The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Britain without the EU

Posted by rantingkraut on November 24, 2009

The Tax Payers’ Alliance’s new Book “Ten Years On – Britain Without the European Union” turns out to be a somewhat disappointing read. The book aims to describe Britain’s improving lot ten years after leaving the European Union. It is written as a retrospective comment on the developments that took shape during the ten years after an anticipated Tory election victory in 2010.

The obvious charge against the book is Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Books, EU | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The more Big brother watches us, the less he seems to see

Posted by rantingkraut on July 29, 2009

The title of this post comes straight from Ross Clark’s book on the surveillance society: “The Road to Southend Pier”. In many ways, this is a worthwhile book, showing how the surveillance state –frighteningly omnipresent in theory- is in reality breathtakingly inefficient at takling crime in the conventional sense while creating new, spurious offences.

One passage seems ill thought through though: “For those Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Books, Civil Liberties, ID Cards, surveillance, UK politics | Tagged: | Comments Off on The more Big brother watches us, the less he seems to see

The Tyranny of Nice

Posted by rantingkraut on November 20, 2008

For those who haven’t followed the Ezra Levant / Mark Steyn saga, this short book may be a revelation, to others a useful reference. Pete Vere and Kathy Shaidle have detailed the role of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions in suppressing free speech, covering the case against Ezra Levant, for daring to re-print the Muhammad cartoons in the Western Standard and against MacLeans for printing excerpts of Mark Steyn’s “America Alone”. They also mention the prosecutions (successful in one case) against Christian anti-gay activists for publicly voicing their dislike of homosexuality and a number of less well known cases, such as the one in which a Barkeeper was required to allow patrons to smoke Marijuana on the premises on human rights grounds while simultaneously being barred from doing so Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Books, Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech | 1 Comment »

The Jewel of Medina – much ado about nothing

Posted by rantingkraut on November 10, 2008

Sherry Jones’ novel The Jewel of Medina has attracted plenty of attention prior to publication, mainly due to the self censorship of the original publisher and an actual fire bomb attack on its successor. (The Pub Philosopher has chronicled these events.) Generally speaking, if somebody tries to censor a book, I normally want to read it; but in this case, I need not have bothered.

Denise Spellberg argued the book was soft core pornography Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Books, Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, Islamism, quotes, Religion | Comments Off on The Jewel of Medina – much ado about nothing

Islamism and Nazism

Posted by rantingkraut on August 28, 2008

Leslie S. Lebl has reviewed a new French Novel (“Le Village de l’Allemand”) in City Journal. This novel, which apparently has some basis in reality, traces the links between Nazi Germany and modern Islamism. It sounds like an interesting read, although I will unfortunately have to wait for a translation.

This is as good an occasion as any to remember that plenty of work on this topic has been done by Matthias Küntzel. Küntzel got some attention in the UK when Leeds University cancelled his talk “Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic antisemitism and the impact of the Muslim Brotherhood” for fear of offending Islamists. The essay is well worth reading (it is a sober and interesting piece on the historical connection between Nazism and Islamic anti-semitism, not an anti-Muslim diatribe). Other writings of Küntzel on this topic can be found on his website.

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Two Books on Islamism

Posted by rantingkraut on August 6, 2007

Two books on Islamism have hit the UK book market this year. One, “The Islamist” by Ed Husain is a biographic account by a former Islamist activist; the other “Rethinking Islamism” by Lord Meghnad Desai is an extended essay, based on arguments in an earlier letter to the Financial Times. With a personal account on the one hand and a more detached, academic approach on the other, both titles could well complement each other. Yet, one of the two is clearly a more rewarding read. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Books, Islamism | 2 Comments »

Stealing the taxman’s identity

Posted by rantingkraut on November 24, 2006

There is a new book out called “How to Label a Goat”. As the title suggests clearly enough, it deals with silly and superfluous rules and regulations in New Labour Britain. This book is amusing and annoying at once –although it might just be amusing if you live in the US. The following detail on P.37 caught my eye:

10,000 civil servants were recently found to have had their identities stolen by gangs fraudulently trying to claim tax credits.

The cost of that fraud is annoying enough, but not particularly unusual when it comes to government spending. What is interesting is that it does not seem to be a major problem to steal the identities of thousands of civil servants in one of the departments the government presumably cares most about.

Just dwell on this for a moment and consider what it means for ID cards: the same organisation which is planning to force you to hand over all kinds of information about yourself can’t stop identity theft from its key employees. Just imagine how much fun those gangs could have had with all the information on a central identity register. Well, at least someone will benefit from ID cards.

Ross Clark
“How to Label a Goat: The Silly Rules and Regulations That Are Strangling Britain”
Harriman House Publishing, 2006
ISBN 1897597959

Posted in Books, ID Cards | Comments Off on Stealing the taxman’s identity

Retreat of Reason

Posted by rantingkraut on June 15, 2006

Anthony Browne at Civitas has written a short but worthwhile book on political correctness: "The Retreat of Reason". It is worthwhile not least because Browne doesn't simply use 'PC' as shorthand for 'left wing' or otherwise for anything he doesn't like but aims for genuine comprehension of the phenomenon and its evolution. There are some sample chapters on the Civitas website, and I can't resist adding another quote:

"Those most zealously opposed to PC tend to be those who were once infected by it and then broke free. Like Winston Smith in George Orwell's 1984, the doubts often start slowly at first, with people realising the little lies and distortions. First they justify them as white lies, excusing them as being for the greater good. But as they start thinking about the lies, they start realising how prolific they are, and start wondering about the truth they conceal. Eventually, they become convinced that you cannot reach the truth through telling lies, and that, as the Bible said-in a rather different context-'the truth shall make you free'.

The pieces fall into place, and a new picture of the world-view emerges. The PC way of thinking is replaced with a new way of thinking-or rather an old one-that puts the emphasis on factual correctness rather than political correctness, and on reason rather than emotion. They are, in the classic definition of neo-conservatives, 'liberals mugged by reality', but often still liberal in the classical sense.

Those who journey from political correctness to truth often risk public disapprobation, but it is notable that most never lose their tolerance or humanity, and retain their fundamental values. They may question the politics of race, but not that racism is bad; they may question campaigns about women's pay, but not that women and men deserve equality of treatment; they may realise that western civilisation-with its extraordinary ability to create wealth and culture while promoting freedom, equality and democracy- is, by almost all measures, the best civilisation that humanity has yet created, but that doesn't make them Islamophobes."

Posted in Books, quotes | Comments Off on Retreat of Reason