Conservative Commentary
"the blogger whose youthful effusions have won him bookmarks all over Whitehall ... horribly compelling" - The Guardian
Great Weblogs
The Enemy Within

Most recent posts ...

Monday, December 27, 2004
Introducing HariWatch

Reading Johann Hari's new homepage, complete with readers' comments and much response from him, I was amused to see this warning next to the comments box:

Abusive or libellous messages will be deleted, as will racist, homophobic or otherwise-bigoted comments.

Well, it's his site. But anyone familiar with Hari's writing, or indeed with the narrow minds of people in general who use such language, will know just how enormous is the range of argument he is declaring in advance will be deleted. As Mark Steyn said last week "there's nothing very rational or scientific about refusing to engage with your opponents' arguments and instead dismissing them as mere 'phobias' - homophobia, Islamophobia, Chiracophobia...." But of course it's beyond the modern Left to see things in this way: the whole point of such political correctness is to licence people to close their minds to rational and factual arguments so long as one can claim they are somehow supportive of an '-ism' or a pretend '-phobia'.

"Look: thousands of studies show kids do best with a mum and a dad."

"Majority Islamic societies have never in history been stable liberal democracies - even Turkey remains secular only through constant threat of military coup."

This blinkeredness is why PC goes hand in hand with the silly (and much less influential) postmodernism that Hari likes to excoriate: both seek to ensure ideological considerations take priority over mere "factual correctness".

Anyway, it struck me that this single sentence was revealing of a more general problem for Johann Hari of not really being aware of the other side of the argument. It's not just that he's happy to dismiss un-PC arguments as some sort of phobia, but that his columns generally don't engage enough with the other side. So in the spirit of his own LittlejohnWatch, I decided to start HariWatch here.

Let me be clear before proceeding that I don't have any of the dislike for Johann Hari that he obviously has for Richard Littlejohn. Few can fail to envy him his success in journalism in such a short time (he graduated just three years ago). Whatever one's politics, Hari writes well, and enjoyably.

But there is some sloppiness, and plenty of ideological stumbling, in much of his writing. In posts here, I want to track and correct that.

Great Sites
Tory Party
Reading ...