Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Talking Politics in Therapy

Mirabile dictu, it is wondrous to hear, a therapist has wisely explained that he does well to help his patients to deal with reality. With the reality of their lives, with the reality of the market, with the reality of politics.

Therapist Richard Brouillette explains the problem in a New York Times column. He has discovered that real life dilemmas cannot and should not be reduced to an intrapsychic dysfunction. He sees that he must overcome his tendency to prescribe introspection in order to help his patients to deal with life as lived.

He opens with an anecdote:

“I’m meeting my boss later,” my patient said. “I’m worried she’s going to tell me I’m not pulling my weight, and that I should volunteer to work more hours to show my commitment.”

This tension had been building at her job for months, and she feared that there would be a tacit threat in this meeting: work longer hours, uncompensated, or we will push you out. She was already finding it hard to spend so much time away from home. But she couldn’t afford to risk unemployment.

“What am I supposed to tell my children?” she asked, breaking down.

My stomach knotted. Such worries among my patients are becoming so common, so persistent, that I find myself focusing less and less on problems and neuroses that are specific to individual patients, and more and more on what is happening to the fabric of daily life.

We do not know what to tell her. We cannot speculate about a situation we know so little about. Besides, we read about such stories in the Ask Polly advice column and have offered many, many commentaries in the past.

The point is, the patient’s problem is not a state of mind. It is not about feeling her feelings of finding out what she really, really wants. Her problem concerns her ability to do her job, to compete against others who put in more time and to bring up her children. It isn’t easy. It isn’t self-evident. But, it isn’t so much the market that’s at fault. Apparently, she chose a field where presence matters. Again, we do not know much more.

One problem therapists see is: how to cope with the job market, or with certain segments of the job market, especially when reality defies their post-adolescent expectations:

As a psychotherapist with a private practice in Manhattan, I see a lot of early- and mid-career professionals coping with relentless email and social media obligations, the erasing of work/life boundaries, starting salaries that remain unchanged since the late 1990s. I see “aging” employees (30 and up) anxiously trying to adjust to a job market in which people have to change jobs repeatedly and cultivate their “personal brand.” No one uses all her vacation days. Everyone works longer hours than he would have a generation ago.

It is, dare we say, a competitive marketplace. More than a few women with children choose less demanding careers, the better to have more time at home. They might choose to compete with the big boys, with the big boys who have wives at home, but that is a choice, not the fault of the job market.

Be that as it may, Brouillette points out that therapists often steer discussions away from the realities in play and toward a psychic something. I suspect that the real reason for this is that they do not know enough about how the marketplace functions. Thus they point things toward an arena where they feel comfortable: emotions, fantasies, wishes and the like.

Typically, therapists avoid discussing social and political issues in sessions. If the patient raises them, the therapist will direct the conversation toward a discussion of symptoms, coping skills, the relevant issues in a patient’s childhood and family life. But I am growing more and more convinced that this is inadequate. Psychotherapy, as a field, is not prepared to respond to the major social issues affecting our patients’ lives.

Needless to say, the therapeutic attitude makes patients feel that they are at fault for not being able to manage their lives. Yet, as Brouillette remarks, therapists are at fault for not knowing how to help their patients do so:

When people can’t live up to the increasingly taxing demands of the economy, they often blame themselves and then struggle to live with the guilt.

So far, so good. And then, Brouillette’s column takes a darker turn. We discover that his own knowledge of the economy derives from his experience as a community organizer, thus, that he sees reality in terms of social justice wars. He shows his patients how to deal with the market, but he sees the marketplace through radically leftist lenses:

When an economic system or government is responsible for personal harm, those affected can feel profoundly helpless, and cover that helplessness with self-criticism. Today, if you can’t become what the market wants, it can feel as if you are flawed and have no recourse except to be depressed.

Life and the marketplace are far more complicated than this piece of leftist boilerplate. Brouillette continues to echo a famous movie, Network, and the raging, rebellious declaration of character Howard Beale. If your knowledge of the marketplace derives from the movies, it’s time to learn more about it:

There comes a time when people can’t take it anymore, when too much is being demanded of them. How much blame can people tolerate directing at themselves? When do they turn it outward?

