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Pat Condell

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832419.  Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:12 am Reply with quote

For those of you who don't know, and those of you who will only dimly remember his banning from and subsequent re-instatement to YouTube, Pat Condell is an internet video blogger, atheist and some-time stand-up comedian. His Godless & Free videos (available commercially as transcripts) are articulate and outspoken but for the time being I will not post my own opinion of his commentaries but rather invite posters to taste a drop or two of his barely restrained bile. A friend recently pointed me at his videos and I have a replied with my take on one of his recent offerings but I'll hold back from posting that at least for the time being as it's quite lengthy and I don't want to make my opinions the subject of the thread, at least not until I've read your appraisals of Mr Condell's standpoint.

Just to start things off I'll link to the fairly typical Goodbye Sweden, in which Mr Condell predicts the coming of the first European Islamic state, but please feel free to sample any of the videos available and make such comments as you like. As I've said I'm just canvassing opinion really - I'm interested to hear what you think; especially all you members of the "multiculti, middle-class, left-wing prickocracy". (check out the Feedback section)

832431.  Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:04 am Reply with quote

As someone who is a self confessed Atheist and left wing, I've also expressed my distaste for "fundamentalist Atheists" such as Pat Condell and Richard Dawkins. Rather than give positive reasons for Atheism they would prefer to attack religion, and I find them to be extreme.

I find it very telling that some Christian blogs and sites which are anti Islam have featured Pat Condell's views which seems to me to defeat the whole idea of being an Atheist when your views can be used by one religion to attack another.

832481.  Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:44 am Reply with quote

I'm not all that familiar with Pat Condell and unfortunately I can't access his website from work but I have just read his wikipedia page and a few different websites discussing his videos.

Firstly, I’ll point out I’m an atheist and most people would say I’m a 'leftie' though I certainly don't think any political party has all the answers and I think incompetent people tend to be equally dispersed across all parties. I differ from CB27 (above) in that I think that it's often necessary to attack religion and therefore rather unsurprisingly, I don't find Richard Dawkins distasteful.

On Pat Condell, my initial readings have led me to the conclusion that I disagree with some of his views and agree with others. Many of his criticisms of religion seem fair to me but from what I can tell his conclusions are often vastly exaggerated versions of the conclusions I reach. One example would be the effect that he believes the Park 51 Mosque would have on the United States. He describes the mosque as . . .

. . . . representative of Islamic triumphalism and that the United States would soon be on the verge of Islamization and have its freedoms trimmed, as Europe has.

The above sounds like utter tosh to me but I don't think it is an 'offensive' opinion (and is being offensive all that bad?).

Where I agree with him is that he believes discussions about religion are a civil rights issue and not many things are as good at taking away civil rights as religions are.

Taking everything I’ve read so far into consideration he's a bit hyperbolic for my liking but I found myself agreeing with him more than I found myself disagreeing with him.

I'll check out some of his videos tonight and let you know how it changes my opinion.

832505.  Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:00 pm Reply with quote

What a self-righteous twat.

'I have a right - no, a duty - to insult your religion'.

Well, that's going to do a fat load of good, isn't it?

But the biggest problem I have with his site in general is that he presents his stuff as 'comedy' - and I did rather think that it was a prerequisite for comedy to be funny. No chuckles to be had here.

I've flicked through a few of the videos and skimmed over his website, and he's very much a one trick pony, isn't he? OK, we get that he doesn't like religion, be it Christian or Muslim flavoured - but what does he stand for? As far as I can see, he stands for an unrelentingly smug intellectual snobbery and not much else. From the FAQ;

"Q: You don’t understand Christianity/Islam.
A: I don’t understand smallpox or typhoid either, and I’m equally disinclined to get acquainted with them. "

Oh, please.

It does rather seem to me that he falls into that awful, embarrassing brand of atheism that spends more time contemplating - obsessing, even - over religion than anyone short of those that have dedicated their entire lives to it, like monks priests, imams and rabbis. Probably a good deal more than most of them, too.

But even after all that obsessing, there's no new information in what he says that can't be found with 10 minutes of reading the Daily Wail, no fresh perspective, and no laughs. So I can't help but wonder - what really is the point?

832526.  Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:22 pm Reply with quote

I've just watched the Goodbye Sweden video, and may watch/read more later, but he strikes me as one odd fellow. He jumped from one conclusion to another with very little care of his actual argument. I tried to follow his logic and was left wanting.

I'm no expert on Sweden, but I've been there (just to the south around Malmö) and his painting of the scene doesn't really jive with what I experienced. Specifically about Jews, I can't say--I didn't spend long enough there to seek out members of the tribe. And it's been four years, I s'pose things could change in that time. I didn't see anyone who looked anything but northern European while I was there. I suppose all those dark, scary Muslims are hiding in dark alleys waiting for a victim. I might dig into that statistic he gave about Oslo's rapes--seems suspect.

