All entries by this author

Six Convicted of Inciting Violence and Terror *

Mar 3rd, 2006 | Filed by

HLS employees have been victims of violent attacks and extreme ongoing intimidation.… Read the rest

6 SHAC Members Convicted of Terrorism, Stalking *

Mar 3rd, 2006 | Filed by

SHAC Web site posted home addresses, personal information about animal researchers and others.… Read the rest

Patrick Sookhdeo Notes a Dangerous Precedent *

Mar 3rd, 2006 | Filed by

Says PM’s ignorance of Islam is of a piece with his unsuccessful attempts to conciliate it. … Read the rest

Octavia Butler 1947-2006 *

Mar 3rd, 2006 | Filed by

Her background equipped her spectacularly well to portray life in hostile dystopias.… Read the rest

Sectarian Hijacking of Textbooks Blocked

Mar 3rd, 2006 | By The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate

SAN FRANCISCO: The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH) applauds the
successful mobilization of the South Asian community in response to the
Hindutva [Hindu supremacist] attempts to inject their sectarian
political ideology into California school textbooks.

On Monday, February 27, 2006, people of diverse backgrounds, faiths and
ethnicities testified at a public hearing before a committee of the
California State Board of Education (SBE). The SBE held the hearing to
consider proposed changes to the new history-social science textbooks
for the 6th grade in public schools in California. Eight books, and the
associated teachers’ guides and students’ workbooks, were put forward by
different publishers last year, and released by the SBE for public
review and comment. Several Hindutva groups inserted … Read the rest

Taboo or not Taboo

Mar 2nd, 2006 7:38 pm | By

There was that other demo in Oxford.

Standing at the corner of Mansfield Road, I was proud of the demonstrators who were reminding my university what, at best, it is still about: the pursuit of truth and the defence of reason. Protests against student loans or higher rents – these we expect. But here were students turning out on a chilly Saturday morning to stand up for science.

Yeah – well it’s becoming more and more clear that we all really need to stand up for those – science, the pursuit of truth, the defense of reason. If we don’t they’re going to be eroded more and more, as we’re told to be sensitive and respectful and spiritual and … Read the rest

Rebel Man

Mar 2nd, 2006 6:52 pm | By

Your boy Chuck is funny, isn’t he – I mean really, really, fall down and roll around funny. Like a John Cleese routine. He just cracks me up. I mean you have to admit, there is something hilariously funny about one of the richest and most overprivileged men on the planet thinking (and even talking) of himself as a ‘dissident’. Aw, honey, won’t they listen to you then? Are you all excluded and ignored and not paid attention to? Aw, diddums, that is such a shame. Of course there’s that architect whose career has never been the same – but never mind, never mind, never mind, if you want to call yourself a dissident, you go right ahead. I … Read the rest

Iranian Fury at SWP Meeting *

Mar 2nd, 2006 | Filed by

Claim that Iranian women had more rights after the revolution was too much for Iranians in the room. … Read the rest

Future King Sneers at Rights *

Mar 2nd, 2006 | Filed by

Why should mere subjects have rights? What rubbish.… Read the rest

Garton Ash on the Tyranny of the Group Veto *

Mar 2nd, 2006 | Filed by

If the intimidators succeed, the lesson is: shout loudly, threaten violence, and you will get your way.… Read the rest

Guttenplan Rebukes Cesarani *

Mar 2nd, 2006 | Filed by

‘Reasonable limits on what can be said’ are precisely what decent people can’t agree on.… Read the rest


Mar 2nd, 2006 | By Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Namazie, Manji, Lévy, Nasreen, Ibn Warraq et al.


Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears … Read the rest

More Fish

Mar 1st, 2006 11:21 pm | By

It’s funny about that article of Stanley Fish’s, because I don’t always disagree with him on the subject. I agree with much of what he says in the article ‘There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech’. This for instance -

In saying this, I would not be heard as arguing either for or against regulation and speech codes as a matter of general principle. Instead my argument turns away from general principle to the pragmatic (anti)principle of considering each situation as it emerges. The question of whether or not to regulate will always be a local one, and we cannot rely on abstractions that are either empty of content or filled with the content of some partisan agenda to generate

Read the rest


Mar 1st, 2006 10:22 pm | By

Tooting Station (not Pootergeek – Tooting, Pooter – get it straight, can’t you?) seems to be reading Why Truth Matters. He quotes a passage from it and then quotes Amartya Sen in that article we’ve been reading here. He doesn’t say anything about hating WTM.

A couple of days ago I saw this guy who went to Waterstone’s in Piccadilly to browse because it was raining (I’ve done that! Gone to that same Waterstone’s to get out of the rain – that was one very rainy day) – went there to browse, I say, and he bought one book. Just the one. Discerning fella.… Read the rest

Ahistorical? Moi?

Mar 1st, 2006 8:04 pm | By

I dropped in at Jonathan Derbyshire’s blog just now and realized I must not have done so for awhile, because I hadn’t seen a post from January about something I said. He quotes me disputing in my usual intemperate way the idea that ‘Western liberal democracy owes much to the Christian view that all have equal worth before God’ and then asks, ‘I wonder, has Ophelia ever read Locke?’ No, of course not; I haven’t read anything. Well, I may have read a few words of Locke here and there (on calendars, jam jars, the sides of buses, that kind of thing), but not actually read. Reading makes my head hurt.

So there’s this thing in the Second TreatiseRead the rest


Mar 1st, 2006 7:34 pm | By

Stanley Fish likes to play Confuse a Cat sometimes. So it seems at least.

This is what it means today to put self-censorship “on the agenda”: the particular object of that censorship – be it opinions about a religion, a movie, the furniture in a friend’s house, your wife’s new dress, whatever – is a matter of indifference. What is important is not the content of what is expressed but that it be expressed. What is important is that you let it all hang out.

My wife’s new dress? But I don’t have a wife. Does he think only men read the NY Times? Does he think women are too busy buying new dresses to read it? Strange guy. But … Read the rest

No Communalism

Mar 1st, 2006 6:28 pm | By

So – we were talking about communityism and communalism? Well how appropriate then that today I get an email from someone at Friends of South Asia and the Coalition Against Communalism. Communalism is just the kind of thing I’m against, so I’m pleased to hear from coalitions against it. That’s one of my ‘communities’ – the anti-communalism community, the anti-forced-community community.

The subcommittee of the California State Board of Education mostly listened to sense, although it made (it seems to me) at least one big mistake, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The committee sought to find middle ground in the contested space of ancient history and religion. For instance, it changed some language that referred to

Read the rest

Dennett and Swinburne Debate Religion *

Mar 1st, 2006 | Filed by

Quite funny in places.… Read the rest

Manifesto *

Mar 1st, 2006 | Filed by

Hirsi Ali, Rushdie, Ibn Warraq, Manji, BHL, Namazie, Fourest, others sign manifesto against Islamism.… Read the rest

Changes Reflect Compromise *

Mar 1st, 2006 | Filed by

‘Why should history be written to make us feel better?’ said student Simmy Makhijani.… Read the rest