Nemesis

The name Enoch Powell is unlikely to strike a chord with most of those who are under sixty years old. Yet at the time I took my PhD in London (1969-71) he was all over, frequently appearing on TV (“the telly,” as people used to call it), radio, and the papers. Today it pleases me to write a few lines about him. My reasons for doing so will become clear by and by.

Enoch Powell was born at Stechford, a borough of the city of Birmingham, in 1912. The family was lower middle class; his father, Albert, was an elementary schoolteacher, his mother Ellen, a housewife. Their somewhat constrained economic circumstances did not prevent Enoch from receiving a first class education, first at home—it is said that by the age of three, he could already read fairly well—and later at various grammar schools. Typical of the age, the most important part of the curriculum was formed by the classics, especially ancient Greek (a thorough mastery of Latin was considered self-evident) in which Powell soon revealed himself as a real prodigy. Later, at Cambridge, he not only received the highest possible, and extremely rare, grades but added German, modern Greek, Portuguese, Welsh, Urdu, and Russian.

In 1937 Powell, having completed his studies, went to Australia where, employed at the University of Sydney, he became the youngest professor in the entire Commonwealth. From there he sent letters to his parents expressing his disgust at Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s “terrible exhibition of dishonor, weakness and gullibility” in his attempts to appease Hitler. “The depths of infamy,” he added, “to which our accurst ‘love of peace’ can lower us are unfathomable.”

Returning to England as soon as World War II broke out, Powell joined the army which appreciated his linguistic skills and put him into its intelligence service. By the time he got out in 1945 he was a brigadier general, the youngest in the entire service. Entering politics, he was elected to Parliament as a conservative member, making several speeches against Constitutional changes which, the way he saw it, were slowly but surely leading to the breakup of the British Commonwealth and of Britain itself. He wore his immense learning lightly; his measured, eloquent and, above all, extremely clear delivery—I remember watching him on TV—soon turned him into a star performer. Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s he occupied a variety of senior positions, reaching the peak of his career in 1962 when he was appointed Secretary of Health under Harold Macmillan. This post he occupied until 1964 when Labor under Harold Wilson won the elections, pushing the Conservatives into the opposition. In 1965 the Conservative leader Edward Heath appointed him shadow Secretary of State for Defense.

It was during his time in the opposition that Powell first started drawing national attention by pointing out the danger of unrestricted immigration from Commonwealth countries. Especially Kenya which, over the previous few decades, had become home to many Indians and Pakistanis. Discriminated against and oppressed by the country’s new African rules, the people in question sought refuge in Britain. At the time I was living in Kilburn, a relatively poor neighborhood in northwestern London where I often encountered them. On one hand there were the Indians who set up small neighborhood shops and, by working themselves and their families very hard indeed, started their way up the social ladder. Contrasting with them were bands of young Moslems who, the papers said, were sometimes subject to what was popularly known as Paki-bashing.

It was a year or so before my arrival, on 20 April 1968, that Powell gave the speech for which he will forever be remembered:

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood’ [referring to the Sybil in Virgil’s Aeneid]. That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect. Indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end of the 20th century. Only resolute and urgent action will avert it even now.

The reaction, both in Parliament and in the media, can be imagined. The day after he held the speech Heath, as leader of the opposition, took Powell’s post as shadow minister of defense away from him. The same Heath, however, later admitted, in private, that Powell might have been “prescient.” He remained a member of Parliament until 1987, but was never again offered a cabinet post. From then to the present, in spite of warnings more numerous than the stars in the sky, no British government has dared taking the “resolute and urgent action” required. Instead, it contented itself by inventing reasons why such action was not required.

And now, feeling abandoned to their fate, some of Britain’s people are beginning to take matters into their own hands.

A Modest Proposal

As my readers will know, I have long been interested in the question as to whether women can or cannot, should or should not, participate in ground combat. Not that I have a personal interest in the matter. If some women, driven bonkers by penis envy, insist on entering the most strenuous activity known to man, who am I stand in their way? They want to go to some of the least congenial, most dangerous, places on earth; so let them go to some of the least congenial, most dangerous, places on earth. Their feminist leaders, whom they follow to the end of idiocy (supposing there is such a thing), want them to get killed; so let them be killed. Since they want it so much, they have my blessing.

Still I want to use today’s post in order to sum up, once again, the various problems that such participation gives rise to.

* Recruitment Problems. As countless students, a great many of them female, have noted, no sooner do women join any group, institution or organization than the prestige of the organization in question starts declining. The outcome is difficulties in attracting first class manpower and a loss of fighting power. And so on in a vicious cycle that points nowhere but downward.

