Blogging event

by Henry on October 11, 2005

A reminder that I’m giving a lecture today on blogs and politics, from 6pm-8pm, followed by a reception. The venue is GWU’s Elliott School, Suite 602, 1957 E St. NW, Washington DC. All are welcome.

The Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, the online journal run out of USC Law School which I blogged about back in the spring, has just introduced an updates service — sign up in the left hand corner. It has now published 6 articles, with one more coming in the next few days. Andrei Marmor tells me it has an acceptance rate of 1:11, and gets about 600 downloads per month.

Religion and Politics

by Brian on October 11, 2005

Following up on Chris’s post, I thought I’d note an interesting contrast between how religion and politics mix in my home country and the country I work in.

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Israel and the Arabs

by Chris Bertram on October 11, 2005

It is always dangerous to start a Middle East thread on CT. But I just wanted to react to the first episode of the BBC’s new series “Israel and the Arabs: The Elusive Peace”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/elusive_peace/default.stm , which British viewers saw last night [and some Americans on PBS, it turns out! H/T Nick in comments]. Others will undoubtedly disagree, but I thought nearly everyone depicted in the first episode, which centred on Clinton’s attempt to broker peace, came out of the documentary with credit. Both Barak and Arafat emerged as serious about peace, but as being too limited by their respective constituencies to deliver an agreement: Barak feared electoral defeat, Arafat assassination. The other players, especially Albright and Clinton, came across as the tough, competent and impressive people they are (such a contrast with their successors). And one was left with a sense of how recent all this was, and how distant it now feels (post 9/11).

I said nearly everyone emerged with some credit. There were two exceptions: Chirac and Sharon. Chirac for the way in which he let his absurd vanity interfere with a historic chance for peace, Sharon for his irresponsible and provocative grandstanding at the Temple Mount.

Straw man of the week

by Chris Bertram on October 11, 2005

“Yesterday on Normblog”:http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2005/10/shock_and_mock.html :

bq. Is it just that, for secular liberals and leftists, all those invoking a line to, or about, God in decisions and actions in the public realm, with far-reaching effects on others, are to be seen as laughable, grotesque, or worse? I guess that must be it. But hold on. This seems to apply only sometimes. Like to the US President; or to Republican voters of devoutly Christian outlook; or to fundamentalist Jews in the occupied territories. It seems not to apply so much, or at all, when Islamists appeal to religious sources as a basis for blowing up themselves and, more particularly, others.

Today in the Guardian, “George Monbiot”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1589101,00.html , who must surely exemplify the Guardian-columnist-in-Norman’s-head (if anyone does):

bq. Are religious societies better than secular ones? It should be an easy question for atheists to answer. Most of those now seeking to blow people up – whether with tanks and missiles or rucksacks and passenger planes – do so in the name of God.

Ascription to a whole group, of the sort Geras engages in here, is now a standard move of the “decent left”. I don’t believe it is dishonest, I think they have constructed an image in their own heads of what most “secular liberals and leftists” believe, an image sharpened by their own sense of embattlement and by every BBC or Guardian story that doesn’t exactly resonate with their own views. In this, of course, they increasingly reproduce the paranoid groupthink of the American right about “liberals”.

The Levite of Ephraim

by Chris Bertram on October 11, 2005

Chris Brooke of “the Virtual Stoa has been waiting”:http://users.ox.ac.uk/%7Emagd1368/weblog/2005_10_01_archive.html#112895907444293364 for the “Brick Testament”:http://www.thebricktestament.com/ to get round to its Lego re-enactment of a key Biblical episode for Rousseau scholars, the Levite of Ephraim, a tale of gang rape, murder and dismemberment, and the occasion for one of JJR’s most obscure scribblings. Follow the links from the Stoa.