All entries by this author

Bush’s Strange Press Conference *

Aug 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

The key reality that Bush fails to grasp is that terrorism and democracy are not opposites.… Read the rest

Why is America so Weird? *

Aug 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

Scott McLemee discusses American weirdness aka exceptionalism with historian Eric Rauchway.… Read the rest

Jesus and Mo Do Religion With Irony *

Aug 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

The barmaid helps them.… Read the rest

Roger Scruton: Beware Irony-free Religion *

Aug 23rd, 2006 | Filed by

It is from a posture of irony that every real negotiation, offer of peace, acceptance of the other, begins.… Read the rest


Aug 22nd, 2006 5:13 pm | By

I’m a little perturbed and repelled by this idea (expressed in comments on Difficult Daughters) that the murder of a girl is ‘worse’ than the murder of a woman. Actually, I think I’m more than a little perturbed and repelled by it. And no one but me has even taken issue with it yet, so perhaps that indicates it’s conventional wisdom, even a truism. But I think it’s all wrong, and not only wrong but sinister. I’m perturbed not only by the specifics of the ranking but by the idea that ranking of murder is a valid and sensible way of thinking about it. But why would it be? Why should it be? Why don’t we all have an … Read the rest

Civil Liberties Aren’t Eternal Verities *

Aug 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

Social critics say our culture tends to mistake ephemeral modern phenomena for eternal truths.… Read the rest

What’s Behind ‘Muslim Anger’? *

Aug 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

Mark Sageman points to small group dynamics as a key trigger.… Read the rest

Religious ‘Worship’ Should Remain Mandatory *

Aug 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

Catholic Education Service says sixth formers should not be allowed to opt out.… Read the rest

Catholic Church Backs ‘Faith Crime’ Investigation *

Aug 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

‘Another sign that Christianphobia has become fashionable and acceptable.’… Read the rest

Sunday School Teacher Fired for Being a Woman *

Aug 22nd, 2006 | Filed by

She’d taught there for 54 years, but Paul said women had to shut up, so that’s that.… Read the rest

You Can’t Say That

Aug 22nd, 2006 12:00 am | By

Uh oh.

A criminal investigation has been started by Scotland Yard into an advertisement from the Gay Police Association (GPA) that blamed religion for a 74 per cent increase in homophobic crime…Detective Chief Inspector Gerry Campbell, who leads the domestic violence and hate crime unit, disclosed the investigation in a letter to Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP. He wrote: “The original advertisement has been recorded as a religiously aggravated hate crime incident following a crime allegation by a member of the public.”

The original advertisement is a hate crime (incident). That’s interesting. Where I come from it’s things like murders and assaults that are hate crimes, not just ads. But that’s okay, maybe I come from a silly place. … Read the rest

‘Religiously Aggravated Hate Crime’ Investigated *

Aug 21st, 2006 | Filed by

So be careful what you say. Better yet, don’t say anything.… Read the rest

Emotions Influence Moral Reasoning *

Aug 21st, 2006 | Filed by

The hope is that by better understanding how we think, we can teach ourselves to think better.… Read the rest

Michael Walzer on Regime Change and Just War *

Aug 21st, 2006 | Filed by

NGOs, such as HRW or AI, also aim, in their own way, at regime change.… Read the rest

Harold Meyerson Reviews Peter Beinart *

Aug 21st, 2006 | Filed by

Since 1968, it has almost always been time to reinvent the liberal project. … Read the rest

Liberal Internationalism

Aug 21st, 2006 1:38 am | By

Catching up with le blog Bérubé again, and found something relevant to thoughts about universalism and human rights and pluralism and discussion.

We have not yet devised the political means to realize this utopian vision, and perhaps we never will: utopia, to date, is a place we know only by way of speculative fiction. But over the years, as we’ve developed family/clan relations, city-states, empires, kingdoms, caliphates, constitutional monarchies, theocracies, military dictatorships, communist autocracies and liberal democracies, we’ve come to learn that liberal democracies stand the best chance of realizing some approximation of that ideal, and – just as importantly – the best chance of changing their collective minds, so to speak, about how to approximate the ideal as they

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How to Resolve the Paradox

Aug 21st, 2006 1:03 am | By

Norm said something interesting today.

A framework for public life based on accepting that there is no single ‘road to salvation’, or – put otherwise – no single overriding moral truth, or that there is no way to be completely certain about whatever moral truth there may be, would seem to be the only alternative to permanent warfare between people of different belief systems (and that applies, of course, not only to religious belief systems). Call this framework ‘pluralist liberalism’. Is it not itself premissed, then, upon principles for which universal validity is claimed by its adherents? Some would say no, but I’ve never seen a persuasive argument for that. Liberalism makes a claim of its own to moral truth,

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Difficult Daughters

Aug 20th, 2006 7:28 pm | By

Another pesky disobedient unsubmissive daughter eliminated.

In the garden, buried under a metre of soil and with her jeans and blouse soaked in blood, was the body of the missing girl. Her throat had been slit.

(Why is the Independent calling her a girl? She was twenty-one. Do men of that age get called boys? No. So why is the Indy calling Hina Saleem a girl? Especially in this context? Some strange unconscious desire to trivialize her or make it seem that she really belonged to her father in some way? Or just dumb as a post habitual belief that women really are childish?)

At the beginning of July, she was said to have refused her father’s insistent demand

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Nick Cohen on Educational Abundance *

Aug 20th, 2006 | Filed by

Plenty of media-literate drama queens, not enough engineers, mathematicians and linguists.… Read the rest

Mary Warnock: Not Everyone Can Win a Nobel *

Aug 20th, 2006 | Filed by

How can universities be world class without being elitist?… Read the rest