My sense is that psychotherapists are playing a significant role in directing this blame inward. Unfortunately, many therapists, because they have been trained not to discuss political issues in the consulting room, are part of the problem, implicitly reinforcing false assumptions about personal responsibility, isolation and the social status quo.

As it happens, Brouillette is correct to see that therapists are the problem, not the solution. It’s an occupational hazard:

If the patient describes a nearly unbearable work situation, the therapist will tend to focus on the nature of the patient’s response to the situation, implicitly treating the situation itself as unchangeable, a fact of life. But an untenable or unjust environment is not always just a fact of life, and therapists need to consider how to talk about that explicitly.

This is, in ways, an old quandary in psychotherapy. Should therapy strive to help a patient adjust, or to help prepare him to change the world around him? Is the patient’s internal world skewed? Or is it the so-called real world that has gone awry? Usually, it’s some combination of the two, and a good psychotherapist, I think, will help the patient navigate between those two extremes.

Between adjust and change, there’s a middle ground: to manage the problem. Brouillette, however, sees the market in terms of a need to fight against injustice.

Too often, when the world is messed up for political reasons, therapists are silent. Instead, the therapist should acknowledge that fact, be supportive of the patient, and discuss the problem. It is inherently therapeutic to help a person understand the injustice of his predicament, reflect on the question of his own agency, and take whatever action he sees fit.

And he ends up giving a patient some not-so-good counsel about dealing with a situation:

I once had a patient who had reached a breaking point with the situation in the startup where she was employed. In her therapy, she had been struggling for two years with the idea that it was possible to have authentic communication in relationships. Our therapy helped her hone her anger into a courageous, well-considered and pointed group email that resulted in nearly half of her co-workers supporting her and prompting direct labor negotiations with the chief executive.

Note that we do not know what the problem was. He describes the situation in such abstract terms that we do not know whether the patient was right or wrong about the point she wanted to communicate. The notion of “authentic communication in relationships” is too banal to tell us anything at all.

So, her therapist advised her to act out a role in yet another movie, Norma Rae, where a young woman provoked the unionization of a factory. Depending on the nature of the business, it might just be that Brouillette’s patient got herself labelled a troublemaker, not a team player. She might have damaged her career prospects. Anyone who joins a company with the express or implied intention of bringing social justice to the factory floor is not going to have a very good career. Labor negotiations can be constructive or they can be destructive. Without knowing more, we cannot tell.

Most importantly, it’s not an employee’s job to change the world or to radicalize the workers. Yet, Brouillette thinks that it is:

Patients become motivated to change the world around them as a solution to what had become internal stressors. This is an experience of not just of external but internal change, bringing new confidence and a sense of engagement that becomes a part of the patient’s character.

Surely, he does not want to show his patients how to sabotage their careers and then to feel completely self-righteous about it. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

She Lost All her Friends in the Culture War

The next time you are tempted to disbelieve that today's young people are being indoctrinated in college or that they are acting like Red Guards or Brown Shirts, listen to this testimony. Via Maggie's Farm

In the Matter of Jamal Khashoggi

We do not know what happened to Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Turkey on October 2. Today, all indications point to a murder, possibly ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Yet, but the young prince has many enemies, at home and abroad. Could his enemies have arranged an assassination in order to discredit him? Or, did he simply decide to rid himself of a man he considered a threat to his autocratic rule?

As I said, we do not know. So, I have refrained from offering commentary about the case.

As for Khashoggi’s credentials as a reformist liberal democrat, the German daily newspaper Die Welt suggests that such is not the case. David Goldman reports on that paper’s discoveries:

Germany's leading right-of-center daily Die Welt this morning reveals that Jamal Khashoggi was not a journalist, but a high-level operative for the Saudi intelligence service, an intimate of Osama bin Laden, and the nephew of the shadiest of all Arab arms dealers, the infamous Adnan Khashoggi. John Bradley reported last week in the Spectator that Khashoggi, who allegedly met a grisly end in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that among other things wants to replace the Saudi monarchy with a modern Islamist totalitarian state.

And, Khashoggi also despised the current Crown Prince because he strongly opposed the prince’s more positive attitude toward Israel:

Among other things, we know that Khashoggi was bitterly opposed to the new Saudi government's rapprochement with the state of Israel. As a Muslim Brotherhood member, he backed Palestinian intransigence.

