|My response, just posted on the faculty list-serve:|
Let's get away from the juvenile tone set by XXXX (and the other philosopher kings) in his last post. It has a chilling effect on free speech and calls for a consensus in a perhaps cowardly way. (Some philosophers think that truth is established by consensus.) It did sound like he was calling for help to fight me.
He contradicted himself when he criticized my political points while attacking our government's policy and being political himself. He had the temerity to accuse me of purposeful deceit to make a "political" point.
Many posts on this list-serve have been political. Besides, politics is a branch of philosophy and is the business of faculty. Furthermore, the thrust of his arguments sounds something like, "not all Muslims think this way," or "not all intellectuals before WWII thought this way," and misses the point entirely.
I maintain that Muslims, to the extent that they are Muslims, embrace an irrational, supremacist, violent religion featuring jihad, dhimmi status, enforcement of Sharia and Hadith, terrible treatment of women, slavery, and an anti-Western mentality. PC intellectuals try to deny this and conveniently focus on the self-purifying interpretation of jihad, denying history in the process. While it is important to study their culture, it is also important to take steps to protect the west in general and the USA in particular from the real threat of pre-enlightenment Islam armed with modern weapons. The idea that more awareness of Islam will lead to our getting along better does conjure up an image of an unrealistic ivory tower philosopher who is willing to study the rope he is about to be hanged with (sorry Lenin nothing here about the capitalist selling you the rope). He is probably a pacifist one who is willing to fight with anyone but the enemy.
While academia has a generally anti-US and anti-Israel bent, the problem with modern philosophy is much deeper.
Many Western "thinkers" from Ancient Greece to the present mistrusted reason and embraced variants of mysticism, tradition, feelings and the aid of loose analogy that could appear to justify just about anything (Plato's "the good," his fascist state, his world of universals,
). This led them (as it did Augustine) toward reliance on faith and authority to wit early Christianity, Rousseau's enforcement of the general will, the divine right of kings, Nazism and Communism.
Postmodernists such as Michael Foucault, Richard Rorty, Stanley Fish, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Frank Lentricchia, and Andrea Dworkin advocated the most irrational ideas I have ever read, involving vicious attacks on reason, Enlightenment values, the ubiquitous white, male oppressor. Under the influence of the German counter-enlightenment and the slightly earlier mystic philosopher Kant (who is hailed as a champion of reason even after writing, "I have here therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.") These and countless other philosophers such as the flower smelling, 19th century English romanticists abandoned us and, by robbing us of reason, rendered humankind prey to an assortment of incredibly ridiculous assumptions which led to the horrors of the 20th century.
Hegel's denial of the law of non-contradiction and his introduction of the deterministic march of ideas, his insinuating a collective awareness, his equation of being and non-being, coupled with Kant's dutiful ethics devoid of happiness, coupled again with the counter-enlightenment emphasis on blood and collective identity finally did its work. Weimar was a sewer of nauseating ideas floating around courtesy of irrational philosophers (including Marx) and it was just a matter of time before the Nazis were able to do take over.
Thanks Hegel, Schleirmacher, Kierkegaard, Schopenhaur, Nietzche, Heidegger. You betrayed us. Wrote Hegel:
1. "A single person, I need hardly say, is something subordinate, and as such, he must dedicate himself to the ethical whole. Hence if the state claims life, the individual must surrender it."
2. "All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State."
3. "The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth."
4. "The march of God in the world, that is what the state is."
I could go on and on, but you see where this is leading: Heil Hitler!
Let's keep a wary eye on today's intellectuals of the left, of deconstruction, of postmodernism.
Let's be careful when the ivory tower, so out of touch with reality, sells "lofty" ideals often of a self-debasing and pacifistic nature. ("9/11 is our fault
if only we understood Islam
the world is right on disliking the ugly American businessman
we are not nice to Cuba and other totalitarian societies
we don't give enough aid to third world countries
Let's watch PC for its insistence that we genuflect in front of our enemies foreign and domestic that we don't offend anyone by telling the truth or suggesting ideas that some may find offensive. We should let everyone in and give them free services paid for by the poor American tax-payer. We shouldn't screen Muslims coming to America extra carefully. The list goes on ad infinitum.
Let's be wary of the intellectuals who have absolutely nothing good to say about the tremendous amount of wealth in America a never-before-seen market of goods and services. All I hear from them is criticism of corporations, commercialism on Christmas, the greed of the profit motive, the imperialism, racism, and sexism of the west, the refusal to recognize the wisdom of our founding fathers and of enlightenment promoters of reason, individualism, and limited government.
Let's be wary of those who are blind to the strengths of our culture the culture that ended slavery, recognized women as equals, invented and marketed a host of wealth-producing things ranging from electric lighting, cars, planes, etc. , the culture that finally set the individual free from oppressive government. How about a bit of common sense? How about not limiting one's vision of America to the sins of its past and focusing instead on our incredible strengths? Today's intellectuals will forgive Germany, Russia and China for its grave sins while America will be forever guilty!
The price of being an academic is eternal, around-the-clock vigilance, and clear, objective, reasoning that rises above nit-picky, tunnel vision, west-bashers.