The Enlightenment is where it's at right now, judging from a number of interesting posts in my neighbourhood of the blogosphere (here's Flesh, here's Paulie, here's LFF, here's Ben), mainly kicked off by Matthew Taylor of the RSA on "a 21st century Englightenment".
For me, a key element of a 21st century Enlightenment would be the cosmopolitan attitude Kant once associated with the English: an ethic of hospitality and conviviality. In the last decade, anti-immigrant politics has become common sense across the political spectrum in the UK. This excellent piece by Max Dunbar (who blogs here) looks at globalisation, localism and immigration. Also on the immigration question, Ben Gidley on Brick Lane and assimilation.
Max's post closely relates to the issues Flesh discusses in this post on communitarianism and liberalism, riffing on Jon Cruddas (and giving us a glimpse behind the Prospect paywall). If you are interested in that or in the Brick Lane post, you will also be interested in this post at on Tower Hamlets Labour Party, communalism and racism.
Sort of related to that is a post by Matt of Ignoblus, one of the most thoughtful and intelligent bloggers on my blogroll, entitled "On populism", on direct and representative democracy, with an excursus on Zionism.
And that in turn relates (as does the 21st century Englightenment) to the 4th of July. Martin plays some great music, while Arguing the World has some timely partial readings.
Another topic circulating in my corner of the 'sphere is "gay imperialism". Again, Max is an excellent guide to this topic, as is Kellie, who takes on not just "gay imperialism" but "gender imperialism" too.
Another of my obsessions: Hugo Chavez. I strongly recommend this post on him by James Bloodworth. Meanwhile, Judeosphere on Chavez's antisemitic "news" site.
Just a couple more notes on the English Defence League. First, this is a very coherent anarchist piece on the EDL, by Durruti02, on "Who are the EDL, what motivates them and why are we unable to connect with the very people they are attracting – the disenfranchised working class." I also re-read more carefully Contemporary Anarchist on the EDL, and want to recommend it more fully than I did before. It is not, as I suggested before, a conspirationist follow the money piece tieing the EDL to the "neoconservatives". Rather, the argument is about the ideological seeding of certain themes from the American new right in the soil of the European far right. This comment (hyperlinks added) by "Luther Blisset" at Engage captures the argument:
I think Tony Archer’s papers (RUSI) [pdf] on the counterjhad movements attempts to woo Europe’s far-right are pertinent to this discussion. He uses the policy and attitude change in the Vlaams bloc – from antisemitism to Islamophobia – as an example, and its interesting here to note that Vlaams are part of the Counter Jihad Europa project.
Counter Jihad Europa recently held their conference and two delegates from EDL attended (unsure as to whom). Counter Jihad Europa network provides the ideological well from which the far-right can drink.
This transformation from antisemitism to Islamophobia is alarming – see Salzberger’s 2007 opinion piece ‘With friends like these’- and it’s been reassuring to see the CST and BoD vociferously reject their siren call.
As to the claims that EDL joined ZF that day – it is clear they did not join ZF en masse, however the EDL PR (American international student Matthew Kaplan) photographed himself within the ZF area, whilst someone involved with both the Counter Jihad Europa project and the semi-ficitious* EDL (Jewish Division), who is active in ideologising EDL members on their forum took photographs from within the ZF area. We know a small number of US Kahanist JTF are actively working within the EDL forums and on the semi-fictitious EDL (Jewish Division) facebook group and we believe it is one of the JTF who are in control of that group and that they also own the blog ‘Juniper in the Desert’. ‘Juniper in the Desert’ may be another of Matthew Kaplan’s nom-de-plumes, but we are only sure of the link between the persona who controls the facebook group and the blog ‘Juniper in the Desert’, not whom the real identity of that person may be.
*we love this label ‘semi-fictitious’ from Bob and use it at every opportunity!Meanwhile, I have been having a discussion with Tony Greenstein on the EDL but also about a dozen other topics which you might or might not care to follow; I've more or less run out of steam, while the Harry's Place thread was dominated by EDLers. Far better to read Viz.
Also: George Readings on homegrown terrorism, Nathalie Rothschild on Israel's plans to boycott the boycotters, Contentious Centrist on the news we don't hear about.
Finally, if you didn't already follow the Sphere's recommendation, read this at The Onion about Noam Chomsky relaxing. LOL, as the young folks say.