Flying the flag for woke imperialism

The Biden administration is committed to exporting Pride and Black Lives Matter

.SEAN COLLINS
US CORRESPONDENT14th June 2021

Flying the flag for woke imperialism

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Secretary of state Antony Blinken has authorised US embassies to fly the Black Lives Matter and rainbow Pride flags. The immediate spur for this decision is clear. Late May marked the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death and June is Pride month. But to fly flags other than the Stars and Stripes from the buildings that represent the US abroad is still extraordinary. It shows that the Biden administration is committed to exporting its woke values around the globe.

Embassies have flown BLM flags in many countries, including Bosnia, Cambodia and the UK, while Pride flags have been flown by embassies in Russia, Luxembourg and Namibia. In a move seemingly designed to troll the Vatican, which remains opposed to same-sex marriage, the US embassy to the Holy See tweeted that it was celebrating Pride month by displaying the rainbow flag. There are no reports of rainbow flags in Saudi Arabia, however.

Blinken and his State Department claim that flying these flags merely signals the US’s support for the rights of ‘people of colour’ and ‘LGBTQI+ persons’. But this does not explain why Pride and BLM, which are political movements, enjoy such a privileged status.

Although the Biden team may imagine these movements to be unquestionably good, they are far from universally endorsed within the US. Only half of Americans support BLM, according to a recent poll by Civiqs. Same-sex marriage does have majority support, according to a recent poll. But it is still a divisive issue. Meanwhile, trans rights are hotly contested at the moment. There is a good reason why embassies, until now, have avoided taking sides in domestic political controversies. Imagine the outcry if US missions abroad displayed the flags of other disputed political organisations within the US, like the National Right to Life Committee or the National Rifle Association.

What’s more, as the woke elites fly the BLM and Pride flags, they have started to look down on the American flag. The BLM flag is almost viewed as an antidote to the Stars and Stripes. BLM protesters say it represents ‘slavery, genocide and war’. Burning the American flag was commonplace during last year’s BLM riots.

Meanwhile, the rainbow image is ubiquitous in American society. Displaying the Pride flag is a way to let everyone know you are a morally good person. Pride marches have become a bigger deal than Memorial Day marches. All wings of elite culture celebrate Pride (including on kids’ TV shows aimed at four-year-olds).

Today’s chattering classes consider the American flag to be a symbol of Neanderthal backwardness. Earlier this week, Mara Gay, a member of the New York Times editorial board, spoke of her horror at seeing American flags:

‘I was on Long Island this weekend visiting a really dear friend and I was really disturbed. I saw dozens and dozens of pick-up trucks with expletives against Joe Biden, Trump flags, and in some cases, just dozens of American flags, which is also just disturbing, because essentially the message was clear, it was, “This is my country, this is not your country, I own this”.’

Note that this dialogue is going on exclusively inside Gay’s head – not a single person actually said to her, ‘This is my country, this is not your country’. The mere sight of an American flag, flown by the ‘wrong’ kind of people, is enough to trigger an instant judgement of character.

By flying the BLM and Pride flags abroad, the Biden administration is trying to spread this woke ideology around the world. This deployment of ‘soft power’ should be seen for what it is – a type of cultural imperialism. It could have destabilising consequences within countries and possibly stir up conflicts between countries.

Indeed, BLM might be considered America’s most successful cultural export ever. People across the globe took up the cause and took a knee. As Brendan O’Neill has noted on spiked, support from global elites was crucial in conferring legitimacy on the protests and giving BLM tremendous momentum around the world.

But these global elites were short-sighted. In exchange for bathing in the glow of anti-racist virtue-signalling, they opened the door to a movement that is just as corrosive in Sydney and London as it is in Washington. In its global form, BLM does not limit itself to protesting against what goes on in the US. Everywhere it operates, BLM has a more fundamental objective. That is, to undermine the legitimacy of political structures and constitutions by painting each nation’s respective founders and great leaders as racist. Hence, BLM movements in Canada and Australia denounce their nation’s founders for the genocide of Indigenous people. In the UK, BLM highlights slave traders and colonisers, while dismissing heroes like Winston Churchill for their bigotry.

While some international elites have welcomed American-style wokeness into their countries, others are trying to resist it. French president Emmanuel Macron, a technocratic globalist himself, has come out against ‘le wokisme’ .

Countries with more traditional attitudes to religion, family and sexual orientation, particularly in Africa and eastern Europe, also feel threatened by the promotion of woke American causes. An academic study of the promotion of rainbow flags and other gay-rights symbols finds it is often not well-received, because such symbols are associated with outsiders: ‘LGBTQ symbols originating in the West, such as Pride and rainbow flags, have backfired in many places, such as Uganda and Russia, where nationalists and conservatives argue they are symbols of foreign degeneracy, antithetical to local mores.’

At times, it feels like the US and Russia are about to break out into a full-blown culture war. The list of US complaints about Putin and Russia is long – including interference in US elections, the cyber-hacking of US pipelines and crackdowns on anti-Kremlin demonstrations. But it is criticisms of Russia’s culture, as patriarchal and sexist, that provide Washington with a much greater sense of moral superiority. In this arena, Putin gives as good as he gets, presenting himself as the protector of tradition, denouncing the US and other Western nations as ‘genderless and infertile’.

