All entries by this author

Pulling Liberal Rabbits out of Cosmopolitan Hats

Jan 15th, 2006 12:07 am | By

John Gray is often irritating, but this review in The Nation of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s Cosmopolitanism is not too bad. It also hooks up with some things we’ve been talking about lately in the discussions on comprehensive liberalism v political liberalism.

In Appiah’s view cosmopolitanism has two intertwined strands: the idea that we have obligations to other human beings above and beyond those to whom we are related by ties of family, kinship or formal citizenship; and an attitude that values others not just as specimens of universal humanity but as having lives whose meaning is bound up with particular practices and beliefs that are often different from our own.

Hmm. One has to wonder exactly what that means (so … Read the rest

How the Taung Baby Was Killed *

Jan 14th, 2006 | Filed by

It was an eagle. Hominids had to look up as well as around.… Read the rest

Interview With Paul Berman *

Jan 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Decision to resist is no help in analyzing politically who are the true oppressors.… Read the rest

Michael Wallerstein Dies *

Jan 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Known for his work on the redistribution of wealth and inequality in advanced democracies. … Read the rest

John Gray Reviews Kwame Anthony Appiah *

Jan 14th, 2006 | Filed by

‘A welcome attempt to resurrect an older tradition of moral and political reflection.’… Read the rest

Hecklers Cry ‘Torture Lite’ at Michael Ignatieff *

Jan 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Canadians dislike his endorsement of interrogation techniques such as sleep deprivation.… Read the rest

The Rapture of Waiting for the Mahdi *

Jan 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Is Ahmadinejad motivated by expectation of the final battle between good and evil?… Read the rest

Police Not to Blame for Hajj Stampede *

Jan 14th, 2006 | Filed by

Trying to stop massive crowds could have caused more deaths.… Read the rest

Theory’s Empire

Jan 14th, 2006 | By Daphne Patai and Will H. Corral

Our anthology, Theory’s Empire, appears at a moment when not only have theoretical discussions of literature become stagnant but articles and books are published in defense of the conceptual stalemates that have led to this very immobility. In the early years of the new millennium, theorists are busily writing about the impasse in which theory finds itself, discoursing on the alternatives as portentously as they once wrote about the death of the novel and of the author. But there is one revealing difference between the predictably cyclical revisions of theoretical notions before structuralism and those present developments that can today be referred to simply as Theory, emblazoned with a capital T: the proponents of the latter tend to avoid … Read the rest

Lucretius Knew

Jan 14th, 2006 4:15 am | By

‘Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum,’ Lucretius remarked* (that’s one of my few Latin tags. I failed Latin one year. You didn’t fail things in my school, it wasn’t done, but I managed it. I was quite good at failing things when I was fifteen) about what Agamemnon did to his daughter at the behest of a god (he killed her, that’s what, just to get a wind for sailing to Troy). What evil religion can persuade us to. He was right, old Lukers.

There’s this hajj business for instance. Brilliant. Make it a pillar of your religion that if you can make the trip to Mecca, you have to, once in your life. Keep that rule in place when … Read the rest

Johann Hari in Praise of Richard Dawkins *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

Only as you watch the film do you realise how rare it is to hear arguments against organised superstition.… Read the rest

Eyebrows Raised at Public Order Act *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

And investigation of Sacranie for merely stating an opinion.… Read the rest

Pastor Arrested Over ‘Child Witchcraft’ Cruelty *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

Allegedly advised parents to beat devil out of them or send them to DRC so that he could pray for them to be killed.… Read the rest

Oxford Police Horse Homophobia Case Dropped *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

Student said to officer, ‘Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?’ Bystanders were offended.… Read the rest

Maori Community and Fire Brigade Community *

Jan 13th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Memorandum will help the Maori community and the fire brigade understand each other’s cultures.’… Read the rest

Another Guardian Angel

Jan 13th, 2006 2:06 am | By

Now you knew I would have to pitch a fit about this. So here, have a fit.

Western liberal democracy owes much to the Christian view that all have equal worth before God, which in our political system reads as democracy and equality before the law; and those ideals have often been applied because of religious faith, not in spite of it.

No it doesn’t. Or at least no one knows if it does or not. That’s just that confusion of correlation with causation again. The ‘Christian’ (and not exclusively Christian, and not thoroughly Christian either, given how many exceptions Xianity always managed to find to its supposed ‘view’ over the years) view that all have equal worth before … Read the rest


Jan 12th, 2006 7:48 pm | By

I listened to the replay of Iqbal Sacranie’s interview on PM yesterday, and it was just as silly and irritating as I expected. He so obviously had nothing relevant to say, he so obviously was simply expressing unthinking dislike, he so obviously was just floundering around looking for rationalizations, it was so obvious how empty they were. Er, they’re harmful, uh, stability, um, society, er, stable, you know, ooh, ah, um – they get diseases! That’s it. They get diseases – that’s scientific, that is. So you see what I mean. It’s obvious. But, er, we have to put up with it, because this is a democracy. But I sure don’t want to! And of course you can see why. … Read the rest

Rochdale Council Sued Over ‘Satanic Abuse’ Case *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Social services thought they had uncovered a group of ritual devil worshippers.… Read the rest

Sacranie Under Investigation *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Perhaps he said something in the hearing of someone who might be distressed thereby.… Read the rest

Yet More Guardian Mush About ‘Faith’ *

Jan 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Familiar, woolly, starry-eyed.… Read the rest