He lost me with the Nobel Prize tangent. What was the point exactly? That Westerners/Middle Easterners blame Islamophobia for the lack of Nobels awarded to Muslims, but really it's just because Muslims are all [insert insult here]? Umm.

He went on and on about the rapes in Sweden (and Oslo) and made a point that they're particularly violent, but really--I get a strong feeling he wouldn't be bothered by a woman's issue (as it usually is considered) except that it suits whatever argument he's trying to make.

Well, like I said, I'll reserve further judgment until I've done some more investigating.

832533.  Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:35 pm Reply with quote

Wiki suggests as many as 500,000 of muslim extraction (with the Muslim Council of Sweden reporting 100,000 member) in a population of 9.3 million. There are apparently 20,000 Jews (of whom 7,000 are members of a congregation - one of which is in Malmö).

He doesn't seem to be completely off-beam on the Norwegian rape statistics, although he isn't quite right either: an article explains. Wiki offers figures for Sweden.

832554.  Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:08 pm Reply with quote

Again I emphasise that I am not aligning myself with Mr Condell (or at least not at this point) but inaccuracies in the rape statistic were addressed in a subsequent video.

Name the poison

832881.  Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:09 pm Reply with quote

OK, this thread seems to have attracted all the replies it's going to so here's my take on Mr Condell's An illiberal consensus. There was an exchange of brief e-mails prior to my taking the time to write the main part - I guess I'd better include those as well; sorry about the size of this - I did say it was a bit lengthy.

Precious little substance there I fear. His general and pervasive point about all aspects of British society walking on eggshells so as not to violate the 'laws' of political correctness is lost in a sea of personal bitterness and intemperate mouth-frothing apoplexy that anyone would have the temerity not to heed the self-evident wisdom from on high that is his opinion.

Mr Condell is of course entitled to his viewpoint but haranguing his audience with a one-sided critique of the media leaves me with my own suspicions as to what journalistic school he currently favours. As regards his missives to the Godless & Free to my mind he stands on the brink at the moment; poised on the edge of the precipice mere inches from the fall from clear and unflinching commentator on the state of contemporary mass media culture to self-important windbag in his own imagination quixotically tilting at the monstrous giants oppressing his right to ignore public opinion as evidenced by the zeitgeist as it is and all that it stands for.

AND he violated Godwin's Law right at the top of the piece - which is just what Hitler would have done.

The problem is, of course, that when you’re talking about Nazis then there’s always going to be a shallow shout of ‘Godwin’s law’ which actually really applies to active forum based discussions & arguments and not commentaries or polemics.

The substance is there in my view and it’s based on hard truths that too many people are afraid to say. I’m grateful that someone is standing up and saying it. We should all be saying a loud (& resounding) ‘NO’ to the way that news is reported in this country. In particular the BBC should be a beacon of neutrality. We all pay for that that as Condell points out. It concentrates on being PC and not being neutral. If, for instance, you want a “women’s hour” or “Asian channel” then set one up and pay for it yourself ... don’t expect others to be pleased when they’re forced to fund it. I’d quite like to see a BBC ‘white blokes channel’ but that would be racist and sexist eh? Anyone can call themselves a minority if the search terms are specific enough.

I would also like to see a wholly secular approach to all things in this country and, grudgingly, in that respect, I doff my hat to the French. I make them right. It’s about time we hauled our lazy arses out of the middle ages and told the likes of Islam and Christianity just exactly where they stand when it comes to the decision making process. There is no place for superstition and

Another point that Condell makes in other rants is that you rarely, if ever, hear of Jews making outrageous demands for their ‘rights’ or ‘respect’. He’s right and there’s something very wrong about people who believe in ‘invisible friends’ getting respect and power on that basis alone. There’s actually something very wrong about those very people thinking that their opinion matters on that basis. It’s not a viable or logical means of making decisions. Why not just use tealeaves and an old bird called Doris?

