Yes, if you actually managed to read this whole thing, you read it correctly that politics are evil, that those engaged in politics are by definition malicious, and that politics makes us worse. Question-begging at its finest.
And this is from the @CatoInstitute, the supposed smart kids of the libertarians. Holy moly.
When talking about the "out of control identity politics" of Middle Eastern countries, esp. Iraq and Syria, Fukuyama says, "This integrative narrative has never been put forward in many Middle Eastern countries, and they are paying the price."
Conveniently ommitted: these countries have sectarian problems BECAUSE THEY'RE ARTIFICIAL COLONIAL CREATIONS MADE BY ARROGANT KNOW-NOTHING IMPERIALISTS.
Given that @HdxAcademy is keen to be a force for honest debate, I wonder if the recently published letter and other remarks/behavior of Mehta are something to which they'd like to respond, or cause them in to feel differently about boosting Mehta as a "free speech" advocate.
In case they didn't see it, here's the relevant story, which includes the letter itself. cbc.ca/news/canada/no…
Because by boosting Mehta in the first place, and esp. by continuing to boost him now and frame his situation as a "free speech" issue, @HdxAcademy seriously undermines its credibility and hinders any good-faith discussion of what actual free speech/bias issues do exist.
Again, the "free speech" panic is often much ado about nothing. But even when conservatives *do* feel like they have to keep their views hidden, does that mean they're systemically oppressed, or is it simply that their ideas are, um, embarrassing?
The "conservatives don't express themselves on campus" is a similar genre to the "studies show that more education leads to more progressive views." Both are held up by conservatives as proof of left-wing bias in the academy, whereas a, ahem, different interpretation is possible.
Let's consider a hypothetical: say in one of my classes, we read and discuss Thucydides' Melian Dialogue in conjunction with Euripides' Trojan Women, which are meditations on and (I think) indictments of imperialistic violence and the suffering war inflicts on civilians. (con't)
Ok. Now do the stats of refugee vs. non-refugee crimes, you racist. What happened to that girl was horrific, but it has nothing to do with refugees or immigration policy. Oh, did I say you were a racist? Let me say it again just to be sure: you're a racist.
Since Saad is a Canadian "public intellectual", I wonder how much he talks about the *actual* sexual assault crisis in Canada, which overwhelmingly affects Indigenous women and girls. My guess is he doesn't give a crap. Just another of the "I'm a feminist because Muslims" crowd.
From Saad's Wikipedia page:
"Saad was born in 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon, to a Jewish family. His family fled to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in October 1975 to escape the Lebanese Civil War and antisemitism."
Yeah, those fleeing the horrors of civil war are the worst, eh Gad?
Adventures in Athenian democracy: in 479 BCE, after Athens had been sacked the previous year by Xerxes' army before the Battle of Salamis, the Persians were threatening again to take the city, but they offered the Athenians terms first - rather generous ones. 1/
Herodotus would have us believe that the Athenians were so "pro-freedom" and anti-Persian that they dismissed the terms outright, in the face of the certain destruction of their city again. Heroes of the cause of Greek liberty, it would seem. 2/
Well, one member of the Athenian council, Lycidas, suggested that the Persian proposals at least be presented to the full citizen assembly, so the people could make up their own minds. Reasonable, no? Isn't open debate the stuff if democracy? 3/
Seriously, read this article, read the letter *Mehta himself provided*, and then read the article again. His ability to misunderstand things and shoot himself in the foot is truly Herculean. I'm impressed, actually.
Best take of the last few days? "If you guys get so upset at *cartoons* you must find it tough in the *real world*!"
Exactly, because art, including/especially cartoons, have never been used to propagate/justify the murderous oppression of others. Oh, wait...
Second best take? "I fear we live in a world in which you can't criticize non-white people!"
Right, because non-white people are *never* criticized (or asked for their birth certificates). They live in a wonderful fairyland of rainbows and sunshine, free of all criticism!
