The Right Coast

March 27, 2004
Yassin the spiritual
By Tom Smith

I agree with almost everything in this Martin Peretz piece. But when writers put scare quotes around "spiritual leader" in describing persons such as Yassin, they are just showing their naivite about things spiritual. It is entirely possible, even likely, that Yassin was a spiritual leader. Being a spiritual leader does not mean you are good. Not everything spiritual is good. If you believe in things of the spirit, there is a good chance you believe some of those spiritual things are evil. Indeed, evil spiritual things are more evil than just regular old bad things. Spiritual is not a synonym for "introspective," "compassionate," or "appreciative of new age music and low fat spa food." Personally, I think the Yassins of the world would be less scary if they were not spiritual, but as it is, I don't doubt they are.