He’s absolutely spot on about ‘middle class left wing pricks’ too in my view

The point is not whether the 'strict' application of a given internet trope is appropriate here. Godwin's Law is after all no such thing in truth, it is merely an item of convenience indicating a commonality between certain modes of argument; specifically it is a way of pointing out that citing Hitler in an argument is automatically deemed to make an opinion unassailable - it's a cheap trick designed to steam-roller opposition by implying that in disputing the point of view being proposed you are agreeing with the greatest mass-murderer in history and are therefore, ipso facto, morally reprehensible. Condell’s reference to Nazism is, in fact, in the context of putting words into the mouth of the BBC – he implies that the Beeb (or possibly The Guardian, he conflates the two quite adroitly) called Geert Wilders a Nazi but in fact it is Mr Condell who equates “far right” with Nazi and then proceeds to be offended on behalf of Mr Wilders for this non-existent slur. Judging by his usual soapbox diatribes we might conclude that Mr Condell’s objection to the BBC consists primarily of its politically correct, non-confrontational, reporting of any story involving Muslims and indeed he opens in this vein but is he in truth saying that? No, not really, he swiftly moves on to broader issues of alleged political bias at the Beeb although he doesn’t abandon his underlying Islamic theme entirely as he backs this up by claiming that Geert Wilders is not a “far right” politician and that to label him as such should be actionable. Mr Wilders Wiki entry has this:

Wilders published the version of his political manifesto called Klare Wijn ("Clear Wine") in March 2006. The program proposed ten key points to be implemented:

Considerable reduction of taxes and state regulations.
Replacement of the present Article 1 of the Dutch constitution, guaranteeing equality under the law by a clause stating the cultural dominance of the Christian, Jewish and humanist traditions.
Reduction of the influence of the European Union, which may no longer be expanded with new member states, especially Turkey; the European Parliament will be abolished. Dutch financial contributions to the European Union should be reduced by billions of euros.
A five year moratorium on the immigration of non-Western foreigners who intend to stay in the Netherlands. Foreign residents will no longer have the right to vote in municipal elections.
A five-year moratorium on the founding of new mosques and Islamic schools; a permanent ban on preaching in any language other than Dutch. Foreign imams will not be allowed to preach. Radical mosques will be closed and radical Muslims will be expelled.
Restoration of educational standards, with an emphasis on the educational value of the family.
Introduction of binding referenda and elected mayors, chiefs of police and prime ministers.
Introduction of minimum penalties, and higher maximum penalties; introduction of administrative detention for terrorist suspects. Street terrorism will be punished by boot camps and denaturalisation and deportation of immigrant offenders.
Restoration of respect and better rewards for teachers, policemen, health care workers and military personnel.
Instead of complicated reorganisation, a more accessible and humane health care system, especially for elderly citizens.

That all sounds pretty right wing to me so I wonder what arguments Mr Condell would put forward to explain why it is not. The policies are obviously mainly intended to target Islam and Islamic terrorism but what if, for example, we were to replace the references to Islam with references to Judaism instead; would that, in fact, bring any historical right-wing movements to mind? Perhaps the association Mr Condell made was not merely excessive argumentative zeal but a betrayal of his personal level of understanding. We will never know of course but the Jungian return of the repressed is a tricky beast, never more so than when one is being disingenuous.

Seamlessly PC(!) then switches to the BBC’s sister organisation (in the journalistic landscape of Condellworld) The Guardian. OK, so the New Labour doublespeak is at least one staple of The Guardian (or was last time I saw a copy) and he makes a point about the coming demise of Political Correctness which I for one would welcome and fervently hope comes to pass but this is a sideswipe in passing. He then switches back to the BBC because it is publicly funded but doesn’t provide any further examples of the outrageous “multiculti, middle-class, left-wing prickocracy” presumably because his example of the outrageous treatment of Geert Wilders was so convincing no further evidence is needed.

For someone arguing the case for an unbiased media Mr Condell is not exactly even-handed in his vilification of modern journalism. As he points out everybody pays for the BBC so the BBC must be seen to represent the views of all license payers, not an easy task as everyone will have their own views regarding what exactly constitutes a reasonable and unbiased representation of the ethnic diversity and religious beliefs of the nation as a whole (this in part is the basis of the multiplicity of national daily newspapers). Take Songs of Praise for instance, hardly a ratings winner but surely you wouldn't claim that this esoteric piece of programming is the work of ‘middle class left wing pricks’? I suspect that those particular members of society would on average be no more likely to watch the program than you or I, indeed it could be suggested that the scheduling of this show is an instance of programming bias against non-Christians. Assuming we're talking about BBC TV here (I don't listen to the radio much myself) let's abandon SoP as being specific religious programming ('balanced' presumably by Rageh Omaar's Life of Mohammed) and move rather to the issue of handling ethnic diversity in the News. The problem is almost certainly that heterosexual, white, Christian (at least nominally) males are usually perceived as those most likely to be in positions of authority and this alienates certain elements of society - including certain individuals from that self-same group who are not wealthy or in positions of authority but also including homosexuals, women and those of other racial backgrounds. An impartial national service must attempt to address this but whatever its policy or actions there are certain to be complaints. The critical one-sidedness of Condell's arguments more or less compel me to make a case in opposition despite points of common ground which, were he more objective and constructive, would certainly constitute a fair amount of shared opinion. However I dislike being preached at by Mr Condell almost as much as I dislike being threatened, blackmailed and bullied by those who strive to make Islamic supremacy a fact of life rather than merely the ultimate and far distant goal of those who see themselves as enemies of Britain because they are Muslims above all else.