This tweet, expressing such heartfelt worry about the hellish world SJWs are creating, is from a guy who just published in *the Wall Street Journal* a piece that said b/c people don't make eye contact in English cities, England is basically a caliphate.
In 406 BCE, the Athenians tried a group of generals en masse, even though it was illegal. Their excuse? If the people want to do something, they should be able to do it, regardless of the laws. They later regretted their decision. #onpoli#CdnPoli
There's a silver lining, though: when they came to regret their decision, the Athenians decided to charge those who had encouraged them to break the law. Ah, democracy.
My point? Politicians who encourage unconstitutional majoritarianism (or, even worse, manipulate the first-past-the-post system to act like they have majority support when they don't) should probably watch out.
Meditating today on how we remember the dead, and how every life is as precious as another, I find these images powerful. The first is the French national war memorial at Notre Dame de Lorette, with tens of thousands of crosses marking the French slain in the Great war. 1/2
The second is from across the parking lot, a recent memorial listing *hundreds of thousands* of names, from *every* nation (including Germany) of those who died in that war. They are listed alphabetically, without respect to rank or nationality. A provocative juxtaposition. 2/2
There is a place for both types of memorial, I think. But too often we sacrifice or ignore the latter kind (listing all the dead - which we should expand to include civilians too) for the sake of the former (only the dead from "our side").
Lots of people seem to hate me, like, violently hate me as a person. Sometimes I get well-meaning advice to tone down on Twitter, or perhaps only do my more "informative" and less "activist" tweets. After all, otherwise I'm apparently just "pushing people further to the right."
The thing is, even though I can be a jerk, people hate me largely b/c of my left-wing sympathies, the fact that I'm a traitor to the "Classics," my discussions of privilege, etc. I don't think "changing my tone" will win many hearts and minds.
In fact, I think changing my tone at this point would be a lot like the CBC having bigoted provocateurs on their panels: it adds nothing to the discussion, and comes across as a sad attempt to pander to a demographic that ain't gonna like them anyway. Twitter, man.
I actually do believe nostalgia is a significant element in Pinker's thought. A lot of his current work is aimed at *reasserting* some sort of liberal consensus that has been lost. If he doesn't think the world was better in the 50s, he might think the liberal consensus was.
Nostalgia is present in Harris's New Atheist movement too. Emerging in the context of the revived religiosity of the W. Bush years and the rise of Islam as a social and political issue, Harris and others looked back to when intellectuals gleefully mocked religion (60s and 70s?)
So yes, I do think Pinker and Harris (who, although different - Pinker's more serious - have similar agendas) are nostalgic for a time when "Enlightenment" values (incl. atheism) were supposedly accepted without question by the academy, etc., while they're now under threat.
TBH, I'm torn between a Classical cyclical view of history and an Augustinian linear one (I tend to the latter, probably). But in terms of human nature, I'm definitely with Thucydides, who says that according to the "human thing" (*to anthropinon*), humans ain't gonna change. 1/
Thucydides wrote his history of the Peloponnesian War to be a "possession for all time," in that, given the immutability of human nature, human motivations, human actions, and even human events are bound to play out in very similar ways to how they did in the war he recorded. 2/
Therefore, his history is not meant as an entertaining story, but a deep analysis of human beings that will be useful for understanding other historical events and periods too, even those far into the future (ie, today). While we can disagree with elements of his analysis, 3/
The more I see how vehemently the fans of Pinker, Harris, et al. rush to their leaders' defense - despite their leaders' increasingly sketchy behavior and the drubbing they take in review after review - the more I'm convinced the whole "skeptic" movement is pablum. 1/
Pablum, as in the generic food fed to babies whose stomachs can't handle anything else. In the "skeptics'" case, their stomachs can't handle the idea that maybe things the way they are (or the way they magically were in the 50's) might not be the best and might require change. 2/
Harris and Pinker - and esp. their fans - are no more "rational" or "skeptical" than many of the relgions/cultures they take such glee in mocking (don't believe me? Say something against Pinker or Harris on Twitter and watch the tantrum). 3/
Read my tweet again. I didn't say "discussing two sides of an argument *to better approach the truth*," I said "sparking discussion *for its own sake*." These days there are many versions of the latter that do *nothing* to advance the former. Intellectual masturbation.
