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).

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Third most popular post of 2010

This will be the last post in this series, and I'm not so much seeking to revive old battles (though obviously that may happen). I'm mainly interested to reflect on which of last year's posts received, by my relatively humble standards, very large numbers of hits. In all cases, it was as a result of being picked up or linked to by other sites; however, some posts that were picked up or referred to elsewhere attracted more interest than others.

Number three, i.e., the third most popular, was entitled: "The next step is to prohibit religious expression" - really? I'm still quite proud of this post because I think it deals with a very important point: the way so many of the religious can't conceive of societies in which they are free to express their religious views, and even proselytise for them, in public, but in which governments will not be swayed by religious teachings when making policy. To these people, advocacy of secularism - of a separation of the state from religious influences - is heard as advocacy of suppression of public religious speech and expression. It's as if they just have a mental blank about the possibility they might be accorded freedom of speech, but that they and others will also be accorded freedom from state imposition of religious teachings.

This is a situation that's worth a lot more pondering by secular-minded people, including people who are, themselves, religious but don't expect their controversial religion-based opinions to be imposed on others by the coercive power of the state.

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