What follows are another series of letters I have written to the ‘Herald-Sun’ and ‘The Age’during the December 2016 to January 2017 period. None were published. But I hope it sparks some thought and some debate amongst readers here at Left Focus.
Topics include 'Cultural Marxism' , Labor Policy, Pensions, Green Energy and who pays?, Islam and Education, Female Genital Mutilation, What to do about Poverty?, and 'Bolt and Panahi need to Work Out Which Side they are On on Civil Liberties.....
Responding to Kevin Donnelly on Islam and Education
Kevin Donnelly (Herald Sun, 2/1/17) criticises Islam as ‘inherently violent’ while defending ‘the Western tradition’ against its apparent detractors on ‘the Left’. Some things need to be stated in response to this. Firstly, it is partly a matter of convenience. The ‘West’ supported the Mujahedeen (Islamic fundamentalists) against the Soviets during the Cold War, despite what this meant for women in Afghanistan. Further, Islam is diverse – and potentially open to reform – perhaps like Christianity and Judaism have been. (partly because of the historic intersection of Christianity with liberalism) In some places ‘a (liberal) Islamic reformation’ may actually be a good thing. (further reform of the Roman Catholic Church would also be good) But in the meantime we should not promote notions of ‘cultural superiority’ to justify interventions which are really geo-political in nature. Also when we defend ‘the Western tradition’ and ‘the Enlightenment’ we should be clear what that means. It means supporting free and critical enquiry. The consequence of this also must be that education is not only for ‘fundamentals’ of numeracy and literacy. There is a crucial place for the Humanities and Social Sciences – in combination with a progressive civics agenda – which promotes political literacy and active citizenship. Authoritarian responses to protest and civil disobedience are counter to the freedoms we celebrate which originated with the Enlightenment – and the liberal and democratic revolutions that followed.