According to Greg Hands, the true weak link in the War on Some Terror But Not Others is not a flawed foreign policy, the problems of dealing with sub-state actors while promoting an international based around the sovereignty of the state, blatant hypocrisy or the Free World being led by a man who is widely seem as thick as two short planks....but instead a Left Wing Conspiracy (is there any other sort?) at the Lonely Planet, putting terrible propaganda in their guide books!
I know, I know. You feel your trust has been betrayed. I know when I want to know about the recent political history of a country, I too pick up The Lonely Planet Guide to see what its talented geopolitical commentators say. Their editorial stance and books have been cited by leaders the world over as the way to Win This Thing. And all the time, they were secretly manipulating us. *sob*
the books are almost always written from a Leftist political stance. Wait a moment, readers might ask, how can a description of which bus route goes to Tutankhamun's tomb have any kind of political bias? Check out the "history" section of these books, however, and you will see what I mean. Liberal, "progressive" forces are invariably good, battling with the forces of conservatism, all around the world.
History and reality are supposed to have a well known liberal-left bias. So I've been told, anyway, by my secret masters within the Liberal Conspiracy. No, the other one, not that site run by Sunny Hundal.
As expected, this is particularly true of guides to the USA and to the UK. Margaret Thatcher and George Bush are vilified. Clem Attlee, Franklin D Roosevelt and JFK are idolised.
Of course, George W Bush and Magaret Thatcher are the poster-children for compassionate conservatism. The only possible reason someone could disagree with their claims to greatness is because they are a bitter liberal. All those unemployed people and dead bodies and stuff are mere coincidence and as any good empiricist knows, correlation does not equal causation. On the other hand, those people widely seen, across the political spectrum, as statesmen due to their fairly good leadership in times of crisis are liberal stooges.
The brand new Lonely Planet guide to the USA (5th ed, 2008) tells us that "Roosevelt did much to ameliorate the pain of the Great Depression", there is praise for Clinton whose attempts to create socialised healthcare were scuppered by the Republicans, who were then out to get him over Monica Lewinsky, etc. But the real monstering is reserved for George W Bush, who "attacked Afghanistan in an unsuccessful hunt for Al-Qaeda terrorists", he "undid environmental regulations" and "fostered a moral, religious and cultural crusade, espousing 'family values'". The chapter introducing California suggests that Arnold Schwarzenegger's only successes were as a result of him distancing himself from Bush, and on it goes.
Shorter Greg Hands: We're now in Bizarro World! Everything is reversed, and I am now right.
Some readers of this blog might even ask, it's so well-known, why even bother to write about it? Well, the new Lonely Planet Egypt guide (9th ed, 2008) simply cannot go without comment. The book is an apology for radical Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ah yes. This must be part of that neverending struggle in The Lonely Planet to potray Liberal organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, as good guys, and conservative forces as the bad guys. Right? Because the Muslim Brotherhood are all fluffy kittens and free abortions and gay love and stuff.
Any objective view of the Brotherhood is this - it is a jihadist group, whose credo is "Mastering the world with Islam" and "building the khalifa".
Uh-oh. Doesn't this kind of conflict with this statement "Check out the "history" section of these books, however, and you will see what I mean. Liberal, "progressive" forces are invariably good, battling with the forces of conservatism, all around the world"?
You know, Greg, if you want to make your point, its generally best to not quote a part of a book which completely fails to make your point at all, and in fact undermines it. You know, as a general rule. We do things differently here, in reality.
We are told (p. 44) that "despite their use of religion, Egypt's Islamist groups are part of a political response to harsh socio-economic conditions". They have suffered under "a repressive political system that allowed little chance to voice legitimate opposition" and have been "denied recognition by the state as a legal political entity".
"Context is part of the liberal conspiracy."
One can't help feeling that the writers at Lonely Planet desperately want themselves to believe that radical Islamists are a manifestation of protest against economic conditions, and are trying to re-arrange the facts accordingly. Perhaps the Brothers really are sitting around in Che Guevara T-shirts, debating the Marxist dialectic, driven by a desire to alleviate poverty, just like the Taliban were in Afghanistan?
"Poverty, poor education and lack of legitimate opposition have never spawned extremist religious organizations. Ever. Not once at all in history. People who say otherwise are part of Liberal-Left Conspiracy. Also, now, liberal-left means Communist."
Why should we care? Two reasons. First, these books sell well, and the market is predominantly young, well-educated people, gap-year teens, students and former students, whose minds are open enough in the first place to embark on a journey to somewhere like Egypt. Probably exactly the sort of people we don't want to be telling that the Muslim Brotherhood are the good guys.
I love Greg's dichomtomous worldview, where telling people the origins of an organizations key support is SECRETLY HOPING FOR THE OVERTHROW OF THE INFIDEL MURBARAK'S TYRANNY, ALLAHU-AKBAR! Oops, sorry, forgot myself there for a moment. Greg clearly thinks people are too stupid to realize a highly socially conservative religious movement in the Middle East with links to terrorist organizations might just be as bad as a regime that practices routine torture and denial of human rights, despite how their opposition is rooted in economic and political concerns of the nation in question.
Because, you know, pointing out the roots of support for the Egyptian Brotherhood may have some sort of legitimate basis is EXACTLY THE SAME THING as supporting the Jihadists and wanting to establish an Islamic Cailphate. Obviously.
Second, and this never ceases to amaze me, we, the British taxpayer, own Lonely Planet. The BBC bought it in 2007.
We should be asking the BBC why they are promoting Islamism, and in the meantime perhaps we should persuade Fox News to buy Rough Guides, re-balance the editorial line and give travellers a real choice?
Ah yes, the BBC. Main cog in the international liberal-left conspiracy. Once again betraying this great nation by promoting Islam, the eating of aborted fetuses, multiculturalism, marrying men with dogs and other perversions. Only Rupert Murdoch, who would never cosy up to illiberal regimes for the sake of sales, can restore the balance.