|My apologies, but I must disagree with, or at least seriously qualify, the manner in which Horowitz as portrayed here continuously categorizes the entire Left in this manner.|
When I was a used book dealer, I read a great deal of the Nation, which I could pick up free at the local library, and while most writers were very critical of American foreign policy towards the Middle East, at least half of those who wrote on the subject did not hesitate to criticize the repressiveness in most Islamic societies. (BTW, I think American foreign policy is a colossal stupidity myself, but another time)
I'm currently reading a book titled Sacred Pleasure by a feminist in good standing with the serious feminist left. I have mixed reactions to the work's thesis, which contrast a 'dominator' and 'partnership' model of sexuality, which does rightly criticize patriarchal conceptions of sex but posits a universalist and humanistic but touchy-feely and reifies sexuality as a pre-patriarchal ideal to return to. But when it discusses various cultures, it is *anything* but unwilling to bring rational criticism to various cultures, and Islamic societies fare particularly badly.
I myself am not saying the Left is perfect, but I think the culture wars have engendered mutual distortions in both the 'Western' and multiculturalist camps, and both see the worst of the other. The best visiphiles (including, I bow in respect, most Objectivists) are advocating a universal, Enlightenment reason which should not bear the name of a historical culture and which should critically appreciate all cultures; the worst are ethnocentrists and bigots. Similarly, the worst visiphobes want to level judgment of all cultures to a minimum to protect irrational parochialisms from rational criticism. But the best visiphobes are cosmopolitans who want not to level but to raise and educate our gates to the equal heights, in different places, of many of the world's cultures, present and past.
I myself see no irrationality in cultivating an appreciation for greatnesses outside of one's own culture, not do I see provinciality in adopting those excellences that were developed in one's own. Most of us reflect first and foremost the excellences and blindnesses of our inheritance. This seems a good reason to value a *critical* diversity and to presume that with humans beings everywhere possessing the same range of reason and passion, that there have been many wonders of many times.
Someone like Horowitz, given his record, is not encouraging such experiences.
Why not a multiculturalism that takes Lessing and Herodotus as its keynotes instead of Fish and Rorty?