For example, take this hypothetical (yet not far from the truth) case: "This statue of a Confederate civil war general has no redeeming artistic features, serves as a divisive symbol of white pride, an alienates many vulnerable people. But, hey, it sure sparks discussion!"
Anyone who supports Bernier after the last couple of days is deliberately and knowingly supporting and rewarding racism.
How many deaths did the French Revolution lead to? The American Revolution? The Crusades? "Manifest Destiny"? Residential Schools? The Boer War? Oh, wait, those were white people and not Muslims. We're all good here!
There are no such thing as ossified and timeless "Canadian values."
Now that certain segments of the conservatives are proponents of "religious freedom," feminism, and LGBTQ rights (in order to oppose Muslim immigration), I remind them that *a decade ago*, gay marriage being illegal was a "Canadian value."
Also, until shockingly recently, Christian prayer was a staple in Canadian public schools (supported by many of these same conservatives), and Catholic parochial schools are still publicly funded in more than one province.
There's more about how removing, modifying, or even destroying monuments is an active, and often helpful and worthwhile, engagement with history here: activehistory.ca/2017/10/the-mo…
You'll also notice that I say that museums too can be captive to ideology, and that we always need to be vigilant that they present history fairly and broadly, but also be open to change based on what new research tells us.
If you're going to be an identitarian movement for "European" culture, best get your Latin right. "Civitas" = "citizenship", so whatever. But "actum"? As in "action"? Should've used "actio" or even "actus" then. And why is "identitas" in the accusative? The master race, everyone.
Semper ubi sub ubi!
You know what, I'm not done with these clowns. Aside from getting the Latin wrong for their motto, it's very annoying that these groups all think Latin is super cool and a marker of true "European" identity. The "Europa Nostra" crowd come to mind.
Thinking about how shaken my own family is just by living a few blocks away, my heart breaks for the families most devastated, who have lost those they love. It also breaks for those who live in circumstances where such tragedy is more "expected" than it is in Fredericton.
Here's a moving tribute to one of the officers that died yesterday.
I keep hearing that "this sort of thing just doesn't happen in Fredericton." And it doesn't (at least not close to my own little bubble), until it did. But it does happen in many communities, and, like the family of this officer, too many people have to grieve.
How would a neoliberal shill (the "managing director" of something called "University Ventures") attack free tuition? By arguing that it's bad because it makes Republicans angry. Seriously. insidehighered.com/views/2018/08/…
After all, wasn't it Plato who said that the purpose of education is "a stronger economic future for students, universities, and employers"? No? universityventures.com/about.php
"The unexamined life is not worth living - unless it leads to a stronger economic future." -Socrates
Monuments =/= museums. In fact, their respective missions are often diametrically opposed. Far from preserving history, monuments are often the worst culprits in propagating a distorted and ideological version of "history" that does more to erase history than anything else.
Even Thucydides realized this, when he said that future visitors to Athens would, b/c of its monuments, think Athens was far more powerful than it was, and would think the opposite in the case of Sparta. Modern visitors to Athens certainly think it was *better* than it was.
Looking at the Parthenon Frieze, one would think that the Athenian citizenry and the backbone of its military power were based on cavalry - that is, the wealthy elite. But the Parthenon was built by the revenues brought in by the navy, crewed by the lowest classes of citizens.
Or just maybe this a productive and meaningful way for people, right here and now, to engage with history, make sense of it, and consider ways to do better in the future. But, really, *you're* the victim here since the cartoon version of "history" you worship might not be legit.
Lots of people have written on this and exposed the absolute buffoonery of the "erasing history" line, but if anyone's interested, I bring in an ancient Greek perspective here: activehistory.ca/2017/10/the-mo…