Comment Is Free's other function seems to be providing a valuable lesson in why journalists need editors. There have been any number of inane or muddle-headed posts and quite a few of that old standy by, the "Blogs are lame, or so I thought" posts.
Yesterday Madeleine Bunting wrote possibly the most stupid thing I've seen in the Guardian since I stopped reading AL Kennedy. She asks "what has the Enlightenment ever given us?"
I need some help. I've been getting increasingly disturbed at the way in which the Enlightenment gets invoked by the self styled 'hard liberals' as if it amounts to their tablets of stone. Something didn't seem to be adding up to me when they waxed lyrical about the Enlightenment legacy of rationality, secularism, belief in progress, the rule of law and the basis of all we know and love in western democracy and individual human rights.
Ah yes, let me re-state that "Apart from rationality, secularism, belief in progress, the rule of law and the basis of all we know and love in western democracy and individual human rights what has the Enlightenment ever given us?"
Apparently, going on about all this rationality stuff is actually a "hard liberal's" way of belittling the less rational. That is, some Muslims want to know why liberals keep on going on about freedom from tyranny and can't they see this upsets us?
The most hilarious bit is where, after saying "some of those rationalists were quite religious, anyway", she asks:
why do people think an understanding of rationality which is over 200 years old is useful now?
No, really! She's got her shiny new ignorance whereas these stuffy "hard liberals" are relying on something thats over 200 years old! It's, like, so out of date, ya know?
Anyway, the good thing about Comment is Free is that other journalists can feel free to roll their eyes and then rip their colleague a new one. In this case Andrew Anthony brings it on:
Bunting requests a justification of rationality, yet how is it possible to make an argument for reason other than through reason, the very thing that she suggest is out of date? It's as if she has said, I don't understand or recognise English, but could you explain why I should, and could you do it in English. What's the point of making a case for making a case if you're making it to someone who doesn't accept that making any case is valid? Or any more valid than religious edict?
Good fun, indeed.