Given that Iain Duncan Smith was in the news this week pushing his welfare cap, I think it’s worthwhile wading back into an argument I kicked off last week. Hopi Sen published a blog saying:
Do I believe that the Tories want to see a society where the poor are stewing grass?1 No. I think they’d be horrified.
Do I think the Tories want to see food banks, or increased poverty? No. I think they’re either seen as the unfortunate side effect of essential policies, to be ameliorated where possible, or as an intransigent problem with roots that go very deep and can only really be addressed at the individual, atomic level.
I shot back on Twitter saying this was “naive” – which led to an amusing afternoon of right-wingers comparing me to Hitler. The very people who attack welfare recipients as ‘scroungers’ and dismiss tabloid attacks on disabled people as deserving because most are pretending anyway then act all hurt when someone says they’re heartless bastards.
I’m not surprised centrists like Hopi Sen and Tom Chivers (who works at the Telegraph) endorse this view; it would reflect badly on their own politics if they had to condemn Tory policies in much harsher terms. But to justify my point I want to offer some examples anyway. If you want to respond please see the questions at the end.
First, how do I define ‘evil’? My definition is this: if a person of considerable responsibility or power deliberately ignores or cheers on policies that lead to multiple deaths, they are ‘evil’. If you have alternative definitions please offer them below.
Let’s look at some examples.
Iain Duncan Smith
IDS 'you cannot disprove what I said'. Can & did: http://t.co/dzWq75DdSz
— Declan Gaffney (@djmgaffneyw4) July 15, 2013
In fact, this week wasn’t the first time Iain Ducan Smith had been caught out. He has been caught over-stating benefit fraud (then had to apologise) , caught misleading on disability benefits, misled Parliament on housing benefit cuts, lied about benefits tourism and lied about the Youth Contract. As Jonathan Portes and Declan Gaffney say, this isn’t just spin – they’re actually making up figures. And now they’ve deliberately stopped collecting statistics on benefits-related deaths.
This doesn’t even include numerous deliberately misleading tabloid headlines thanks to the DWP press office. Numerous fact-checks at Channel 4 and by the Statistics Authority have accused the DWP of lying about facts. When Daniel Hannan is found wrong about everything on welfare cuts – we can cut him some slack because his grasp of facts has always been tenuous and he’s just mindlessly regurgitating the party line. What excuse does IDS have?
Of course, if you’re a middle-class journalist or blogger, you probably won’t come across many disabled people being forced to divorce their partner to protect meagre benefits payments. I think this is likely to colour your view on whether these social security cuts have made people’s lives a misery or not.
This is the biggest threat facing the planet. It will cause our children far more misery and death than national debt and the case is even more clear-cut. There isn’t a credible institution on the subject on the planet that says otherwise. Not one.
And yet, MPs who are deniers are given influential positions while the education secretary wants to wipe the subject from the school curriculum. The Telegraph, Daily Mail and Spectator (and parts of the BBC) push global warming denial week-in-week-out.
They do this not because there’s ambiguity over the evidence or confirmation bias, but because they hate lefties. That’s what it comes down to. For that reason they’re willing to delay action over an issue that is already causing deaths and will lead to much more problems for the UK in the future.
I pointed out to Hugo Rifkind that blogger Guido Fawkes had called for pizza to be sent to the IDF while it was raining down bombs on innocent people in Gaza. He thought this was just a matter of “differing perspectives“. That’s one way of looking at it. What about if someone wants to send pizza to Hamas? Would Rifkind think that’s OK too? But this isn’t merely about perspectives.
Here is the same blogger defending General Pinochet while deliberately ignoring or white-washing numerous deaths and years of repression. To call this a matter of perspective is quite absurd. A reasonable person would accept the multiple deaths of innocents while cheer-leading with caveats. In both examples Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) doesn’t do that.
* * * * * *
Tom Chivers excuses them by saying they are simply ignoring the evidence, or makes a false equivalence by saying ‘but lefties do it too!!‘. But this is false equivalence. Where are the mainstream and popular left-wingers lying so brazenly on public debates about issues that cause multiple-deaths?
The people cited above aren’t marginal figures but leading lights on the Right. The conservative columnist David Frum recently said US Republicans were being lied to by the Conservative Entertainment Complex – pointing to similar examples. At least there are one or two Republicans in the US now fighting back.
But they don’t seem to exist in the UK, where even the centrists are making excuses for the outright lying on the Right. But given all the evidence, how long can you pretend that this isn’t intentional?
via Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/07/17/are-right-wingers-evil-yes/