In the Wall Street Journal this morning Walter Russell Mead offers a good analysis of the state of play in this diplomatic chess game:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, flying to Riyadh at short notice to bring some order to the chaos, is well acquainted with the hard facts of the Middle East. He knows the crown prince’s Saudi Arabia is not an authoritarian caterpillar metamorphosing into a liberal butterfly. But neither are Turkey and Iran. And on crucial issues, U.S. and Saudi interests are aligned. The U.S. wants to ensure that no single power, inside or outside the Middle East, has control over the world’s oil spigot. That means Saudi Arabia must remain independent and secure.

Mead is suggesting that a man like Mike Pompeo is well suited to deal with the complexities of the situation. We are fortunate that he is running the State Department.

Mead offers his views of what we should not do:

There are two things the U.S. should not do. One is sweep Mr. Khashoggi’s murder under the rug. His disappearance has damaged Saudi Arabia’s standing, including in Congress. Mr. Pompeo needs to deliver a clear message that this behavior weakens and ultimately endangers the alliance. He should not be deterred by Saudi threats. Like the American Confederates who overestimated the power of King Cotton in the 1860s, the Saudis tend to overestimate King Oil’s power today.

And we should not:

But to do what the Iran-deal chorus and the Erdogan and Muslim Brotherhood apologists want—to dissolve the U.S.-Saudi alliance in a frenzy of righteousness—would be an absurd overreaction that plays into the hands of America’s enemies. It could also stampede the Saudis into even more recklessness.

Many of those who are leading the chorus against the Saudi Crown Prince are unabashed supporters of the Turkish autocrat, Erdogan and even the Iranian mullahs. Former Obama administration officials are still smarting from the Trump administration rejection of their heralded nuclear deal. They wanted to align America with the America-hating and Israel-hating mullahs… and they are not going to go down without a fight.

I find the phrase “frenzy of righteousness” to be especially apt. It applies well to grandstanding senators like Marco Rubio. Given his permanent frenzy over these matters one is happy that he is not sitting in the oval office today.

Mead concludes, sensibly:

To restore balance and sobriety to its foreign policy, Saudi Arabia needs to calm down, and only the U.S. can provide the assurances to make that possible. Among other things, this entails coordinating with the Saudis (and the Israelis) on a policy aimed at containing Iran and stabilizing the region. It also involves encouraging the economic transformation the Saudis seek at home. Even as he responds with appropriate gravity to a serious provocation, Mr. Pompeo must give Saudi authorities the confidence that sober and sensible policies will bring continuing American support for the kingdom’s independence and reform.

Also weighing in on Sunday in the Times of London was Niall Ferguson. He asks us to put these matters in perspective, especially in regard to the Turkish accusers:

The government currently pointing the accusing finger at Saudi Arabia is none other than Turkey’s. Right now, 68 journalists are serving jail sentences in Turkey, with a further 169 held awaiting trial.

Ferguson asserts some of the principles of balance-of-powers diplomacy. In these circumstances they are well worth recalling:

The problem is not a new one: it is as old as American foreign policy. You can’t be a great power, much less a superpower, and not have dealings — and sometimes alliances — with nasty, undemocratic regimes. And the mere fact you form alliances with them won’t make them change their ways.

You would think by now this simple truth would be obvious. But no. There will always be a market for hacks wanting to write “J’accuse” articles about any president or secretary of state (so long as he’s Republican) who has “blood on his hands” because he shook the hands of dictators.

Yes, indeed. Many of the hacks who are decrying the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi are Trump haters who have a vested interested in Trump’s-- and America’s failure. Given how unhinged they are, they will do everything in their power to forced Trump to fail… lest they be shown to be raving fools.

Of course, not a one of those who are current attacking Trump and the Crown Prince uttered a word when the Iranian mullahs suppressed a burgeoning democracy movement in 2009. They had nothing to say when the Obama administration refused even to condemn a regime that was systematically torturing and murdering student protesters. Not a one of them criticized the nuclear deal which effectively funded the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Ferguson concludes:

In foreign policy, sad to relate, the measure of success is not the cleanness of the hands you shake; it’s how far the strategy you pursue achieves its intended goals. I still rate the Trump administration’s strategy higher than that of Obama, because confronting Iran with a broad coalition — from Israel to Saudi Arabia — makes more sense than betting on good behaviour by Tehran, which was the essence of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Will this strategy make the Arab autocrats nicer people? Did the Iran deal make the ayatollahs any sweeter?