* Physical problems. Women on the average only have seventy percent of men’s lower body strength, fifty-five percent of upper body strength. Thinner, lighter bones make them more vulnerable to injuries and stress breaks. Shorter arms make them less adept at stabbing, whereas different elbow and pelvis structures makes it harder to throw objects and run respectively. The movements of many women are hampered by their pendulous breasts. A different anatomical structure makes them more vulnerable to dirt and infection. Smaller lungs and the resulting lower aerobic capacity mean they are less suitable for operating at great altitudes. The last-named problem in particular can also lead to amenorrhea (cessation of the periods) and sterility. As at least one military woman I used to know did develop these problems.

* Training problems. Given the physical differences, training women along with men, and holding them to the same standards, is impossible. Not holding them to the same standard is unfair. The former course will lead to any number of injuries, some of them crippling. The latter will turn women into a liability precisely at the place, and at the time, when such liability can least be afforded. It also means that female soldiers will enter combat without the kind of training their male colleagues have received. Which, of course, is more unfair still. In practice, the outcome is going to be lower standards for everyone. As, to use a particularly ludicrous example, when American and British commanders are ordered to balance readiness against lactation time.

* Problems of motivation. For as long as men have existed on earth, one of their key motives in joining the forces and fighting has always been to prove themselves as men. By definition, a group, or institution, or organization, which also has female members does not allow them to do so. As more women join, men move out. The more men move out, the more the powers that be are compelled to replace them with women. In this way recruiting women often achieves the opposite from what is intended, which is to alleviate a shortage of men.

* Problems of cohesion. For a unit to be cohesive, all its members must be treated equally. The physical characteristics of women, as well as the erotic ties that will necessarily form among men and women living closely together in the same unit, make doing so impossible. Anything else is an illusion. Or why else didn’t the Catholic Church establish co-ed monasteries?

* Sexual harassment problems. The recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have given rise to a new problem: military-sexual trauma. Real or, in view of the possibility of obtaining compensation, fake. Whether a female soldier who is traumatized because a fellow soldier made a pass at her is fit to participate in the most strenuous and most dangerous activity on earth will not be discussed here. As things are, a situation has been created where many male soldiers fear and hate their female colleagues more than they do the enemy—and with good reason.

* Finally, and perhaps worst of all, any male member of the military who so much dares as hint at the existence of these and similar problems will find himself targeted by the thought police and disciplined. As a result the entire military, precisely the organization most dependent on mutual trust right unto death, is built on lies, lies, and more lies.

So far, the facts. Over the years, I have often been asked whether anything could make me change my views on this topic. For an answer, I turn to Karl Popper. Popper (1902-94) was an Austrian-born, Jewish, philosopher who made quite some contributions to his field. Among the most important was the idea that the validity of natural laws can never be conclusively proven; the reason being that, however numerous our experiments, at some unknown time and place there may always be an exception. Accordingly scientific progress, and with it an improved understanding of the world, is achieved by using experiments in order to invalidate “known” laws. In other words, by showing that they are false.

This kind of testing may work fine in the natural sciences, and indeed some scientists have gone on record as saying that, for them, it did just that. However, applying it do the social sciences is much more difficult. There are several reasons for this. First, as the above discussion also shows, there is normally more than one cause behind any effect. Second, cause and effect tend to be so closely intertwined as to be inseparable. Absent an “independent variable,” as the saying goes, tests are often impossible to design and carry out. Third, even if they can be designed and carried out, changing circumstances mean that they can never be repeated in exactly the same form. For Popper that means that most, perhaps even all, social science is not science but literature.

No two wars, no two campaigns, have ever been exactly alike. That is why measuring the performance of gender-neutral units against other kinds is impossible. I do, however, have in mind a modest proposal that could provide an answer. In many technical fields, one of the first steps in validating a new idea is to build a small-scale model and putting it to the test. So let there be formed, by way of a model, some mixed-gender football teams. And let them play both against all male teams and against mixed-gender ones. If they work—if the field is not quickly littered with badly injured female bodies—so should mixed combat units.

Setting up such an experiment, or test, would be easy, cheap, and, if so desired, repeatable. So why hasn’t it been done? Because we take sport much more seriously than we do war; and because everyone knows the outcome ahead of time.

Guest article: Young Girls in the Porn Industry

by Renzo Verwer*

Recently I watched the 2015 documentary Hot Girls Wanted on Netflix. It is also available on You Tube. Fascinating!

I learnt a lot about the rapid turnover of 18-year old girls. After a few months in the industry demand for their services declines, so that most of them have no choice but to stop and get out. But by that time a new cohort of 18-year olds is standing ready, eager to take their place.

