Nick Cohen has some gently critical things to say about the new fad for calling secularism “militant” and “extreme.”
‘Militant secularist’ has become the ‘neo-con’ of the 2010s: a know-nothing label that signifies extremism, without explaining where the extremism lies. Radio 4 broadcasters prove that their bias is not always squishy liberal by allowing the religious to denounce the supposed militancy of their critics, without allowing the critics to reply. Like the small-c conservative columnists in the broadsheets, they forget to tell you what is ‘militant’ about ‘militant secularism’ because if they did, they would expose their own fatuity.
Or their mendacity, or their rebarbative blend of the two.
If you turn on the news tonight and hear of a bomber slaughtering civilians anywhere from Nigeria to the London Underground, I can reassure you of one point: the bombers will not be readers of Richard Dawkins.
That guy on the scooter in Toulouse? I’m betting he’s not a reader of Richard Dawkins.