Fundamentalist world: the new dark age of dogma

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Icon, 2004 - Religion - 252 pages
3 Reviews
"Fundamentalism is alive and well and will affect every one of us if we don't fight it now, argues Stuart Sim."

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Sim does better at presenting examples of what he characterises as fundamentalism than defining it, or defining what it isn't. 'Fundamentalist World' has chapters on the well worn path of religious fundamentalism, as well as other forms of fundamentalism such as political fundamentalism, market fundamentalism, nationalist fundamentalism, and others.
An interesting observation he makes is that when an ideology is observed to have failed, and the example he offers is Marxist communism, when its apologists claim that the failure is only due to the failure of the people enacting its agenda, that this is part of the fundamentalist mindset. That the ideology in its pure form is without fault, all that is needed is better execution.
In the chapter on nationalist fundamentalism, it seemed to me that Sim was over applying the charge of fundamentalism, and some of his own political convictions were exposed. In discussing Le Pen and the Front National, he characterises the statement 'We believe in the superiority of western civilisation', as a 'barely disguised code for white supremacism'. Sim also lists Pim Fortuyn as a fundamentalist nationalist. There is no section on multicultural fundamentalism (although there is a section on political correctness). There mere act of taking steps to preserve national identity and western values, be it those ultra traditionalist Catholic values espoused by Le Pen, or the libertarian values of Fortuyn, is seen, by Sim, as expressions of fundamentalism.
By the end of the book, the reader is left wondering where Sim stands politically on many of the issues he has raised, and whether he characterises being a fundamentalist with merely holding a position with any conviction, and not being a fundamentalist merely being an observer and commentator. He presents the problem, as he sees it fundamentalism, yet does not offer a clear solution other than to resist it with 'postmodern scepticism'. He doesn't seem to make the connection between this postmodernism taking away our confidence in our western civilisation, to being led down a multicultural path to more fundamentalism of the Islamic religious variety which accepts no compromise.

Review: Fundamentalist World: The New Dark Age of Dogma

User Review  - Goodreads

Almost interesting in places, but ultimately the key word is "almost". The book is well-organized, but the writing is extremely stiff, and the content pretty pedestrian - there's not much in this book ... Read full review


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