All entries by this author

No Exemptions

Aug 18th, 2004 6:14 pm | By

Polly Toynbee has a very good column in the Guardian today (thus incidentally showing that that newspaper is not always the evil spawn of Satan despite what my colleague may say). She says what I’ve been saying for months: that criticism of Islam (or any other religion) is not racism, and should not be called such or talked about as if it were such. She also says that worry about just exactly this equation has caused a lot of people to go all woolly about Islam. Ain’t it the truth.

Fear of offending the religious is gathering ground on all sides. It is getting harder to argue against the hijab and the Koran’s edict that a woman’s place is one

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Julian Baggini on Ethical Consumerism *

Aug 18th, 2004 | Filed by

It’s about doing some good, not about feeling pure and pious.… Read the rest

Polly Toynbee: We Must be Free to Criticise *

Aug 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Criticism of religion is not racism.… Read the rest

Hari Asks Negri Questions, Gets Gnomic Replies *

Aug 18th, 2004 | Filed by

‘a truth is a collective action on the part of persons who campaign together’… Read the rest

Johann Hari Reviews Occidentalism *

Aug 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Woolly types who think victims are always morally pristine will be irritated.… Read the rest

News From ‘No to Sharia in Ontario’ *

Aug 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Demonstration Sept. 18, news articles, press releases, open letters and more.… Read the rest

Pure But Not Yet!

Aug 18th, 2004 | By Thomas R. DeGregori

The opposition to transgenic crops by environmental organizations is beyond rational explanation, since the introduction of transgenic crops has led to significant reductions in pesticide use in the U.S., as well as in other countries such as China in which transgenic crops are grown. Herbicide tolerant crops have allowed for the expansion of conservation tillage, which conserves soil, water, and biodiversity, and saves fuel along with reducing pesticide use (Fernandez-Cornejo and McBride, 2004, 27). In addition to the absolute reduction, the “substitution caused by the use of herbicide-tolerant soybeans results in glyphosate replacing other synthetic herbicides that are at least three times as toxic and that persist in the environment nearly twice as long” (Fernandez- Cornejo and McBride, 2004, 28, … Read the rest

It’s August – Here’s One for a Laugh *

Aug 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Jetlag Guide to Molvania, where the waiters can’t be faulted, as they’re armed.… Read the rest

Johann Hari on Catholofascism *

Aug 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Influence of Opus Dei will mean difference between life and death for thousands of poor people.… Read the rest

Sharia in Ontario *

Aug 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Homa Arjomand points out girls are segregated then forced to marry men twice their age. … Read the rest

Pacifists Praising Fascists Killing Democrats

Aug 17th, 2004 | By Phil Doré

As someone who felt sufficiently opposed to the 2003 invasion of Iraq to join the protest marches and to attend Stop the War Coalition meetings, it is a source of great sadness to me what a shrivelled, irrelevant self-parody the British anti-war movement has become. It seems hard to believe it now, but for a couple of months in early 2003, the Stop the War Coalition seemed to be the vehicle for something huge. Schoolchildren were walking out of their classes in protest; between 750,000 and 2 million people (depending on whose estimates you believe) swarmed through the streets of London on February 15th; ordinary, middle-of the-road people – the kind you don’t normally see on a protest march – … Read the rest

Nice Underdoggy

Aug 16th, 2004 11:00 pm | By

We were talking about distorted thinking and the way ideological (including utopian) commitments can cause it. There is some fresh material on the subject today. This review-article of Edward Said by his friend Christopher Hitchens, for example.

As someone who is Said’s distinct inferior as a litterateur, and who knows nothing of music, and could not share in his experience of being an exiled internationalist, I try not to suspect myself of envy when I say that he was at his very weakest when he embarked on the polemical…Said was extremely emotional and very acutely conscious of unfairness and injustice. No shame in that, I hardly need add. But he felt himself obliged to be the unappointed spokesman and interpreter

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Tom DeGregori onJulia Child’s Democratic Elitism *

Aug 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Child helped make abundance, variety and luxury available for everyone.… Read the rest

Religion Always and Everywhere Exonerated *

Aug 16th, 2004 | Filed by

Ancient religious texts shouldn’t form the basis of social policy now.… Read the rest

Christopher Hitchens Reviews Edward Said *

Aug 16th, 2004 | Filed by

He felt obliged to speak for the unheard, which could tempt him to be propagandistic.… Read the rest

Dreams and Nightmares

Aug 15th, 2004 7:48 pm | By

And now Norm emails to point out an article of his on this very subject. Very apropos, and full of good points. I want to quote and quote…

Notwithstanding any of this, however, it remains true that from the outset socialism was utopian. It was a distant land, another moral universe. It was radically other vis-a-vis the order of things it aspired to replace. And that is what it still is. A society beyond exploitation is in the realm of the ideal.

And the thing is…well, my colleague will doubtless disagree, but I can’t help thinking that those distant lands we imagine, those other moral universes – those thought experiments and counterfactuals and what ifs – are good for us, … Read the rest

Revolutions Can Look Forward or Backward *

Aug 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Ishtiaq Ahmed says contemporary Islamic notions of revolution value a pristine state of the past.… Read the rest

Neuroscience and Free Will *

Aug 15th, 2004 | Filed by

The binding problem of perception has implications for free will and agency.… Read the rest

‘Contemporary Popular Knowledges’ *

Aug 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Gossip as a form of knowledge? Don’t you mean ‘knowledge’?… Read the rest

Czeslaw Milosz 1911-2004 *

Aug 15th, 2004 | Filed by

Poet, essayist and opponent of mental captivity.… Read the rest