In its essence the article calls into question the basis and acitivities of both Prevent and Quilliam Foundation, somewhat justifiably at least in the former case. But it also makes some errors of its own, which bring to light the underlying reasons for Islamic extremism – a clash of value systems.
When I was a child, the word ‘retard’ was used by some kids as a term of mild, somewhat humorous abuse of other kids, and by society at large to refer to people with intellectual disabilities. It’s not a useful word for the latter (if it were, we’d use it in clinical medicine), and no sensible person today would use it for that purpose, unless of course they were a ….
Let’s get one thing straight. ‘Islamophobia’ as used in the media now is a nonsense term. Phobias are unreasoned fears about things, e.g. some people have them about spiders. Islamophobia, if it means anything it means: an irrational fear of Islam. That’s quite defensible given some of the many things the term ‘Islam’ can represent today. And yet it is used instead as a surrogate for the cry of ‘Racist!’ by ignorant cultural relativists and other unconscious post-modernists.
[edit Nov 01] Originally I avoided following the obvious line of argument that fear of Islam is for many quite rational, rather than irrational, making the word ‘Islamophobia’ doubly meaningless. However, I think that the hideousness of Islamic state’s atrocities (which are simply a public version of the same thing historically conducted in more carefully controlled places) explains ‘fear’ of all kinds to be found at any point on the continuum from the rational (reasoned, informed) to the irrational (emotional).
Anyone who follows the debate on fundamentalist Islamic terrorism will be familiar with Sam Harris and Reza Aslan. They usually come across as intellectually diametrically opposed, but are both clearly humanists and deep thinkers. The fact that two such intelligent students of world affairs, belief systems and geopolitics cannot find a common reference point from which to have more substantive debate is informative.
The UK election looms. A not-wholly inane (as may have been expected) 7-way leaders debate took place last week (here on YouTube), featuring leaders of the Conservatives, Lib-dems, Labour, Scottish National Party (SNP), UKIP, Plaid Cymru (Wales), and the Greens.
I joined the UK Green Party recently. There’s a lot to fix with its internal organisation, media presentation and other peripheral aspects. There are bits of policy that need serious work. But the core thinking on the ecological, economic and social levels is broadly good and coherent.
First the harp, since I have a small clip of a wonderful musician called Diego Laverde Rojas from Columbia, who was playing in Old St Tube station last night.
Like me many of you I often just walk past buskers, even good ones, following my imagined prioritisation of things (or just being late to a meeting). But… what could be more important than standing listening to a virtuoso player in the underground on a cold night, conjuring up traditional dances of South America on the least likely instrument? Thanks Diego, you made my night, and I am sure you will make many others happy. [Of course I asked him if I could upload the video of him. He’s a lovely guy to talk to. I was so stunned by his playing I completely forget to give him a few more coins. Londoners, please help me make up for that!]
Here, there are many causes, but it’s the outcome that is notable today: the public no longer believes in politicians. At all. They’ve lost confidence utterly in all the main parties. Here I’ll skim through the many causes I detect merely by tracking the media, and ponder if anything can be done.
This post is about how hardline militancy about potentially good ideas (eating less meat, open source software, reducing alcohol consumption) cruels rational debate, and often has the opposite effect in the real world of that intended. Militants are essentially ideologues and fascists and need to be called out for it.
Firstly, to any vegans or vegetarians reading this: I like all both of these things. In moderation:) Now read on…