We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Several Disenlightenment urges reinforced one another in the case of James Damore, the Google engineer fired in 2017 for writing a memo discussing sex differences in his field. The National Labor Relations Board declared that Damore’s “statements about immutable traits linked to sex — such as women’s heightened neuroticism and men’s prevalence at the top of the IQ distribution — were discriminatory and constituted sexual harassment notwithstanding efforts to cloak comments with ‘scientific references’ and analysis.” The scare quotes around references to science tell us that science must be ignored whenever it conflicts with Disenlightenment dogma. In the Enlightenment, science was often referred to as a process of unveiling — the frontispiece to Diderot’s Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers depicts the figures of Reason and Philosophy unveiling the figure of Truth. According to the National Labor Relations Board, though, science is more of a cloak.
When the unvarnished truths that are based on verifiable, testable scientific facts are summarily dismissed to keep the psuedo-science alive, then the discussion devolves to a contest of opinion.
Where one opinion insists upon asserting itself in defiance of reason, and when it insists upon the exclusion of all other viewpoints for its mere existence, then a contest of force will inevitably follow. Nobody will put with that sh*t forever. It's not going to end the way they think it is.
The Enlightenment, science and reason, was the 18th Century. It was rejected in the 19th Century by Romanticism, which is all about intuition and feeling. Socialism, Fascism, Naziism, Environmentalism are all children of Romanticism. Since sometime in the mid-20th Century we had Modernism, and then post-Modernism, and now something else. What they represent is unknown and maybe unknowable.
So, don't complain about a 21st Century agency repudiating a dead, 300 year old philosophy.
Hiomer Simpson: Facts? You can prove anything with facts!
Assistant Village Idiot
QUESTION for you AVI.
What mental process is driving the movement to destroy the Enlightenment?
I understand that acquiring power and control is part of the equation, but am wondering what else is behind this?
It seems like some sort of regressive psychosis caused by what? The world becoming to complicated? Or is this the work of people too lazy and obstinate to learn, wanting to hold others back on their level as well?
It's such an irrational way of thinking that I don't understand it.
feeblemind: What mental process is driving the movement to destroy the Enlightenment?
The Age of Enlightenment was upended two centuries ago. Conservatives blamed Enlightenment ideas for the political instability in Europe and the vast destruction that followed, while the Romantics rejected the view of man as a rational machine devoid of beauty and spirit. '
I think the article should have more properly focused on aspects of Enlightenment thought that are under attack, rather than the named movement. Specifically, the emphasis on reason, observation, objectivity, and especially the courage to act on those, rather than simply note them and talk about them. If you listen to these supposed anti-Enlightenment forces, you will find that they willingly engage in reason when it suits them, and they can be quite good at it. (Compare CS Lewis's satan-inhabited Watson Perelandra). Many of these academics could easily teach a course in how to spot logical fallacies.
But since the economic versions of Marx collapsed so thoroughly as to be unusable, the Marxian focus switched to power, as you note. All is viewed through that lens. The Gramscian Long March through the institution encountered unexpected pushback in the last few decades, not from the forces of tradition, as expected, bur from other radical groups who took them at their word and said "Hey, you're right! It is all about power! Give it to us or we will destroy you!"
What we would understand as conservativism* has little influence in the academy and in the elite media at this point. The struggle is between liberals who played a double game with reason, using it or abandoning it as suited them at the moment, and interest groups who use reason even less. The former group is attempting to rely on Enlightenment principles now that the whirlwind has been unleashed. Likely too late.
*Because conservative (and liberal) have meant different things in different ages I strive to find other words to make my meaning clearer when communicating. They do not mean quite the same thing they did in 1971, let alone 1821. Use of the terms to describe earlier movements and phenomena is usually emotive rather than logical, highlighting a few feattures at the expense of others in a propaganda effort.
Assistant Village Idiot
Assistant Village Idiot: *Because conservative (and liberal) have meant different things in different ages I strive to find other words to make my meaning clearer when communicating.
We use the term "conservative" in the traditional sense: the veneration and preservation of long-standing traditions and mores; and the belief that change, when it must occur, should be gradual and considered. The French Revolution was considered by conservatism to represent all that was wrong when moderation is abandoned.
But you are right that, nowadays, the term "conservative" is often applied to reactionaries, who are hardly conservative in the traditional sense.
Assistant Village Idiot: I think the article should have more properly focused on aspects of Enlightenment thought that are under attack, rather than the named movement.
Sure. Take the good and leave the bad.
Assistant Village Idiot: Specifically, the emphasis on reason, observation, objectivity, and especially the courage to act on those, rather than simply note them and talk about them.
Of course, "reason, observation, objectivity" were historically used to maintain slavery and keep women out.
Assistant Village Idiot: The Gramscian Long March through the institution encountered unexpected pushback in the last few decades, not from the forces of tradition, as expected, bur from other radical groups who took them at their word and said "Hey, you're right! It is all about power! Give it to us or we will destroy you!"
Not sure if we inhabit the same world, but the forces of reaction are very strong in Western Civilization.
Was the Civil Rights Movement part of the Long March? Conservatives of the day certainly claimed so. The Black Lives Matter Movement?