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Claire Berlinski on Uncommon Knowledge

October 6, 2010

Peter Robinson, is my favorite public intellectual despite himself modestly calling himself a laymen. He conducts interviews for Hoover Institutions Uncommon Knowledge video series. This is quite possibly one of the most undeniably intellectually stimulating sites on the Internet. On its recent video interview titled, “Thatcher & More with Claire Berlinski” Claire Berlinski discusses her new book and presents a fascinating history of Margret Thatcher prior, during and after.

Berlinski lays out the case that Great Britain prior to Thatcher was in desperate disrepair and the world knew it. The character and person of Thatcher is described as well. There is also a point that really set Thatcher apart through the moral view of essentially capitalism, or what is specifically labeled by Berlinski as “Thatcherism” compared against free-market economics in the economist sense. Margret Thatcher rigorously defended this view by stating the economic application is better, because morally philosophy is centered on the individual! The immorality comes into play when the personal economy of an individual, the actual choices made by individuals in their daily lives is limited and becomes afterthought. There was a strong religious component or background from which this view is diffused, interpreted and ultimately utilized as well.

There is one point in the video around 33 minute mark in which Claire Berlinski essentially states that, as i paraphrase the argument, we should not tell Muslims how to interpret the Qur’anic words such as shari’a and jihad. However coming from my position, we don’t, we let prominent Islamic scholars and traditions formed by prominent Islamic theologians as well as history of prominent Islamic civilizations tell us how to interpret the words such as Shari’a and jihad. What do we do with the history of Muhammad and the clear and concise tradition of Muhammad being a model Muslim, one which is to be mirrored in Surah verse 33, 21?ref1 Muhammad directly participated in warfare to further his religion, if a Muslim does not mirror Muhammad in all ways in his/her life, is that person fully Muslim? How does a Muslim reconcile with the violence expressed by Muhammad to further his religion? These are questions regarding Islam and Islamic history that need to be addressed yet not presented within the interview on Uncommon Knowledge for the Hoover Institution.

I feel it is almost a lazy position by Berlinski because it fails to account for other foundations of which arguments are made. However the clear and concise point about questioning Muslims respect for the superiority of the Constitution of the United States is brilliant and I think a fundamental.

  1. October 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Hey! Awesome blog! I can comment after all. Very perceptive and quality work! I’m a reader!


  2. October 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Thanks. I don’t see why these questions aren’t asked more. In America we can critique religion I though!?

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