THE PLEASURES OF PLURALISM, THE PAIN OF OFFENCE

Free speech and how multiculturalism actually undermined pluralism rather than promoted.

Pandaemonium

jm-offence

I gave two talks this weekend. One was on ‘Turning diversity on its head’ at the sixth anniversary celebration of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB),  the other on’Offence and censorship’ at an Artangel ‘Party for Freedom’.  The two talks overlapped, so here I have stitched them together into a single post. The cartoons are from the wonderful Jesus and Mo.


Almost twenty years ago, in 1994, the Independent newspaper asked me to write an essay on Tom Paine, the eighteenth-century English revolutionary. It was the 200th anniversary of his masterpiece, The Age of Reason, a book of which Paine said that it was a ‘march through Christianity with an axe’. ‘All national institutions of churches’, wrote Paine, ‘whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to be no more than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolise power and profit.’

Few authors have…

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