In the end, what matters is not our moral preening but the success of the Trump administration’s strategic realignment in the Middle East.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Psychoanalysis to the Rescue

Apparently, psychotherapist Gary Greenberg believes that Freud can teach us something about Donald Trump. Thus, we wade through a long, though well-written screed, about psychotherapy and Trump. By the time we get to the end, we discover the barely hidden motive: Greenberg is drumming up business. He is claiming that psychotherapy can offer insight into the Trump phenomena. And thus, that if you are suffering through the Trump presidency you should repair to his couch.

Greenberg begins his essay on an encouraging note. He points out, quite correctly, that therapists are more the problem than the solution to the suffering they are supposed to be treating.

In his words:

At such intervals, honest therapists realise that they are not only incapable of doing much about the suffering they are witnessing; they are part of the problem.

One problem is that therapists have no sense of reality. Their bailiwick is dreams, fantasies, wishes and feelings. Nothing real there. Check it yourself. They want their patients to search their souls, to scour their past  history, to recall trauma after trauma and to discover what they really, really want. When something undeniably real happens, they are struck dumb.

So, when on that Wednesday, no matter how much they (and I) might have wanted to get back to their intimate dramas, if only as a refuge, we found ourselves unable to speak of anything else but the ascension of Trump. It seemed remarkable – an inversion of business as usual. The political had become personal in the most literal fashion.

We feel their pain. They had studied for years and years… only to discover that they had nothing in their quivers to address the advent of Donald Trump:

The stoics and the obsessives, the anxious and the depressed, the dissolute and the uptight: they all seemed stunned and downcast and, since many of them had awakened in the wee hours to check the news, exhausted. It was as if overnight each person had experienced an unexpected death in the family and had come to me in the early stages of mourning.

Better yet, Greenberg felt their pain. He felt their feelings; he did not even need to empathize. After all, therapists are selling emotional lability, so they are obliged to express their feelings:

At the time, it seemed beyond question, self-evident, which is what happens when a therapist is feeling the same thing as a client – a less than reliable way to judge what is beyond question, I admit. It wasn’t until the intensity subsided over the following weeks, and its muted version took up residency in the post-election world, that the oddness of the reaction struck me. Why were we all so sad?

Naturally, Greenberg presents himself as an expert, an arbiter, someone who knows what happened to America on November 8, 2016. He sustains no doubt. He asks no questions. He is dead certain, as certain as any of his delusional patients, that he knows exactly what happened:

But if that happens, I am ready with an answer: there is nothing to make you feel helpless like watching 63 million of your neighbours converge upon something so foolish and dangerous as to elect a carny barker, and not a very good one at that, to the presidency. The election ends, and, good democrats that we are, we must accept its outcome just as surely as we must accept a death. There are no do-overs. Flail about all you like – when the cause is lost, it is lost. You watch a loved one decline and expire, your dog gets hit by a car, your lover leaves you for the last time, and there is nothing you can do about it. Helplessness is the gateway to grief, and to grieve – at a wake, during shivah, in a chance encounter at the store – is to talk, to bear witness to the loss until you have absorbed it.

Of course, Greenberg commits an egregious error in that paragraph. Perhaps you noticed it. When your candidate loses an election it is NOT, despite what he says, the same as when you mother dies, or when anyone dies. If you have half a functioning brain you can distinguish between losing an election and losing your grandmother. You will not get trapped into thinking that you should feel grief when you lose an election. You will not go into mourning.

Certainly not for the ambitions of Hillary Clinton, among the least likable humans in the country. You have to be kidding.

Your team loses the Super Bowl. It happens. Do you think it’s like when your dog got run over by a truck? I hope you can make this elementary distinction.

Greenberg cannot. That is why he is having trouble helping his patients. His theoretical tools have nothing to say about losing an election. Besides, how many people went into mourning after Hillary Clinton’s election defeat. Hillary supporters got angry. They refused to accept the election results. They thought they had been cheated and that the game had been rigged. Where was Greenberg when all of this was happening?

