All entries by this author

A Much Bigger Charles in Many Ways *

Nov 20th, 2004 | Filed by

Ministers put the boot in, cheer each other on, regarding Prince’s memo.… Read the rest

What Else Would a Hereditary Monarch Think? *

Nov 20th, 2004 | Filed by

Charles has no abilities and he works 1.5 days a week. So what’s his point?… Read the rest

Charles Has Good Old Hissy Fit *

Nov 20th, 2004 | Filed by

Naughty ‘learning culture’ tells people they can become more competent heads of state…… Read the rest

‘Socialist’ Blames van Gogh for his own Murder *

Nov 20th, 2004 | Filed by

‘…the perpetrators feel there is no viable alternative in this racist climate.’… Read the rest

What is wrong with everybody nowadays? *

Nov 20th, 2004 | Filed by

What makes people with no natural abilities think they should be kings?… Read the rest

Review of True to Life: Why Truth Matters *

Nov 20th, 2004 | Filed by

To care about truth is to be vigilant about belief.… Read the rest

Entrenching Tools

Nov 19th, 2004 7:18 pm | By

An example, of the kind of thing I was talking about yesterday and a few days before that – of this matter of the complexity and arbitrariness of political categories, and of the idea that sometimes it’s just not particularly helpful or interesting to attach labels of liberal or conservative, left or right, to any and every idea that comes along. The example is from an interview with Barack Obama in the October Progressive – unfortunately not online. The interviewer, Barbara Ransby, said, ‘You also said something to the effect that you are open to ideas from both the right and the left. Now, you know this kind of talk makes progressives a little nervous. Can you elaborate on what … Read the rest

Where Are Those Pesky Relativists, Anyway? *

Nov 19th, 2004 | Filed by

Are criticisms of postmodernism just anti-intellectualism on the rampage?… Read the rest

Denis Dutton Reviews Joseph Carroll *

Nov 19th, 2004 | Filed by

On literary Darwinism, the lust for stories, cognitive modules, pleasure.… Read the rest

85 Lashes for Breaking Ramadan Fast *

Nov 19th, 2004 | Filed by

14 year old boy whipped to death in Sanandadj, Iran.… Read the rest

Evangelicals Have Learned to Play Victim *

Nov 19th, 2004 | Filed by

When you make public arguments, you have to ground them in reason and evidence.… Read the rest


Nov 18th, 2004 10:52 pm | By

Now (she said, throat-clearingly), that comment of Amartya Sen’s is relevant (in my mind at least) to the discussion in Politics and Morality, below. Mark Bauerlein emailed me in a cordial way to point out that there was a survey reported in the Chronicle some months ago which asked professors in all fields about their political allegiance. “Those who considered themselves Left or Center Left outnumbered those Right or Center Right by almost 3 to 1.” So, as I said in an update to that post, that at least partly answers my question about Business schools and the like, and it’s interesting in itself.

But even with that question partly answered, the more I think about this whole subject – … Read the rest

Not the Only Category

Nov 18th, 2004 8:09 pm | By

Amartya Sen makes an excellent point, one I’ve seen him make often before (but it needs to be made over and over again, because it goes against a very strong stream of current opinion and it doesn’t make much headway), in this article in the New York Review of Books.

The richness and variety of early intellectual relations between China and India have long been obscured. This neglect is now reinforced by the contemporary tendency to classify the world’s population into distinct “civilizations” defined largely by religion (for example Samuel Huntington’s partitioning of the world into such categories as “Western civilization,” “Islamic civilization,” and “Hindu civilization”). There is, as a result, a widespread inclination to understand people mainly through

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Intellectual Links Between India and China *

Nov 18th, 2004 | Filed by

Religion is not the only way to understand people, Amartya Sen notes.… Read the rest

Blame Canada – No, Wait, Blame Kant *

Nov 18th, 2004 | Filed by

David Blunkett blames Kant for scepticism about compulsory national identity card. … Read the rest

Not the first time

Nov 18th, 2004 | By Maryam Namazie and Azar Majedi

Maryam Namazie: Theo van Gogh, a film director and journalist, was assassinated in broad daylight in Amsterdam on November 2. He was repeatedly stabbed and his throat slit. They say his assassin has “radical Islamic fundamentalist convictions”. There is a debate on whether this is the act of an individual or the political Islamic movement. Why have you said it is political Islam?

Azar Majedi: This is not the first time we’ve seen that someone who has criticised Islam has been murdered. Political Islam has been massacring, torturing, executing and beheading people for the exact same thing in the Middle East, in Iran under the Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan, the Sudan, and so on. Even when they are not … Read the rest

One Star

Nov 17th, 2004 10:29 pm | By

Oh, what fun. We have an unfavourable review of the dictionary at Amazon – a very unfavourable review. Really doesn’t like it at all, this reader doesn’t. Thinks it’s bad and awful. Well what’s so fun about that! you ask. Well if you look at the review you’ll see. Or don’t bother, I’ll just quote heavily, because I don’t suppose Amazon reviews are exactly copyrighted, are they, and anyway the reviewer is semi-anonymous.

Another trite and innocently framed attack on those intellectuals who are trying to decenter the–and here is a phrase they make fun of–dominant hegemonic discourse, that is so corrosive and debiliating to our civilization. The authors of this book hark back to a mythical Baconian age of

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Jane Kramer on French Hijab Law and Islamism *

Nov 17th, 2004 | Filed by

‘But in France, with all its freedoms, so many young women seem to be capitulating to Islamist pressure.’… Read the rest

Religous Conservativism Not Just a US Thing *

Nov 17th, 2004 | Filed by

Aim is to protect ‘faith-based’ value system against encroaching secularism of west. … Read the rest

Vardy Academies and Creationism *

Nov 17th, 2004 | Filed by

‘As to the whole evolution proposition that we have evolved from slime, I just find it impossible to accept.’… Read the rest