Tag Archives: the Enlightenment

The Florida Quran Burning Incident and the Clash of Fundamentalisms

The mixing of fundamentalist religion and right-wing politics is where we’re at today in America; it’s our cultural Zeitgeist. And this 30-year-old documentary foreshadowed it all. Hosted by Burt Lancaster and produced by the liberal group, People for the American Way, it’s … Continue reading

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What’s an undergraduate education for?

I like the way Tim Lee, a CATO Institute scholar, thinks about undergraduate education: [T]he primary function of an undergraduate education is to allow the student to join a scholarly community, and in the process to soak up the values and attitudes … Continue reading

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Vintage Christopher Hitchens from 1989

Christopher Hitchens in high form, speaking out on behalf of Salmon Rushdie in 1989:

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China’s Quiet Brain Drain (Contrasted with America’s Mind Wells)

Do you live in a brain drain society (like China) or a mind gathering—or mind well—society (like the United States)? The Atlantic’s James Fallows has been living in China for many years, and recently made this astute observation: Because 95 percent of the world’s population … Continue reading

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The Apotheosis of Abraham Lincoln into the Arms of George Washington, Accompanied by Angels and Light Breaking Through Clouds

I love this. It was drawn by an anonymous artist in the 1860s and is now housed as part of the collection at the George Eastman House:

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Abu Dhabi and Qatar Meet Frank Gehry and I.M. Pei: This Too Is Islamic Civilization?

A AAA+++ for effort. According to the New York Times today, the royal leadership of two tiny Muslim countries, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, seeing down the road a time when they’ll need to gather brains into their cisterns rather than oil, are turning … Continue reading

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Eight Things Jonathan Elliot Learned from Having a Meal with a Muslim

On the theory that maybe we should strike up conversations with our Muslim neighbors and not matches for burning their Qurans, Jonathan Elliot in New Zealand found a Muslim to have lunch with this past month, and recounts how he did … Continue reading

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Muslims in England Burn the U.S. Constitution

The below video represents Herderian politics in action: underground men, as if stepping out of the shadows of a Dostoevsky or Conrad novel, possessed of a collectivist ideology that has made them mad, eat bitterness together. It is a protest in Britain initiated by … Continue reading

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Saudi Woman Links to International Have a Meal with a Muslim Day (Sept 17, 2010)

At her Twitter feed, the brave Saudi feminist, Eman Al Nafjan, who blogs at SaudiWoman, linked to International Have a Meal with a Muslim Day, which I take as an endorsement. And I’ve also been informed that an imam in Baltimore … Continue reading

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The Ground Zero Church

In response to Feisal Abdul Rauf’s proposed mosque near ground zero, a Christian by the name of Bill Keller is fund-raising for an eight million dollar “9-11 Christian Center” to be built near ground zero.  Want to donate to the building of Bill Keller’s 9/11 Christian Center? You … Continue reading

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The Human Bones Discovered at Masada: An Example of Religion Hindering Science

At the academic web magazine, Bible and Interpretation, anthropologist Joe Zias complains about ultra-orthodox Jews hindering archaeology and anthropology: For several decades self-appointed groups of the ultra-orthodox have been waging an all out cultural war against the archaeological community in general and … Continue reading

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The Ground Zero Mosque: Are We a Judeo-Christian Country or a Jeffersonian Country?

Muhammad Al-Zekri, a Muslim who is also a Bahraini anthropologist, gets it. He thinks that the ground zero mosque debate is good for America. This today in the New York Times: ‘What’s happening in America is very healthy,’ said Muhammad Al-Zekri, a … Continue reading

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Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin Have No Jeffersonian Clothes: Ron Paul Favors the Building of the Ground Zero Mosque and Castigates Its Opponents

The so-called ground zero mosque is generating a rift between Jeffersonian libertarian conservatives and those who identify with the Herderite Tea Partiers. The latest evidence of this split can be found in a statement released by the libertarian congressman, Ron Paul, who wrote … Continue reading

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Keith Olbermann on Ground Zero Mosque Hysteria

Keith Olbermann deconstructs the bigotry, lies, and demagoguery surrounding the so-called ground zero mosque:

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Three Casualties of the Ground Zero Mosque: The Enlightenment, the American Constitution, and the Bill of Rights?

It has hit me forcefully this past weekend that the United States is facing a challenge to the very character of its existence: will we continue to be an Enlightenment-based Jeffersonian nation committed to treating people as individuals with universal reason and … Continue reading

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American Herderite Watch: Tim Pawlenty Believes American Muslims Bear Collective Guilt for 9-11

Rather than treating people as Lockean individuals, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, attempting to score points with the Herderite Tea Party base of the Republican Party, treats American Muslims as collectively responsible for 9-11. This from the August 9, 2010 … Continue reading

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An Articulate and Sustained Smack Down of Fox News Talking Points on Gay Marriage

Here’s human rights attorney Ted Olson deflecting Chris Wallace’s bigoted anti-gay marriage talking points, one by one. Beautiful.

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The Tea Party Movement: America’s Herderites (or Herderians)

One of the books I’ve been reading this summer is Zeev Sternhell’s The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition  (Yale 2010), and this morning the opening paragraph of chapter 6 (pg. 274) really jumped out at me: The antirationalist form of modernity, as we have … Continue reading

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On Gay Adoption, the GOP’s Karen Handel is an Irrationalist

GOP candidate for Georgia governor, Karen Handel, in a recent interview for local Georgia television, offers no reasons for opposing gay adoption. She just does: Q: So you think gay couples are less qualified to function as parents than straight couples? A: I … Continue reading

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Do You Support a Burqa Ban in France?

About 2000 Muslim women in France wear the full body burqa, and the French Parliament is slated to vote on its ban Tuesday. The idea of a burqa ban is popular in France (in polls, about 80% of French citizens tend to … Continue reading

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