All entries by this author

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

Read the rest

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,

Read the rest

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

Read the rest

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

US Theocrats Call for Stoning of Non-believers *

Aug 20th, 2006 | Filed by

They’re a minority – for the moment.… Read the rest

Shahid Malik not Impressed by ‘Muslim Leaders’ *

Aug 20th, 2006 | Filed by

MP thinks sharia law and more religious holidays not quite the answer.… Read the rest

Woman’s Murder by Muslim Father Shocks Italy *

Aug 20th, 2006 | Filed by

She refused to return to Gujarat to marry a cousin.… Read the rest

Flowery Shakespeare

Aug 19th, 2006 10:34 pm | By

John Sutherland on Shakespeare stuff. Harold Bloom, for instance. I like early Bloom, but I really hated his Shakespeare book.

…the Falstaffian Harold Bloom with Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (1998). Before the Bard, Bloom argues, we were only semi-human. We didn’t know how to express those feelings that separate us from the brutes (so much for Dante and Chaucer).

Not to mention Homer, Euripides, Seneca, Montaigne, and quite a few other people. But one can go too far in the deflationary direction too.

Stanley Wells is the acknowledged dean of the reviser school….[Shxpr] was a “working man of the theatre” – arguably (but not in every respect) superior to Dekker, Middleton, Jonson et al, and no different

Read the rest


Aug 19th, 2006 10:04 pm | By

This is a rather uninformative piece about yet another Islamic group, this one called Tablighi Jamaat, which is ‘believed by western intelligence agencies to be used as a fertile recruiting ground by extremists.’ It looks as if the reporter, not surprisingly, wasn’t able to find out much. But one thing he did find out he doesn’t really seem to have noticed; at least, he doesn’t comment on it. It jumps right out at me.

Thousands of young Muslim men are attending meetings in east London every week run by a fundamentalist Islamic movement…On Thursday evening, the Guardian witnessed around 3,000 men from as far afield as Great Yarmouth and the Isle of Wight stream through the backstreets of Stratford to

Read the rest

Irshad Manji on Shifting Rationales *

Aug 19th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Do Muslim lives count only when snuffed out by non-Muslims?’… Read the rest

Irshad Manji Reviews ‘The Shia Revival’ *

Aug 19th, 2006 | Filed by

With or without Washington, it appears that Muslims find ways to conspire against one another. … Read the rest

Separating Real Anti-fascists from Pretend Ones *

Aug 19th, 2006 | Filed by

Ben Goldacre notes that Archie Cochrane fought real fascism in the Spanish Civil War.… Read the rest

A Third of a Generation is Creationist *

Aug 19th, 2006 | Filed by

Creationists ignore the evidence against it, and minds closed to the truth are dangerous.… Read the rest

John Sutherland on Arguing Over Shakespeare *

Aug 19th, 2006 | Filed by

Did he invent the human, was he a Catholic, was the Globe liminally subversive?… Read the rest

‘Martyrdom Videos’ Found *

Aug 19th, 2006 | Filed by

Good to know publicity angle was not neglected.… Read the rest

Pharyngula on Scary Stuff *

Aug 18th, 2006 | Filed by

The graph is missing too much information, and it’s been selectively skewed.… Read the rest

Scary Stuff *

Aug 18th, 2006 | Filed by

‘As early as the 1790s, Yale college students were openly disavowing Christ.’ Openly?! Incredible!… Read the rest