Many of the reactions to the film are predictable. They start from the assumption that the girls are “victims.” Doing so, they ignore the fact that the girls volunteer for the job—indeed they queue up for it—and work at it without any compulsion. They get paid for what they do and enjoy some other advantages as well. So why should we feel sorry for them?

Riley, the pimp who appears in the documentary, is quite disgusting. On the other hand, he may simply be showing off in front of the camera. People often do that, you know.

Still remaining with the documentary, Roosh V, the author of several well-known books on how to pick up girls and “bang” them, has the following to say about the topic:

 

“In terms of the sexual market place, these girls are subconsciously maximizing the value of their vaginas, especially when considering that on average, they are no higher than a hard 6 (without excessive makeup). In a Midwestern town, the best a 6 can do is get pumped and dumped by a handful of bad boys before having to settle down with a normal man and take care of the family home, but that simply isn’t enough for a girl who was taught to believe that she’s capable of anything. The alternative is for her to live in Miami, have thousands of followers online, and become used as sex meat.”

I, too, noticed this. Of course the girls are 18 years old and quite attractive. But they are far from being the most attractive among their age group. They stand little or no chance of hooking a super-rich or special (in their eyes) man. Entering the porn industry enables them to taste a different world, at least for a time.

The documentary also allows the parents of porn-actresses to have their say. Most did not know, in advance, that their daughters were going to enter the industry. You see the parents suffering. About this, Roosh wrote the following:

“The parents of one of the girls were especially heartbroken. Their daughter was given every opportunity to have a good life, but unfortunately they did not understand female nature and how it demands boundaries and control from a strong male figure. The father, even when he knew his daughter was doing porn, said that he supported her in whatever she did because he loved her. He was raised in an era where people did the right thing, and only “love” was needed. But those days are gone.”

That is right.

Speaking of “female nature,” Roosh may be exaggerating. And certainly there is no reason why parents, who are given their say in the documentary, should stop loving a daughter just because she is, or was, active in the industry. But why so late? Why didn’t these parents set some limits earlier on? True, parents can’t do everything. There are also peer groups to reckon with. But why didn’t these parents take care to make their daughters understand that a career in porn is not exactly ideal? Is it because they are not supposed to? After all, one of the founding myths of modern education is that young people, boys and girls alike, should be “free,” sexually speaking. Ergo, that working in the porn industry is no worse than any other job. The outcome: every single parent, and almost every single daughter, who appears on the documentary is unhappy. The parents, so they claim, simply did not realize what their daughters were up to and what was happening to them; and that, I think, is the most painful part of it all.

I wonder what other readers think of this documentary.

Finally: The girls in Hot Girls Wanted seem to be egocentric, boring, and bored. I can’t help wondering what they would have done if the porn industry did not exist…

 

* Renzo Verwer (Woerden, the Netherlands, 1972) is an author and a dealer in second hand books. He has published books about love, work, and the chess master Bobby Fischer. His most recent one (in Dutch) is titled Freedom of Thought for Beginners. His website is www.artikelzeven.nu. His books: http://www.amazon.com/Renzo-Verwer/e/B00ITG41ES/

Fifty Years Have Passed

The coming Monday, June 5th, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The one, let me remind you, which led to the Israeli occupation of the Sinai, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank (East Jerusalem included). That is why I thought the time had come to take a second look at it. In doing so, my starting point will be a book, Defending Israel: A Controversial Plan towards Peace, which I published in 2004. What did I get right, and where did I go wrong? Does the central thesis, namely that, seen from a security point of view Israel could easily afford to withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank, still hold?

The background to the book was formed by the Second Palestinian Uprising, or Intifada. Starting in October 2000 and lasting until 2005, the Uprising was carried out mainly by suicide bombings, claiming the lives of 1,137 Israelis as well as 6,371 Palestinians before it was finally quashed, with considerable brutality it must be said, by then Prime Minister Ariel. Sharon. The number of injured is unknown, but must have been much larger still. In addition, tens of thousands of Palestinians saw the inside of Israeli jails where some of them still remain. The economic damage to Israel was estimated at about 15 percent of GDP; that inflicted on the Palestinians, at perhaps 40 percent. Going abroad during that time, I could not help noticing how, at Israel’s only international airport, there were often more security personnel than passengers.

The way I saw it in 2004, and still see it now, the advent of ballistic missiles has greatly reduced the relevance of territory and, with it, the value of the “strategic depth” long seen by Israel as the main reason for holding on to the occupied territories. In any case, the age of large-scale Arab-Israeli conventional warfare was clearly over. Not only because the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan held; but because, as both the 1956 and 1967 wars had shown, should Egypt’s military try to confront Israel in the Sinai then all they would be doing would be to put their necks into a noose. Should Egypt lose a war in the Sinai, then it would lose. Should it win, then it might face nuclear retaliation. Israel is believed to have as many as 100 warheads and delivery vehicles to match. By targeting the Aswan Dam, the people in Jerusalem have it within their power to turn Egypt into a radioactive lake within rather less than an hour of the decision being made.

