Sunday, 26 June 2011

On the Pope, Joseph de Maistre

"How blind is not prejudice, even in the most penetrating minds!"

Originally written in 1816-17, On the Pope (Du Pape) was the masterpiece of Count Joseph de Maistre, an extreme right-wing intellectual and an implacable opponent of the French revolution, liberalism, Protestantism, democracy and modern civilisation.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Milestones, Sayyid Qutb

This, if you'll excuse the metaphor, is the Bible of political Islam.  Originally published in 1964 as Ma'alim fi al-Tariq, it is the enduring legacy to the world of Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), an Egyptian educationalist and a bitter enemy of the Nasser government, western democracy, secularism and female sexuality (not necessarily in that order).  The late Osama bin Laden is said to have been influenced by him and apparently attended lectures given by his brother during his student days in Jeddah.

Monday, 13 June 2011

The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins

The editorial line of this blog is unsympathetic to Dawkinsian atheism (as it is to religious fundamentalism), but it has to be said that this is far from being a bad book.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The New British Constitution, Vernon Bogdanor

Cross-posted at my constitutional law blog The Cake of Custom

Vernon Bogdanor likes to say that, as a scholar of the British constitution, he makes his living out of something that doesn't exist.  Such a comment could not be made by his counterparts in Ireland, France, Germany or the United States.  The central question of this book is how far it still holds good for the UK.  In the light of the constitutional reforms of recent years and decades, how far does the old unwritten British constitution still survive?  What are its prospects for the future?