On blasphemy laws
A reasonable test of a nation’s commitment to liberal democracy is the existence or otherwise of a blasphemy law on its statutes.
A reasonable test of an individual or organisation’s commitment to liberal democracy is their willingness to bring a blasphemy suit against another individual or organisation.
I think the validity of Foucault’s work depends to a great degree upon how you approach it. Foucauldian theory as science? Category mistake. Foucauldian theory as a way–but certainly not the only way–of storytelling/interpreting history and culture? Far more valuable.
What assumptions do I have about Plato? Not being very knowledgeable about him, just this one: his concept of Forms constitutes maybe the greatest blind alley in the history of Western philosophy, and has been an absolute boon to magical/dogmatic thinking for millennia.
(UPDATE) On the mall shooting
I blame secularism. Not for any good reason, mind you–I just wanted to get in ahead of the conservapundits. (Or have I already been beaten to the punch?)
The Simpsons and Philosophy