He goes on to suggest that this death in the family made it difficult to venture love. Huh? Perhaps he ought to step outside of his own bubble. When you lose an election you do not whine about it, as though your best friend had just died from cancer. You graciously accept defeat and  you regroup. You prepare for the next game or season:

And besides, if you suffer (or witness) enough loss, you will likely come to doubt, to distrust, and finally to discard this confidence, and to recognise that the capacity to soldier on in the face of the inevitable, let alone to venture love, is inexplicable. You will then perhaps see that bereavement is infinitely more complicated than any other wound, and that healing from it, whatever that may mean, is a miracle.

Of course, Hillary Clinton’s loss was not only like a death in the family. It felt like a repudiation of everything that liberal America held sacred. For people who had very little sense of the reality of politics, it was a crisis of faith. Liberal America had thought that their Messiah, Barack Obama had saved them. They woke up on the morning of November 9, 2016 to discover that the nation was filled with what they used to call the unconverted, with people who had not accepted Obama as their Messiah.

The crisis of faith extended to modern liberalism, which apparently had failed. Yet, rather than imagine that liberalism had failed, or that Obama had feet of clay, they chose to believe that something had gone wrong, that they had been cheated.

Greenberg then quotes Freud’s view of the meaning of World War I. Freud understood that the Great War had pronounced a verdict against the lofty optimism and idealism that had accompanied the Enlightenment. Europe had thought that it had overcome religious dogma and had set out on a brave new path toward liberality… only to discover that the demons it thought it had overcome were still alive. Of course, the enlightened intelligentsia did not think that perhaps it had made a mistake… that the Great War had shown them to have been mistaken. They would double down.

Greenberg summarizes Freud’s remarks:

The outbreak of war, he wrote in 1915, shattered our pride at the accomplishments of our civilisation, our respect for so many thinkers and artists, our hopes of finally overcoming the differences among peoples and races. It unleashed within us the evil spirits that we thought had been tamed by centuries of education on the part of our most noble men. It made our fatherland small again. In this way, it robbed us of so much that we had loved and showed us the fragility of so much that we had considered stable.

Freud maintained a certain quantity of optimism, eventually shown to have been mistaken:

The rosy forecast that ends the paper – “once mourning is overcome ... we will once again build up everything that the war has destroyed, perhaps on firmer foundations and more lastingly than before” – would be virtually his last word on the subject until the much darker Civilization and its Discontents, written as the Nazis were gaining power in Germany.

Greenberg concludes that psychotherapy has worked to shield people from reality. This makes sense, because therapists do not know how to deal with reality. Therapy provides a cocoon, a refuge, a respite from the horrors of the real world. It does not prepare patients to function within the world. It prepares them to feel assaulted by reality and to feel aggrieved when it doesn’t do what they hoped it would do.

No one ever said it out loud, and I didn’t realise it until much later, but the purpose of psychotherapy had become finding what it is in ourselves that we need to protect from the world. The safe space of the therapy office was not only a refuge but a model, a foretaste of the way the world ought to be: full of interlocutors whose job was to love us unconditionally and to help us to love ourselves the same way, so that we could be all that we can be.

He adds an existential reflection:

… now that God is dead and priests are just men spouting superstition, now that we have taken matters into our own hands, just how are we supposed to live with one another? Now that everything is permitted, now that rules are whatever we make them to be, how can we tame those evil spirits ourselves? Implicit in the therapeutic answer is a bet, the same bet that lies behind science and democracy and free-market capitalism: that we are self-limiting creatures, that given freedom and self-knowledge and the opportunity to express them, we will be able to ride the long arc of history toward progress.

If you take the word of a slightly deranged German philosopher, you accept unthinkingly that God is dead. And that priests are merely, as Enlightenment philosophers insisted, spouting superstition. Greenberg is correct to suggest that in a world where we recognize no external authority, the rules are what we make them to be. Thus, we are lost… and not in the sense that we have lost a parent or have lost a game.

He continues to show how little he understands politics. His reflections are boilerplate leftism… which we have been hearing ceaselessly since Trump was elected. He has no capacity to reflect on what might be right or wrong about Trump or about Trump’s legions of detractors. His primary purpose, let’s be clear about this, is to show that he belongs to the class of bien pensant elites, the intelligentsia that can still not accept that the nation has rejected its vision of the world and has refused to accept it as a guardian class of philosopher kings.

