All entries by this author

Roger Scruton *

Aug 19th, 2005 | Filed by

Not an apologia but a reminder.… Read the rest

Fareed Zakaria *

Aug 19th, 2005 | Filed by

Interviews non-Yanks on tv show, giving US needed dose of cosmopolitanism.… Read the rest

Surplus to Requirements

Aug 19th, 2005 2:18 am | By

Norm makes a good point, one that I’ve been vaguely wanting to make for awhile. He’s commenting on Michael Howard’s piece in the Guardian yesterday. Howard:

What do I mean by being proud to be British? At its core is a profound respect for, and allegiance to, the institutions that make Britain what it is, and the values that underpin those institutions.


The point I want to make is simply that it’s not because the values Howard mentions are British values that we owe them allegiance, but because they’re good ones – democratic, liberal, universally defensible. They are superior to those values which, for example, countenance the treatment of some people as inferior to others, or the silencing

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From the Ridiculous to the More Ridiculous *

Aug 18th, 2005 | Filed by

Australian witch sues under religious hatred law.… Read the rest

Pope Seeks Promise of Immunity *

Aug 18th, 2005 | Filed by

Texas lawsuit accuses him of conspiring to cover up molestation of three boys by seminarian.… Read the rest

Should Philosophers Review Philosophy? *

Aug 18th, 2005 | Filed by

And historians history, novelists novels? Or should they swap?… Read the rest

Let’s Not Share *

Aug 18th, 2005 | Filed by

Going to a poetry workshop when you hate workshops, groups, groupthink…… Read the rest

What a Racket

Aug 18th, 2005 2:24 am | By

Some more on this stipulation problem. On why ‘this pleases Allah’ and ‘this angers Allah’ are not the best criteria for what should go in a constitution – any more than ‘what would Jesus do’ is the best question for a 21st century polititian to ask himself.

Because it all depends on one’s conception of Allah or Jesus, for one thing. And guess what – people (my, what a suprise) have a tendency to conceptualize Jesus and Allah according to their own existing wants and opinions and deficits. If they don’t score all that well on the altruism or fairness or humility scale, well, their god is going to have a tendency to arrange things so that they get what … Read the rest

One Tiny Stipulation

Aug 17th, 2005 11:15 pm | By

So ‘Iraqis back women’s rights’ – with a stipulation. A stipulation that renders the whole idea pretty much worthless.

A survey conducted by Iraq’s constitution drafting committee showed that 69 per cent of respondents support full rights for women – as long as the freedoms don’t contradict Islam…

The survey I think is not all that reliable because of the methodology, but never mind, because what I want to look at, and poke with a stick, is the basic idea: that women’s rights are okay as long as they [why does the article shift without notice from rights to freedoms? they’re not interchangeable] don’t contradict Islam.

That’s a problem. That’s a big problem. Imagine if you were told – ‘Yes … Read the rest

Elephants to Return to Wyoming? *

Aug 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Who knew they’d left?… Read the rest

Different Version of Menezes Shooting Leaked *

Aug 17th, 2005 | Filed by

No padded jacket, no vaulting the barrier, no fleeing the police.… Read the rest

Wal-Mart and ‘Family Values’ *

Aug 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Women can be president, Jon Stewart, no; O’Reilly, Left Behind, Protocols of Elders of Zion, yes.… Read the rest

Scott McLemee on Political Theory Daily Review *

Aug 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Volume of material logged each day suggests it is run by a collective of gnomes.… Read the rest

Slavoj Zizek Says Give Iranian Nukes a Chance *

Aug 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Is not the ‘war on terror’ proof that ‘terror’ is the antagonistic Other of democracy?… Read the rest

The Fury of Creationists Scorned *

Aug 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Re-fighting the Scopes trial eighty years later.… Read the rest

12% of Iraqis Approve Female Equality *

Aug 17th, 2005 | Filed by

69% say women’s rights okay unless they contradict Islam.… Read the rest

Houzan Mahmoud on Women in Iraq *

Aug 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Women in Iraq are being pushed into a corner and the constitution is likely to keep them trapped there.… Read the rest

Controversy Over US Drug Adverts *

Aug 17th, 2005 | Filed by

Over-selling the benefits and under-selling the risks.… Read the rest

Defiantly Obscure Texts

Aug 16th, 2005 11:39 pm | By

Look, if you’re going to talk about bullshit, you should at least be thorough about it, am I right?

In a paper published a few years ago, “Deeper Into Bullshit,” G. A. Cohen, a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, protested that Frankfurt excludes an entire category of bullshit: the kind that appears in academic works. If the bullshit of ordinary life arises from indifference to truth, Cohen says, the bullshit of the academy arises from indifference to meaning. It may be perfectly sincere, but it is nevertheless nonsensical. Cohen, a specialist in Marxism, complains of having been grossly victimized by this kind of bullshit as a young man back in the nineteen-sixties, when he did a lot of reading

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Evangelical Scientists on ‘Intelligent Falling’ *

Aug 16th, 2005 | Filed by

Scientists from Center For Faith-Based Reasoning say long-held ‘theory of gravity’ is flawed.… Read the rest