A while back I posted a brief endorsement of a Guy Rundle piece, which brought forth a reference to another essay by Rundle. I disagree – sometimes to the point of strong irritation with some of the things he says, especially in the last half of the piece, but I recommend it to all comers nevertheless. What Rundle has to say is very interesting, as are the three books his review essay is about.
Here’s a nice passage:
Gray’s extended and devastating assault on the latest and possibly last stage of political religion in the current cycle: the virtual quadripartite symmetry of al-Qa’da’s “Islamo-Jacobinism”, American Christian fundamentalism, the transmogrified Trotskyism of neo-conservatism, and the smooth and lethal market evangelising of neo-liberalism.
They meet in the 9/11 years, in “my god is bigger than your god”; in 23-year-old interns running the Baghdad stock exchange; in Mark Steyn’s belief that Iraq would look like the American midwest in the space of 18 months; in the serial foolishness of Francis Fukuyama, a Saturday morning cartoon Hegel; in the immense suffering caused by the doctrinaire imposition of the Washington consensus; even in, especially in, the neo-atheists, such as Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, whose idea of a post-religious humanity is so shot through with monotheistic categories that it becomes a carrier of all the conceptions it seeks to oppose.
A nice mixture of on the money hits and unreasonable assertions – but I guess readers would disagree about what fits in what category. The essay is fun to read in any event. And I’m afraid I couldn’t work out what this sentence meant.
To suggest that it would never be possible to separate religious from transformational processes and that Gray’s work might be a part of that process is, in the last analysis, an argument from precedent.
But it’s well worth a read.