Bill Maher's Lessons in Intolerance

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Bergen recently wrote an article called The Taliban Tightrope- An Argument for Intolerance, where he wrote, "I believe we can reject regressive forms of religion, for example, without becoming bigots or rejecting religion entirely. We might call such a thing inspired intolerance: intolerance born from an authentic wish to realize the full potential of human capacities and powers in this evolving universe. It would take courage, but could offer a healthy balance to the hard-won relativistic tendencies of postmodernity".

This call for an 'inspired intolerance' reminded me of a couple of potent New Rules segments by Bill Maher I'd seen. A recent Rolling Stone Magazine article on Maher called him "The Last Flamethrower", saying "Maher savors the hardass ugly-American voice that conservatives used to hog for themselves...At this point he's Don Rickles times Thomas Paine". In the first segment he attacks Muslim fundamentalists after the creators of the show Southpark were threatened for humor featuring the prophet Muhammad. I might not always agree with everything Maher says, but I admire his courage, and I think the part of the segment where he talks about "non-negotiables" is brilliant and important. I think he's a little soft on the potential danger of Christian fundamentalists in America, and could do with a reading of Chris Hedges' book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America; nevertheless, it's a powerful post-relativistic expression of the rejection of backward and outmoded forms of human conduct and belief.




In this second New Rules segment, from just a couple of weeks ago, Maher slams the hypocrisy of Christians who cheered at the murder of Osama Bin Laden. (Christian section begins at 2:39).


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