Tagged on at the end we have a small satire on the farce that was the vote on PR. With some apparent regret Mr Condell notes the passing of the opportunity to change from the first past the post system - an eventuality that was, in his view, entirely the fault of the left-wing faces that represented the campaign to the public and under no circumstances connected to the fact that those of the public who could be bothered to vote rejected the proposal. None of us relish finding ourselves isolated from the expressed majority viewpoint but to place the blame on a personal bête noir rather than accepting the outcome of a democratic process is bordering on egomania.

Mr Condell expresses his views competently and I am content to listen to him but not to place myself behind his banner when I have reservations about his motivation and even his level of self-scrutiny. We should all examine our motivation once in a while but I wonder if Mr Condell ever even considers that he might not be the reasonable man he claims to be. So what are we to make of his curiously timed attack on the BBC, an organisation respected worldwide which has no hint of phone-hacking scandal attached to it and which is staffed by people who I believe seek to represent the populace to the best of their ability - regularly coming into conflict with whichever political party is in power at the time? Not much, but the Murdoch press might welcome the distraction – perhaps that’s what Mr Condell means by impartiality.

832974.  Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:17 am Reply with quote

This Pat Condell doesn't come on here using a pseudonym, does he?

Ion Zone
833195.  Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:34 pm Reply with quote

'Godless & Free' just sounds like 'League of the Militant Godless' to me.

I don't want to touch this one, but from what I've seen of (and also head about) Pat Condell, Neo has him nailed. There is a very big difference between open, honest, and frank criticism and the things he (and a number of others) says.

AND he violated Godwin's Law right at the top of the piece - which is just what Hitler would have done.


Last edited by Ion Zone on Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:57 am; edited 1 time in total

833251.  Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:39 am Reply with quote

Point of order: It is not a violation of Godwin's Law to mention Hitler inappropriately. Godwin's Law is a statement that as an internet discussion continues, the probability of an inappropriate comparison with Hitler or the Third Reich being made approaches 1. Thus an inappropriate mention of Hitler is a demonstration of Godwin's Law, not a violation.

833303.  Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:06 am Reply with quote

Godwin's Law has become tediously overused, largely because people don't understand it, as you say. If a comparison to Hitler is valid then it should be made and citing Godwin's Law, incorrectly, does not mean you've won the argument.


833321.  Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:58 am Reply with quote

To re-iterate
Celebaelin wrote:
The point is not whether the 'strict' application of a given internet trope is appropriate here. Godwin's Law is after all no such thing in truth, it is merely an item of convenience indicating a commonality between certain modes of argument; specifically it is a way of pointing out that citing Hitler in an argument is automatically deemed to make an opinion unassailable -
Condell’s reference to Nazism is, in fact, in the context of putting words into the mouth of the BBC – he implies that the Beeb...called Geert Wilders a Nazi but in fact it is Mr Condell who equates “far right” with Nazi and then proceeds to be offended on behalf of Mr Wilders for this non-existent slur.
...claiming that Geert Wilders is not a “far right” politician and that to label him as such should be actionable. Mr Wilders Wiki entry has this:
That all sounds pretty right wing to me so I wonder what arguments Mr Condell would put forward to explain why it is not.

Admittedly my initial 'citation' of Godwin's Law was flawed but it was, as Ion has realised, made in jest in any event. One cannot help but feel that anyone taking references to Godwin's Law too seriously is missing the point a little.

833690.  Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:21 pm Reply with quote

Following the incidents in Norway watch this space...

<E> 08:05 Saturday. It seems at this point that the incident was probably not down to Islamic extremists although this was the quickly drawn, or perhaps jumped to, conclusion of yesterday afternoon and evening. It may still attract comment from Mr Condell.

834475.  Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:20 am Reply with quote

As most of you know I am all for atheism, and while I think Richard Dawkins' militancy and vituperation is often greatly exaggerated even by other atheists (he vigorously denies the term 'fundamentalist Atheist', which is after all an idiotic term), I do think Pat Condell is a bit of a twat.

There is a difference between realising that religion shouldn't automatically be treated with kid gloves, and beating it and its proponents repeatedly about the head with a baseball bat, metaphorically speaking. It seems to me Condell indulges in the latter a little too readily, and as Neo points out, without a trace of any discernible humour.

Christopher Hitchens is a far better polemicist, vastly more erudite, genuinely amusing and far more subtle. Alas for his stage 4 throat cancer.


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