The following is an open letter to Justine Greening, the current British Secretary of State for Education, on the urgent matter of faith schools.
Recently, perhaps due to Facebook’s overtly partial organisational algorithm, or perhaps due to the well-intentioned yet misguided efforts of those in my ‘friends’ list of a far left-wing or theocratic inclination, I have found myself continually stumbling across a particularly grotesque yet entirely unsurprising attempt by the obnoxiously prolific BBC Three to normalise that most egregious of crimes against the sound moral conscience: the monotonisation and deindividualisation of the female of the species.
I’m not responsible for penning these words. This isn’t to say that somebody else is typing, or that I am being dictated to; no, these are words of my own, in an order I myself have composed, written with my sole intent. Nevertheless, I am not responsible for penning these words.
Today, April 13th, would have perhaps marked Christopher Hitchens sixty-eighth birthday, had he not developed such a partiality for whiskey and cigarettes as he did in his younger years.
However woefully transient his life was, I am reminded of the quote oft-attributed to Banksy: “They say you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time.” I feel it will be a considerable while before Hitch’s second passing.
To mark the occasion, I decided to compile a short list of some of my favourite of his quotes, and after realising that almost anything he ever said or wrote could fit such a bill, I settled on no particular order.
If you know anything about me, then you probably know that I’m not too fond of the idea of dogma, and I’m even less of a fan of bringing up children in any environment which parades it as a virtue. I don’t think I’m particularly alone in my view—in fact I’d wager that most people, upon being compelled to, would gladly denounce dogma and condemn those who are guilty of dispersing it. However, I’m also of the belief that a large number of these people completely misunderstand what it means to be dogmatic, and so are at risk of coming across as entirely hypocritical.
As anybody who specialises in the field will be enthusiastic to tell you, the study of the physical sciences is not exactly an undertaking which is graced with unexacting accessibility. Interesting and attracting as it may seem to the likes of me, a self-identified ‘science enthusiast’, I don’t doubt for a moment that I would be briskly floored by the overwhelming difficulty and arduousness of pursuing an academic career in the subject if I ever attempted to do so.
I was saddened to hear about the violence in D.C. this weekend, with over 100 people arrested and substantial damage to property. If a march is to succeed, it should be nonviolent, as was the case with the civil rights and Vietnam marches in the Sixties (yes, I know there was some violence). If the Left is to keep the moral high ground, we simply can’t go around physically attacking those whose views we don’t like. In fact it’s ironic, because when progressives do this, they’re implicitly denying someone a REAL safe space: a space to be free to express your opinions and remain physically safe. “Safety” refers to freedom from physical attack or illegal harassment, not to freedom from hearing views you don’t like.
As a conscientious objector, I’ve always adhered to the nonviolent philosophies of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, for if you start violence, you lose credibility.
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