There’s been a lot of reviews of Paul Berman recently, but none as funny as this one by Flying Rodent:
[Paul Berman's arguments in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece] makes no sense at all, unless you realise that Berman is clearly a devotee of some form of ultra-belligerent Bokononism – Kurt Vonnegut’s fictional religion, which held that the path to true happiness lay in the conscious adoption pleasing but blatantly untrue beliefs, or Foma.
Seeing the response to the thread below on Saudi Arabia’s ‘religious reforms‘, makes me wonder if we will see movements analogous to Ultramontanism and Tractarianism amongst Muslims which may also change the relationship between formal and institutional Islam and the state.
(Yes, I am guilty here of imposing one history onto another, but I am just speculating.)
Ali Eteraz writes about the ‘sharia-for-peace’ deal with the Taliban in Pakistan, and why the furore is misplaced: the roots for this problem are much more deeply embedded in its law and constitution:
Until Pakistan is recognized not as a secular state with an extremist problem but as an Islamic state overburdened with political ambitions couched in religious terms, change is not going to come. Pakistan’s 1973 constitution has to be criticized. It is not unreasonable for Islam to be the country’s official religion, but making it the state religion in a truly heterogeneous and heterodox religious milieu was a mistake.
The decision was made under duress by a Machiavellian politician who did not care very much for religion, which was why he was so happy to exploit it—not to mention that in the guise of Islam he smuggled in anti-democratic institutions from the dictatorship that preceded him. The subsequent empowerment of Islamist groups; the religious tyranny of Zia ul Haq; and the rise of Talibanization, legal balkanization, and militancy calling itself Islamic are all clear proof that 1973 led Pakistan down a dark and dangerous path.
While discussing the criticism from Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Brown asks whether society can be built without myths.
Not even liberalism can be sustained without myth, as noted by Margaret Canovan. That is because ‘secularism’ is really just another era with its own irrationalities, contradictions, myths and dogmas.
I have always thought libertarianism was a bit of a childish political philosophy. Or perhaps that’s just my impression of internet-libertarians…
Liberal nationalism: an oxymoron?