Saturday, 20 November 2010


Hi Folks
I've not had much time for the old blog recently, due to being away from the internet. But a quick roundup.

New Blog

Regular commenter and friend of this site, John, now has his own blog and very good it appears to be as well. It focuses on economics and cooperatives and is very well researched and full of interesting references.

Animal Rights, Logical Wrongs

You'd normally think that someone who brags about eating at Macdonalds would be someone highly unlikely to take animal welfare seriously. Or for that matter to think that anyone would respect their views on that topic.

But you would be unfamiliar with Johann Hari, who as per usual suffers no doubts that he has both the moral high ground and an unquestioning audience who will gulp down his every word.

I think sadly he is correct on the second one. As it is, I'm against Kosher and Halal slaughtering, and don't need the words of someone who stuffs their face with battery farmed chicken to bring me to this conclusion. But when you are sure of your own rightness as Hari is, the suffering of people is as beside the point as the suffering of animals:

'You can cry that we are "persecuting" you if we stop you committing acts of cruelty if you want.

It's what the religious – Christian, Jew and Muslim alike – did when we stopped you tormenting women and gays and anybody else you could get your hands on. One of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is that the howls you will hear are from the Men of God.'

Really? So glad to hear that Soviet Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia achieved such pinnacles of human kindness. And of course Iraq is no doubt becoming more kind now that Christians are getting massacred, courtesy of an invasion Hari supported. Still, this will be beside the point for the hysterical New Atheists who share so much in common with the American fundamentalists who can turn their eyes from the misdeeds of their televangelist heroes to revel in self-righteousness.

Been so Long

Neo-conservatism has the unlikely advantage that it makes so many gross errors that audiences struggle to keep track of them. Everyone knows Iraq was a disaster, but, uhm, that place in Europe they invaded over a decade ago, guess that must have been a righteous war since we hear so little about it, right? Wrong.


  1. Well, welcome back to teh internets Gregor. I've been to lazy/frustrated to blog, got lots of stuff on my plate at the mo.

    Anyway, I'm off to Russia early next year, just teaching English, but it will give me a chance to improve my language skills.

    Got to go through a hell of a process to get my visa though :(

  2. Hi Charles
    Great news about Russia; visiting other countries is always exhilarating and I think working there would be even more interesting. Visas are difficult in both countries; I have a Mingrelian friend who lives in Moscow and despite having two degrees was told to leave after graduating. I'd like to visit him sometime, but have so much to do at the moment.

  3. Hi Gregor,

    Great to hear from you! I hope all is well. Thank you for writing about my new blog, may I add you to my blogroll?

    On the topic of Johann Hari and animal rights, it is really interesting how the New Atheists refuse to talk much about the religious traditions and figures that strongly defend animals. This kind of issue framing is more about demonization than honest debate.

    Also, good point about communism. The New Atheists usually try to deflect that argument by saying that communism was simply a kind of secular religion, but I am not buying it at all. For one, Marxism is an explicitly secular school of social analysis, not much different from liberalism in that sense. Marxism was taken seriously for a long time by many secular thinkers, but because of the collapse of the communist states and the revelations about their brutality, it is now dropped in the “reactionary religion” category. But I am sure Marx, Engels, Trotsky, Lenin, and others would have been surprised to find their ideas characterized as religion.

    Ultimately, the New Atheists use the term “religion” to describe anything they find bad, just like some people use the word “fascism” to tar any opinion they don’t like.

  4. Welcome back Gregor.

    I haven't been on the internet myself lately (became a father last Friday) but I did have time to take a look at John's blog and am now keen to learn more about Distributism.

    As for the religious and animal rights, it is one of my favourite factoids that the earliest recorded animal protection legislation was the work of early British monk St. Cuthbert, who banned the hunting of Eider ducks on the Farne Islands.

    @Charles: Good luck with the teaching.

  5. @John
    Thanks for your comment, please do add me to your blogrole.

    As for the New Atheists and Marxism, I think it's just the case that they want to be self-righteous about something and have someone to hate. They know that they have an audience which will swallow anything.

    Congratulations! I'm really pleased for you.