The View from 22 podcast
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has extended its hold from eastern Syria into western and northern Iraq, massacring Shi’ites, Christians and Yazidis wherever it can. But can we afford to let Isis run wild, asks Max Boot in this week’s Spectator. Peter Hitchens, a columnist for the Mail on Sunday, discusses this on our podcast, and argues that we have made the most tremendous mess in Iraq, and it’s high time we realised this. The Spectator’s Douglas Murray suggests that we need to be more strategic about how we approach Isis, but we can’t just ignore the threat they pose.
Has Richard Dawkins created a cult? The Guardian’s Andrew Brown thinks so. Dawkins’ website offers followers the chance to join the ‘Reason Circle’, which, like Dante’s Hell, is arranged in concentric circles. For $85 a month, you get discounts on his merchandise; for $100,000 a year, you can have lunch with Dawkins himself. Doesn’t this all sound a lot like a religious cult? No, says Daniel Trilling, editor of the New Humanist magazine; these religious comparisons are all too easy.
And finally, do the middle class really have anything to complain about? Middle England is screaming about lost entitlements – but quietly doing rather well, suggests Leo McKinstry in this week’s Spectator. The Catholic Herald’s Ed West thinks the moaning middle have reason to moan, but Ryan Bourne, head of public policy at the IEA, doesn’t quite buy it.