The US is playing with fire. Culture wars between countries can easily escalate into actual conflict. The Ukrainian organisation KyivPride recently tweeted: ‘KyivPride invades eastern Ukraine. The KyivPride going east project aimed at mobilising the LGBT+ community in Donbas started in May. In other words, let’s make Donbas queer!’ KyivPride goes on to note that this project is ‘made possible by’ funding from the United States Agency for International Development. It is also backed by the US embassy. Donbas is a war-torn region of south-eastern Ukraine, where it is reported up to 100,000 Russian troops are currently massed on the Russian side of the border. In this context, US support and funding looks like outside interference, and risks making a tense diplomatic situation worse.

There’s no need for additional flags at US embassies. The ideal of the American flag is to provide ‘liberty and justice for all’. Even though we know the US hasn’t always met that aspiration in practice, we should still aspire for equality instead of waving multiple flags for every conceivable identity group.

We also need to challenge this new cultural imperialism. The woke elites claim they want to ‘decolonise’ everything, but they are quite happy to pursue their own form of cultural colonialism around the world. This new woke imperialism might appear benign, but it has the potential to be very destructive indeed.

Sean Collins is a writer based in New York. Visit his blog, The American Situation.

Flying the flag for woke imperialism – spiked (spiked-online.com)

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Rex Murphy: Liberals should focus on ending the pandemic, not curtailing free speech

This is surely not a time to load up on new priorities that have no immediate relevance or necessity, like Bill C-10

Author of the article:Rex Murphy

Publishing date:Jun 10, 2021  

New Turkish Law Allows Government Control Of Media Outlets And Internet Content
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By now, everyone knows the meaning of “pandemic,” which is the plainest terms drawn from its two root words (pan — all; demos — people) is an illness that threatens everybody. The etymology supplies the meaning.

However, since COVID-19 settled on the globe, whether out of the Wuhan lab or not (this is still an open question), in my mind at least, it has acquired another meaning derived from the political and governmental responses to it. Judging from the mixed and confused, continually revised and changing, masks-bad-one-day, mandatory-the-next messaging, the word itself could be a one-word synonym for the phrase, “Does anyone have a clear and consistent idea about how we should be handling this?”

It is the issue of our time. It is on this — and I would almost say, this alone — that whatever brains and attention our government can spare (which is in limited supply, to be sure) should exclusively be spent on responding to COVID with laser focus, and seeking to end the damaging regime it has imposed. There is, and can be, no greater priority.

This is surely not a time to load up on new priorities that have no immediate relevance or necessity, certainly not on ones that are inescapably contentious and risk trampling all over our right to freedom of expression.

I posit that Bill-C 10, which expands the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) power to regulate the internet, is just such a needless wonder. With so many potential problems, including having the government decide what may or may not be posted on the internet by anyone, it is appalling that the government has wasted so much time on it, and is so gung-ho about passing it into law.

In modern terms, every government is a partisan agency. They seek to protect themselves and to guard their political fortunes. In robust democracies with strong protections for freedom of speech, this is done through vigorous debate. But given the opportunity, most governments would simply choose to outlaw speech they disagree with.

Any curtailment of Canadians’ right to free expression will be attended by all sorts of specious rationalizations, such as saving Canadians from “harmful speech,” or buttressing our “cultural identity.” But the end result will be the same.

For a succinct and punchy description of what C-10 is really about, I favour this statement from someone who knows the terrain, the former vice-chair of the CRTC, Peter Menzies: “It’s your Facebook post. It’s your tweet. It’s your cat videos. It’s your pictures of your children and grandchildren … what (Bill C-10) means is that somebody will be watching that, from the government, or a government regulator, and will be able to order it to be taken down if they find that it doesn’t suit whatever purposes they have.”

The Liberals seem to have some urgent need to push this forward. They are attempting to ram it through Parliament (during a time of plague). And they have the support of the separatist Bloc Québécois. We can be assured it’s for the good of Canada, when those who want to break up Confederation are ardent in its promotion. Together, the Liberals and the Bloc have imposed a “gag order” on the debate over this massive potential intrusion on fundamental rights.

I heartily endorse the observations of Prof. Michael Geist, who’s an expert in the field. His blog offers some excellent analysis of Bill-C 10. On the government limiting debate, and the separatists support for it, nothing can surpass his comment:

“The irony of calling for a gag order on debate over a bill with profound implications for freedom of expression is likely not lost on many Canadians. But worse than a regional, separatist party with 32 MPs calling for a gag order is the minister of Canadian heritage doing so.…

“For the minister of Canadian heritage to respond to legitimate, widely held concerns about the freedom of expression impact of legislation by seeking to cut off debate makes a mockery of our Canadian heritage.”

My view is simple: keep government out of making decisions over appropriate speech — period. If government does want to get into that dangerous game, it should at the very least: (a) wait till people have the leisure to study and argue it (which is not the case during a pandemic); and (b) not try to limit debate in Parliament or get in bed with the separatists in order to ram it through.

Do we really want a minority government supplied with legislative backbone by the separatist Bloc to re-engineer Canadians’ most basic democratic rights? And I ask again: why is the government so possessed with the desire to regulate online videos that it’s willing to take its limited attention off the pandemic?

National Post

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/rex-murphy-liberals-should-focus-on-ending-the-pandemic-not-curtailing-free-speech?fbclid=IwAR1oZ4xZFBtTkrh8tZ9AWWDeIY9yn1SYSiaod7aSVGaMHuX55u0ewIkcDWw

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