Having been heavily defeated in the first Gulf War, Iraq was out of the picture and remains so today. This left Syria which, however, was much too weak to take on Israel on its own and has become even weaker since. At that time as now very few Arabs lived on the Golan Heights, explaining why its occupation by Israel never met strong resistance or drew much international attention. Consequently holding on to it was, and remains, relatively easy and need not preoccupy us here.

In what was surely the most daring move in a remarkable career, Sharon, against howls of opposition, built a fence around the Gaza Strip, demolished the Israeli settlements there, and pulled out. It cost him his life, but he effectively put an end to attempts by suicide bombers to enter Israel proper. To be sure terrorism, now in the form of underground tunnels and rockets, did not come to a sudden end. As if to prove the fact that the role of territory was declining, the rockets in particular gained in range and power, causing much trouble. This kind of terrorism was only brought to an end during the second half of 2014 when a massive Israeli military operation (“Protective Edge”) inflicted many casualties and enormous destruction. Since then an equilibrium, albeit an uneasy one, has prevailed in southern Israel. As is shown, among other things, by a tremendous real estate boom in that part of the world.

This in turn suggests that, had Israel launched the operation in question a few years earlier, it might have spared both itself and the other side considerable grief and trouble. Looking on the withdrawal from Gaza from the perspective of 2017, it appears to have been a great success. It rid Israel of some two million unwilling Palestinians, leaving them to govern themselves as best they can and forcing their leadership into what, in practice, is some sort of accommodation.

During the Second Intifada a beginning was made in constructing a wall around the West Bank as well. A measure, incidentally, which this author of had proposed, in public, as early as 1993. But two reasons have prevented its completion. First, through East Jerusalem, which Israel claims for itself, passes the only highway connecting the two “bulges” that forms the West Bank, making it all but impossible to seal off. Second, the Jewish settlers in the Bank, supported by a considerable part of the Israeli government and public, fear that, should the wall be completed, it would herald at least a partial withdrawal from that region as well. And with good reason; doing so was something both Sharon and his successor, Ehud Olmert, actively contemplated.

Whether, had Sharon not died in harness and Olmert not been forced to resign, they would have been able to dominate Israeli politics to the point of carrying out such a withdrawal will never be known. At present any attempt to proceed in this direction is certain to be stopped by Israel’s right-wing government and public. Still the example set by Gaza refuses to go away. Hovering in the background, it is a constant reminder that an alternative to present-day policies does exist.

As Defending Israel argued, and as events since then have clearly shown, the most important problem the West Bank poses to Israel is neither “strategic depth” nor terrorism. The former is rendered all but irrelevant by the advent of ballistic missiles, peace with Jordan, the demise of Iraq, and the Bank’s topography which makes an attack from east to west almost impossible. The latter could be solved by the construction of a wall and a withdrawal. The real threat is demographic. Six and a half million Jewish Israelis cannot go on forever governing an Arab-Palestinian population now numbering some two and a half million and growing fast. In this day and age, indeed, the very idea of an occupation that has now lasted for fifty years is simply crazy. Either pull out, unilaterally if necessary, or risk Israel becoming an apartheid state—which, I hate to say, in many ways it already is.

Finally, East Jerusalem. A story, probably apocryphal, dating to the first months after the June 1967 War illustrates the problem very well. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol is touring East Jerusalem. All around him people are beaming with happiness, but he alone keeps a gloomy face. Mr. Eshkol, they ask him, why all these sighs? In response he says that getting in was easy (as indeed it was). But getting out!

And so, indeed, it has proved. There is no way in the world Israel can be persuaded to give up the Old City and its immediate surroundings, the place which, whatever UNESCO may say, gave birth to the Jewish people well over 3,000 years ago. Nor, given the historical record, is there any reason why it should. But Israel should be able, and willing, to let go of many East Jerusalem neighborhoods that were recently joined to the city and have absolutely nothing to do with holiness. Such as Sheik Jarach, Dir al Balach, Ras al Amud, and quite a few others. All are inhabited exclusively by Palestinians and all are poor and underdeveloped. As in the case of Gaza, a withdrawal from them, even if it has to be carried out unilaterally and even if it only leads to a modus vivendi rather than peace, would be a blessing, not a curse.

With the 1967 war’s fiftieth anniversary coming soon, what is the point in waiting?