I think the reason so many philosophers are such prats is because they work so hard to understand and think about difficult, esoteric stuff that basically nobody cares about, much of which is wrong, maybe dangerously so, to the point of missing the point and evangelizing for it.
Almost any major philosopher has good observations that are worthy and important (I'm particularly thinking of Foucault, Adorno, Hegel, and Nietzsche here) among others that are awful, ridiculous, or even idiotically dangerous. The question is how we judge these thoughts.
For me, one and only one metric matters: what happens with those ideas when they get out into the world—especially, how are they put into use in our own time. For cases where bad ideas are used dangerously, I see some, but only a little, value in trying to rescue the thinker.
I strongly suspect philosopher culture leads philosophers to think of how they'll be judged later and are thus very defensive of the broader spectrum of though and sparkling insights and thus turn a blind eye to the awful ways their misunderstood or abused heroes suck big-time.
It's fine, I suppose, to say "Foucault (or Hegel) is misunderstood!" and to try to get it right, or "Derrida was misappropriated by activist fools!" or even that "Marcuse had a point about that!" but it's not enough to do so and ignore how the ideas mutated and exist in the wild
If you can take a set of bad ideas today and draw a straight line backwards in time, frequently with citations or teacher/student relationships, to someone like Foucault or Hegel, that Foucault or Hegel said something broader or contradictory doesn't change that fact.
Hegel is a great example because he's desperately unclear. Even in the wake of his death, violently different interpretive factions arose, which have fragmented since. Marx was a "Young Hegelian," and then he diverged. Neo-Marxists went back to early (more Hegelian) Marx.
That there are ultra-conservative interpretations of Hegel, squabbles over whether he's pre-Kantian or post-Kantian, or some blend, or something else, all elides the fact that there are real people using certain among Hegel's many ideas in obviously Hegelian ways today.
In summary, philosophers who miss the forest for the trees aren't helpful. They're just trying to look smart while they defend bad ideas and denigrate critics by missing the point, and it's hard to see it as anything other than envy and insecurity.

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More from @ConceptualJames

21 Feb
Doing a little reading. LOL. Look at that list!
One wonders what a "more inclusive and democratic economic system" refers to. And "energy democracy" with its "community-based public sector ownership" approach. 🤔🤔🤔 Looks like euphemisms for... something.
The real problems stopping climate justice: rationalism and liberalism. Hot dog! Pesky understanding things and freedom!
Read 6 tweets
20 Feb
Sam once came to a course I did on Critical Theory, Postmodernism, and Left-wing Politics with @ThaddeusRussell, which was quite successful. I was kind and generous to him. He clowned me behind the scenes on Twitter, then, in the last class admitted I know what I'm talking about.
He has since returned to his insufferable habit of trying to take me down a few pegs, not least on this, which mirrors the EO by Trump that he said is horrible, ostensibly because he wants to defend his leftist cred and/or race/sex stereotyping, scapegoating, and discrimination.
It's kind of the best confirmation ever that the way he acts on social media is irreflexive of how he'd act in person. He was kind and helpful in the course and eventually complimentary of my knowledge base even while he acted oppositely on Twitter. It's disappointing.
Read 4 tweets
19 Feb
A few reflections after testifying to the legislative committee in New Hampshire regarding HB544 yesterday.

1) Leftists, both clueless and trained as activists, including academics, WILL SHOW UP. So you should too. Get strong personal or expert testimony and show up against CRT.
2) The general public and most elected officials are generally clueless as to what's going on. It is your job to educate them. While the activists say it's not their job to educate YOU, they know who to talk to, and how. They will do a good job of miseducating our leaders.
In the NH meeting, so far as I can tell, only the activist member and the bill sponsor have any idea what CRT is (in theory and reality—Maoist cultural revolution tool) and that it's actually being used in trainings and taught in schools. You have to show up and tell them.
Read 10 tweets
17 Feb
The funny part, and why I almost caved in and did the event anyway despite their rudeness, is that part of my talk was supposed to be about why I think a college education now, and especially an Ivy education, is perilously close to making you less employable, not more.
Unless in a field that requires specialist knowledge that you kinda have to go to university for, like engineering or medicine, I'd 10-to-1 favor no degree over a degree, 30-to-1 if Ivy, in hiring right now. Way too likely graduates have been trained to make "beautiful trouble."
Read 4 tweets
16 Feb
I suspect this year will be a huge lesson for a lot of liberal-minded people on the distinction between that which is downstream from liberalism and that which is upstream to it, and it will disquiet them.
Psst: The "marketplace of ideas" is downstream, not upstream. It is a fruit of a liberal order, not something that, on its own, can produce or even maintain one.
Liberalism is an unstable equilibrium state for societies. I don't really want to explain this on Twitter dot com, but I've been meaning to for many months, somewhere, eventually.
Read 4 tweets
16 Feb
You could, in fact, create a "Critical Theory of X" for almost any X by simply taking any existing Critical Theory of Y and changing the domain-specific terms and jargon out in a mechanical way and then smoothing over a little. You'd become a top scholar in about a week.
It's really hard to overstate just how simplistic the Critical Theory model is, dressed up in lots of complicated language that bears the unmistakable marks of confusing oneself with the layers of complexity present in everything. It's actually extremely simple at heart.
People frequently want me to talk about Critical Theory in depth, but there isn't really any depth. There's just lots of epicycles on a very basic, wrong framework that repeats endlessly in everything. You can write depth into it, though, as philosophers are wont to do.
Read 7 tweets

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