Everybody agrees about everything hurrah
Terry Eagleton says wrong things again.
The basic moral values of the average Muslim dentist who migrates to Britain are much the same as those of a typical English-born plumber. Neither is likely to believe that lying and cheating are the best policy, or that they should beat their children. They may have different customs and beliefs, but what is striking is the vast extent of common ground between them on the issue of what it is for men and women to live well.
Is he joking? No, apparently not, he apparently means it – he means that ‘the average Muslim dentist’ and the ‘typical English-born plumber’ and, presumably, by extension, everyone else in the world is unlikely to believe that they should beat their children. Really?! There’s a universal consensus that people should not beat their children? The inadvisability of beating one’s children is uncontentious? Who knew!
Or to put it another way, what a ridiculous claim. Of course it’s not – it’s not an uncontentious claim even in the US or UK, and it’s certainly not one in places average migratory Muslim dentists are likely to come from. Especially, I would point out, ever so tactfully, if the children in question have the bad judgment to be daughters.
So what does he mean by his very next words? ‘They may have different customs and beliefs’ – right, such as beliefs about whether or not it’s a good idea to beat children, and customs about beating children. Yet all the same, they have the same basic moral values, which just happen to bear an uncanny resemblance to the basic moral values that Terry Eagleton would like them to have, such as the error of beating children. And even happier and pleasanter and more delightful, there is a vast extent of common ground between them on the issue of what it is for men and women to live well. At least according to Eagleton. I would have said he was wrong about precisely that point, but there you go.