Thursday, September 30, 2004

Secularism


From Gene, at Harry's Place : 'Marc Cooper, a thoughtful antiwar leftist, has some comments about Johann Hari's interview of Christopher Hitchens.'

johann's Late thoughts on the Hitchens interview

 (a) against the extreme and undemocratic neo-liberalism imposed on much of the world’s poor by the IMF and World Bank; there is no freedom in a sweat-shop [must come back to that later]

- The fight to end the spiritual tyranny of ‘religion’, better labeled organized superstition, and to ensure its replacement with Enlightenment values

and Hiiiiitchens     In enemy territory? An interview with Christopher Hitchens (the free link)

another intelligent commentary by Norman Geras  -

Hitchens is still with you on that one (the fight to end the spiritual tyranny of ‘religion’) : secularism is his big thing. That's presumably why he thinks 'the war against Islamic Fascism trumps all other issues'.

I was struck by  this , which I give in very brief extracts (remember too, this is after a victorious and justified war, as another review put it) :

Our Hidden Lives, by Simon Garfield, excerpts from five diaries kept in the 1940s in response to an appeal from Mass-Observation.....

Reviewing the book in the Times, John Carey ...

Herbert thinks that all German POWs under 25 should be sent to a lethal chamber, to ensure the future peace of the world. Edie takes the view that "every Jap should be killed. Horrid little yellow beasts". B Charles, ever the individualist, puts forward the alternative suggestion that "it would be a good thing if the whole of France could be swallowed up in an earthquake, along with the entire population". All the diarists are more or less anti-semitic,
...his comment about general anti-semitism reminds me of my childhood in the early '70s. Anti-semitism was just dying out then, but you still heard comments of that type from time to time. It was dying of old age, as the option was closed to post-war children for obvious reasons. My generation had moved on, chiefly to bias against newer types of immigrant.
...
Atrocity doesn't breed atrocity: atrocity gives room for those looking for an excuse for atrocity.
Good point. I would just add this : there is always a lot of hatred in the world, never much love. Belief systems - Christianity, Islam - that, in their unperverted forms, put the latter at their hearts, are not to be treated as enemies, even by those of us who do not have any particular belief in the supernatural.

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