He writes:

Like all nostalgia, the yearning to make America great again is a yearning for the never-was, and it tells us more about what is missing from the present than what was present in the past….

Trump promises more than the restoration of white men to their rightful place at the top of the org chart. He promises to make the world comprehensible again without the intercession of pointy-headed elites and the nagging of social justice warriors. He urges us all to shake loose the surly bonds of civilised conduct: to make science irrelevant and rationality optional, to render truth obsolete, to set power free to roam the world, to lift all the core conditions written into the social contract – fealty to reason, scepticism about instincts, aspirations to justice. We then, at last, will be restored to the primordial American state of nature – free to consume, to pillage, to destroy, to wall out our neighbours and to hate people for living in shitholes.

What value would Greenberg’s whining have if he did not try to indict Trump and to reassert Enlightenment values… the ones that helped give us world wars and pogroms and Communism. Do you understand that the greatest human attempt to construct an atheist society was Communism... and that if failed catastrophically:

Trump indeed does more than promise: with his profligate lies, his proud immorality, his sneering disdain for fairness, his disregard for consistency or any other kind of integrity, he embodies those promises. He is the anti-Aufklärer, and his deepest appeal lies in an unspoken promise that lies behind the others: to undo the Enlightenment, to free us from the burdens of living rationally in a world where nothing is settled and where everything – economic well-being, national borders, gender identities, domestic arrangements – is up for grabs, let the strongest prevail.

And, of course, he showers Trump voters with bilious contempt:

Without a single shot, with hardly any sort of sustained violent break at all, in a collective ejaculation of rage and resentment, a near-majority of the electorate went with its gut and rejected not a candidate or a party but an ethos shaped over five centuries, of which Freud was an acolyte and the odd profession he spawned an apotheosis. They rose up against the demand imposed by modernity – that we use reason to figure things out for ourselves – and replaced it not with the old rules, but with impulse itself, with the vengeance and cruelty and rage that Trump so brilliantly embodies. Freud’s answer, that we find our limits only when we recognise just how badly we need them, was insufficient, and its transvalued version even more so. As John Adams recognised in noting the way that democracy “wastes, exhausts and murders itself”, individuals may conquer themselves but “nations and large bodies of men, never”.

Obviously, Greenberg has read Steven Pinker on the Enlightenment. He does not know enough about intellectual history to judge it, to evaluate its premises. So he offers a sustained rant. He does not seem to understand what Freud was on the verge of understanding, that this great social experiment has not been the great success that its adherents propose, that there is a flaw in the mechanism … and that we have been paying the price ever since.

He ends with a call to authentic individuality, the kind of social anomie and social dislocation that Enlightened philosophers never took the blame for:

For we have only just begun to grieve the passing of this great experiment, of the idea that we will find in ourselves the ability to run our own show, and as we watch ourselves decline, we will have to get very good at mourning. My colleagues and I stand ready to assist.

As I said, it’s all a sales pitch.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Do-Gooders Protect a Rapist

Of course, you are against gang rape. You believe that gang rapists should suffer the most extreme sanctions the law can provide. Apparently, citizens of Once-Great Britain have a different attitude. They did not know what they were doing, but they recently saved a convicted gang rapist from being deported.

Passengers on a jet bound for Turkey stood up and insisted that a Somali man be taken off the plane, and not be deported. Filled with righteous virtue they assumed that since the man was Somali he was the victim of British racism. The same attitude allowed the constabulary in Rotherham to turn a blind eye to Muslim grooming gangs, sex trafficking and gang rapes.

It turns out that the innocent Somali man was a convicted for participating in a gang rape. Good job, Brits.

The Daily Mail has the story:

A Somalian whose deportation from Britain was dramatically halted after airline passengers staged a mutiny demanding his release can be exposed today as a convicted gang rapist who was being kicked out of the country because of his sickening crime.

Officials escorting Yaqub Ahmed on a flight from Heathrow to Turkey were forced to abandon his deportation when around a dozen holidaymakers who felt sorry for him angrily intervened shortly before take-off.

