Exit the Humanists, Stage Left

The intent of this post is not to to adopt a position for or against any of the issues mentioned in it – be it same-sex marriage, euthanasia or abortion – but to point out that humanism, even secular humanism, does not, ipso facto, dictate a particular position on any of them. Yet many secular humanists seem to assume, indeed openly argue, the opposite. This does a disservice both to the public sphere, and to humanism itself, leading as it does, some secular humanists to adopt deeply anti-humanist attitudes. Do read on ...

Gettin’ Punchy With the Pontiff

My latest for Whale Oil blog The Public Sphere and the Private Domain in the Free Speech Wars This post for Whale Oil blog was originally intended to be a much longer article for my A Devil's Curmudgeon, but I necessarily edited it down for brevity. Mostly I cut some material from the second part, …

Continue reading Gettin’ Punchy With the Pontiff

Making Rods For Their Own Backs

My latest for Whale Oil blog Purveyors of narrow-minded identity politics fail to grasp the strength of truly liberal democracies, which is that their laws and institutions are crafted for the benefit and protection of everybody. Groups who, when in power, shape political weapons to bully and harass their opponents into submission are invariably dismayed …

Continue reading Making Rods For Their Own Backs

The journalistic sin that festers in open sight

The idea that "Everyone I don't like is Hitler" is a common social media meme, but there's a more insidious instance of this thinking that is promulgated by the supposedly "curated" media - the almost reflexive habit of labelling anyone who deviates from the received centre-left wisdom as "far-right", which is as much to say, …

Continue reading The journalistic sin that festers in open sight

So You Want The Freedom To Be A Racist

A common counter-attack from the left against free speech arguments is that, "you just want the freedom to say racist things". This argument always annoyed the hell out of me, because I sensed intuitively that it was missing some vital point. Then it occurred to me that "freedom to" implied a fundamental problem in how the …

Continue reading So You Want The Freedom To Be A Racist