas it is boys that are being failed by schools, more girls than boys are graduating from college and now lead in such fields as law and medicine, and young men are still committing suicide at a far higher rate than women.

Ms Sandberg made headlines in 2013 with her book “Lean in” about female empowerment in the workplace.

It became a worldwide bestseller, but was criticised by some for being elitist and unrealistic for many women not in her privileged position.

You mean not all women agreed, and cat-fighting ensued? I don’t believe it.

In the interview, she also called for more to be done around the gender pay gap between men and women.

The gender pay gap that Christina Hoff Sommers has debunked numerous times as being a complete myth?

Ms Sandberg admitted she had struggled with self-doubt at Harvard

The BBC’s poster-child for female empowerment and leadership wrung her hands in self-doubt while at America’s top university? Did Katherine the Great doubt herself?

…and recognised that women more than men underestimated their own worth, preventing them from putting themselves forward or asking for a pay rise.

A minute ago everyone was capable of leadership, and we need more women in such positions. Now we find they underestimate themselves. Sorry, but I prefer anyone presuming to be my leader to be a little less wet. Attila the Hun is my benchmark.

“We need to start paying women well and we need the public and the corporate policy to get there,” she said.

Says the woman who made over $18m in 2016.

“Certainly, women applying for jobs at the same rate as men, women running for office at the same rate as men, that has got to be part of the answer.”

As Christina Hoff Sommers repeatedly says, there is nothing stopping women going into higher-paid professions such as engineering and computer programming, they simply choose not to. The women who chose to become engineers are absolutely coining it. I can think of two now, one owns half of Melbourne (*waves*) and another spends much of her life flying around on holiday in business-class (*waves again*).

Following the sudden death of her husband Dave Goldberg, Ms Sandberg described herself a “different” person now.

She found him on the floor of a gym with a head injury after he had suffered a heart attack whilst they were on a weekend away.

Okay, I’ll dial it down a notch here. Losing your husband is catastrophic, and I am all too familiar with its effects. That she’s managed to carry on so well afterwards is genuinely worthy of admiration, and she deserves a lot of respect and sympathy over this.

I still hate the BBC, though.

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