Johann Hari

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Johann Hari
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And a dirty dozen more

Johann Hari is a British journalist associated with The Independent. He is known for his social democratic and atheistic viewpoints, and as a disgraced plagiarist.

Heavily critical of religion, Hari is defensive of his position when accused of bigotry. "Islamophobia Watch – and the dense chunk of the hard-left that adopts a similar approach – is trying to redefine consistent atheism as a form of racism," he said in response to a blog post calling him an Islamophobe. "I believe that the idea of God has been a disaster for humanity, and any person who bases their morality on the writings of hallucinating pre-modern nomads is going to have pretty warped values."[1]

He is critical of multiculturalism. "Sharia courts highlight in their purest form the problem with multiculturalism. It has become a feel-good doctrine mindlessly celebrating 'difference,' without looking at what that difference actually means," he writes. "Yet many people feel instinctively uncomfortable when we talk about ditching multiculturalism — for a good reason. The only alternative they are aware of is the old whiter-than-white monoculturalism. This view, voiced most clearly by Enoch Powell and Norman Tebbit, believes that if people are going to live together, they need to look and feel similar, and have a tightly prescribed shared identity." He concludes that "There is a better way for the state to understand and regulate human differences... It is called liberalism. A liberal society allows an individual to do whatever he or she wants, provided it doesn't harm other people. You can choose to wear PVC hotpants or a veil. You can choose to spend all day praying, or all day mocking people who pray. Where a multiculturalist prizes the rights of religious groups, a liberal favours the rights of the individual."[2]

Of course, he ends up making a strawman out of multiculturalism, thinking that it prizes the rights of religious groups and ignores the fact that multiculturalism is related to the mixing of multiple cultures, and is not limited to religion or even needs to include it in the first place.

In July 2011, he was suspended for plagiarism – specifically when interviewing people by including unattributed quotes from other publications' interviews with the same subjects. He has admitted to this practice and attempted to justify it.[3][4] At around the same time he became suspected of using a sockpuppet to attack his critics on Wikipedia.[5]

But, in 2015, Hari (arguably) made up for past sins by writing and meticulously researching a new book, Chasing the Scream, in which he outlined the problems with the War on Drugs and argued that addicts should be treated with sympathy and compassion (as opposed to being used as fishbait). The book also has over 60 pages of notes while recordings of all the interviews are available on the book's website, in case you might think you've seen something elsewhere.[6]