At one stage during the astonishing episode, filmed on mobile phones, one traveller complained: ‘They’re separating him from his family’, while others chanted ‘take him off the plane’.

Of no, they were separating him from his family. Doesn’t that sound familiar? How many Americans have fallen for the same ruse? How many sanctuary cities are protecting criminals in order to feel virtuous? And, how many girls will be sacrificed for political correctness?

Idiots all, one must say:

When harassed security guards caved in and walked 29-year-old Ahmed off the Turkish Airlines flight, he was seen thanking those on board for their support as they cheered and applauded.

One person was heard declaring: ‘You’re free, man!’

But the passengers who thought they were doing a good deed were unaware that the man they were defending had been sentenced to nine years in jail for his part in a vicious gang rape of a teenage girl – and that another member of his gang later fought for Islamic State in Syria.

Today The Mail on Sunday can reveal how Ahmed and three other youths preyed on a 16-year-old stranger after she became separated from her friends during a night out in London’s Leicester Square, in August 2007.

He raped a sixteen year old girl. How do these virtue mongers feel now.? I imagine that they still feel that they did the right thing.

Some British citizens thought otherwise:

But when video of the protest was published by MailOnline, hundreds of readers expressed their outrage.

One wrote: ‘The police should have been called and all the passengers who were interfering should have been arrested and removed from the plane.’

Another user said: ‘Looked like a plane full of snowflakes.’ And a third pointed out: ‘Now it will cost a lot more to fly the man back on a private charter! Well done silly interfering, self-seeking, do-gooding idiots!’

Ahmed is now believed to be in an immigration detention centre while officials try to place him on another flight out of the UK, but this process could take months particularly if his lawyers use his temporary reprieve as an opportunity to appeal against his deportation.

Now, the British government must provide this rapist all of his rights. This will delay his deportation.

The #MeToo War on Men

Strangely enough, the #MeToo movement began as an attack on men in the media and entertainment industry. Movement leaders pronounced themselves to be outraged over the sexual predations of Donald Trump, but, in truth, those facts, such as they were, were cancelled out by the fact that his opponent on the presidential ballot was the nation’s leading enabler of sexual harassment. Hillary Clinton's presence immunized Trump from attack.

In Hillary’s name, in a grand historical irony, women have taken out after men who are progressives and even leftists. Among the more flagrant attacks on men was what was called the Shitty Media Men list, in which men in the media were anonymously accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Some of the charges seemed to be manifestly true. Some were disputed by those named. Now, however, one man, Stephen Elliott is attacking Moira Donegan and the other unnamed contributors to the list. Having been accused of rape, Elliott is suing Donegan et al. for defamation.

Bari Weiss reports on the case for the New York Times. She opens with an interesting question.

What do you do if you are accused of sexual misconduct and believe yourself to be innocent?

But if you’re a progressive man who sees himself as a feminist ally, the politically acceptable strategy is to keep quiet and lay low. If you do anything at all, put out a statement saying you support the #MeToo movement, that it’s an overdue and necessary corrective, and that you are taking some time for self-reflection.

How about, what if you are innocent? Doesn't that happen? Or else, what if you behaved boorishly toward women but never raped one? Amazingly, some of the men who were accused of crimes but thought they were innocent, chose not to dispute the charges. They believe in the #MeToo movement and are willing to accept infamy to advance their cause. They call it taking one for the team, but really they are martyring themselves for a cause. Which is not the same thing.

Five of the men on the Media Men list on Thursday spoke to The Cut on the condition of anonymity to condemn Mr. Elliott’s lawsuit. What’s fascinating is that even as they expressed anger toward Mr. Elliott, most insisted that they, too, are not guilty of what they are accused of. But the collective sense is that Mr. Elliott should do what they’re doing: “taking one for the team,” as one of them put it.

A year ago, that’s where Mr. Elliott was. “Multiple people asked me at first if I was O.K. just taking a bullet for the movement,” he told me. “Because of their politics and, frankly, because of mine.”

Until recently, Elliott had accepted martyrdom to advance the feminist cause.

Stephen Elliott, the founder of the left-wing website The Rumpus, followed that script. A year ago this month, his name appeared along with some 70 others on an anonymously sourced Google spreadsheet. It was called the Shitty Media Men list and the accusations ranged in severity from “weird lunch dates” to “rape.”

