“When it comes to world affairs, most contemporary British authors suffer from a bad case of group thinking these days. Less predictable is Martin Amis, who spurns the warm-slippered conventions of the U.K. literati. His independent streak is again on display in ‘The Second Plane’,’ a new collection of essays, reviews and short stories, most of them about terrorism.
“One oddity about our age of terror is how enthusiastically godless European leftists have rallied to the defense of Islam. Amis is more consistent. Though he has turned from atheism to agnosticism, his distrust of religion remains unabated. Since it’s now impermissible to disparage individual faiths, he writes, let us disparage all of them.
“Amis does reserve a special derision for Islamism, saying its adherents view indiscriminate killing as ‘a divine delight’. Islam may not be bent on murder, but Islamism is, he says. That makes him an Islamismophobe, not an Islamophobe – if the word phobia even applies. A phobia is an irrational fear, he points out, and ‘it is not irrational to fear something that says it wants to kill you’.”