About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Udo Schuklenk interviewed

Great interview with Udo Schuklenk conducted by Maia Caron.


The UN Human Rights Council, which adopted a resolution decrying religious defamation as an affront to human dignity, is controlled mostly by countries that are among the most prolific violators of civil rights, including the right to speak one’s mind.

The blasphemy document itself is remarkable in its scope and deliberate vagueness. Notorious civil-rights violators like Iran and Saudi Arabia will now be able to claim with some confidence that the UN is on their side when they clamp down on liberal-minded or secular Muslims. Western countries will also be happy to note that the council thinks the human right to free speech is not violated when they enforce their own, less draconian, blasphemy laws. The UN has firmly established itself as a body that is not even prepared to defend the basic principles enshrined in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.


Steve Zara said...
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Steve Zara said...

[reposted after correction]
What an absolute joy Schuklenk's responses are to read. What precision of argument and information.

There is so much that could be commented on, but one point stood out, as it was such an obvious reason to reject arguments for the political acceptance of religious belief, that I feel deeply embarrassed not have thought of it myself:

As an aside, if these people argue that they have not even consciously made the choice to be Muslim (or Christian, or Scientologist or Aquarian for that matter), there is even less reason to take their religious convictions seriously, because they’re not meaningfully their own.