Rape is what Stephen Elliott was accused of. His entry, along with more than a dozen others on the list, was highlighted in red to denote physical violence. It read: “Rape accusations, sexual harassment, coercion, unsolicited invitations to his apartment, a dude who snuck into Binders” (a women-only Facebook group).

Note the range of crimes, from “weird lunch dates” to “rape.” Why are these all being conflated under the category of sex crimes. Does it diminish the horror of rape to have it included on a list that calls men out for weird lunch dates?

In the past Elliott has been accused of bad behavior:

And the Shitty Media Men list was not the first time Mr. Elliott was publicly accused of bad behavior. In a 2015 essay in Tin House, the novelist Claire Vaye Watkins portrayed Mr. Elliott as a tone-deaf misogynist — and made the case that his “professional sexism” exists on a continuum with sexual violence.

In the wake of his Quillette essay, two more women came forward with complaints.

Lyz Lenz, who is now the managing editor of The Rumpus, tweeted about an instance where Mr. Elliott “invited me up to your room to watch a movie” and didn’t “take no for an answer.” Ms. Lenz says that he “hounded” her and she “hid under a table.” And Marisa Siegel, who is now the editor of The Rumpus, wrote in an essay about how she was “shaken” after Mr. Elliott “barged” into her hotel room during a conference and stayed for at least 30 minutes.

The problem is the continuum… What these women consider sexist behaviors, which can run the gamut from an inappropriate look or remark to a rape, have now become all of a piece.

Thus, a man who has cast an inappropriate look at a woman or who spoke to her in terms that are considered sexist has now committed a felony. And thus, is deserving of the most harsh punishment. Even if he didn't do it, he's a man, suffused with toxic masculinity, so he is guilty until proved innocent.

Of course, the continuum concept would be laughed out of court, but among feminists, male and female, it is enough to destroy a man’s career, his life, his reputation and his family.

Given that this has now become a war, the notion that the punishment should be commensurate with the crime has disappeared from radical feminist discourse. As has the notion the the accused should be allowed due process of law.

Since two women complaining about Elliott have now taken over his job, one might imagine that they were self-interested. And that they were affecting a palace coup.

A court will apparently decide whether Donegan had a malicious intent in creating the list, whether she wanted it to go public. One might say that if she imagined, after passing it around to her closest friends, that it would not go public, she was hopelessly naive. Besides, what purpose would it have served if it had remained private.

This account of maliciousness does not at all square with how Ms. Donegan has described her aim in creating the list.

She wrote in New York Magazine that the list was “meant to be private” — a written version of a whisper network — and that, unlike an HR department or the police, “the value of the spreadsheet was that it had no enforcement mechanisms: Without legal authority or professional power, it offered an impartial, rather than adversarial, tool to those who used it. It was intended specifically not to inflict consequences, not to be a weapon — and yet, once it became public, many people immediately saw it as exactly that.”

As for Donegan’s intention, she clearly was trying to destroy men. Her tweets tell the story:

He [Elliott] is planning to provide documents to the court that he thinks prove Ms. Donegan’s intent was malicious. Chief among them are since-deleted tweets, like:

On Oct. 26, 2017, she tweeted: “I like the witch hunt but I love that it happened in October.” The next day she wrote: “Small, practical step to limit sex harassment: Don’t employ any men.”

On Nov. 15, she wrote about the Paris Review Editor whose name was on the list: “As if both of those things weren’t obvious already, I’m interested in Lorin Stein and my DMs are open.” Then, when The New York Times published an article about the resignation of Mr. Stein, who apologized for inappropriate behavior, she tweeted the article with an invitation: “champagne anyone.”

Whatever noble intentions it had at first, #MeToo seems to have become a way to destroy men, to remove them from positions of authority and to replace them with women:

Over the past year, as #MeToo has morphed into a verb, I’ve been involved in heated discussions about any number of men who have been MeTooed. About Al Franken. About Leon Wieseltier. About Louis C.K. About Brett Kavanaugh.

In all of those cases, it is possible to ask: What is the appropriate punishment for behavior that is wrong but perhaps wouldn’t stand up as a crime in a court of law?

It's a bad idea to declare war when you are... outmanned. Rest assured, this is not going to end well. Especially for women.