Celebrity activism is one of the worst phenomena particular to the modern age by just about any reasonable measure.
Never before in history has there been an entire class of people who feel either entitled or duty-bound to speak out on just about every social issue, no matter how much their voice drowns out real activists with real experience of oppression.
We’ve seen this recently with Emma Watson’s address to the UN, wherein she presumed to speak on behalf of all women, and declared the problem of feminism was it being unwelcoming towards men – the very reason that feminism is necessary in the first place.
But, despite the many failures of celebrity activism: good job, Ben Affleck.
His recent spat with liberal loons Bill Maher and Sam Harris was beautiful to behold, and was a stellar example of when is the right time to talk about issues that aren’t yours.
Ben Affleck wasn’t there presuming to use his platform to talk over other people about their oppression.
But, equally, when Maher and Harris went on their racist tirade, he didn’t sit idly by and refuse to call them out, and they certainly needed someone to take them to task.
Maher and Harris come from a militant school of atheist thought whose contributions to any discussion on religion are about as valuable as a literary critic’s feelings on the proper manner in which to fix the tracking on a ’99 Toyota Yaris.
They misunderstand religion as being fundamentally different to any other ideology. For example, they claimed that it’s more dogmatic than non-theistic belief, despite the fact that people generally are often far more stubborn and unthinking about their politics than people of faith are about their religious beliefs.
Most people of faith go through the same changes in the nature of their belief and their relationship with their deities as anyone else goes through changes in their moral and political philosophies, largely because religions themselves are, obviously, moral and political philosophies with a variety of interpretations.
They also accuse religious belief of having an irrational basis, despite the fact that moral philosophy has yet to develop any rational basis for any kind of ethical belief, this being one of the central problems of moral philosophy, a problem which would end all debates about morality if it was solved.
Given we’re still debating about morality, we should conclude Maher and Harris are full of hot air.
However, they reserve a very specific level of ire for Islam, because Muslims, particularly Muslims from certain parts of the world where brown skin is the norm, are the designated enemy of western civilisation in the post-Soviet age.
Never mind, as Affleck pointed out, that we’ve killed many more Muslims than Muslims have killed westerners.
Never mind that Muslims are not a monolith, but a diverse group from a variety of different cultural backgrounds, constituting around a quarter of the world’s population, from Bosnia to Indonesia.
Never mind that Muslims are unfairly forced to apologise and suffer for the actions of genocidal cults like the Islamic State who pervert their most treasured principles.
Never mind that so-called “Muslim problems” like female genital mutilation, oppressive rape laws and terrorism are not unique to Islam.
Never mind, for example, that the USA considers domestic libertarian groups affiliated with the sovereign citizens’ movements, consisting primarily of middle-class white Americans, to be its biggest terrorist threat by a country mile.
And never mind that Muslims are the victims of more on-going genocides than any other group in the world, from Myanmar to Palestine.
But sure, Islam is the problem.
By Dean Buckley