07 October 2014

Islam as a "motherlode" of "bad ideas"... racism?

I listened rather carefully to Chris Hayes defending Ben Affleck referring to Bill Maher and Sam Harris as "racist" and "gross" in saying that "Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas." I think it's important to make the distinction, which Harris and Maher were doing, between INSTUTIONAL Islam, which has tenets and doctrines, and the personal views and political positions of Muslims and those prevailing in Muslim countries. Criticizing the tenets and doctrines of a religion is not racism, and it's not gross. It's legitimate discourse. And that is all Maher and Harris were doing. Truculent and categorical their opinions may have been, but they were legitimate opinions which do not deserve condemnation as somehow beyond the pale of permissible expression, which is what Affleck, and to a lesser extent Chris Hayes, were advocating. Change things around a little bit. If they were to say, "The Roman Catholic Church is the motherlode of bad ideas," would anyone even bat an eyelash? Disagree, maybe, even be offended, but this is not racism and it's not "gross." You are not guaranteed to go through life without having your opinions trashed or your sensibilities offended.



  1. "Criticizing the tenets and doctrines of a religion" ? Religion ? Is Islam not the union of political, legal and religious ideologies ? In other words, the forging of state, law and religion together. You could as easily ask if its racist to say the nation state of Iran, or the court system of Saudi Arabia is the "motherlode of bad ideas". Certainly, neither is a racist question.

  2. Since religion is, basically, managed by lunatics, the forging of state, law and religion together is a recipe for disaster. That's not to say that politicians are of sound mind but, if they stood up and said that "this is God's will and that is God's will and therefore it will become law", the chances are they would be sectioned and put on a diet that included large measures of largactil.


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