Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Evaluating the Hostile

Many years ago, when I was in my last year at Ohio State, someone saw me reading Isiah Berlin's "Crooked Timber of Humanity", and as they were politically conservative, suggested that I also read Dinesh d'Souza. I've been reluctant until now to do so, because d'Souza's writings (as evident by their titles) seem to be designed to be sugar to not-particularly-intelligent American conservatives (with such "feel good" titles as "What's So Great About America"). To the degree that "low books" (that is, those distant from both scholarly leanings and a political theory/pholosophy approach) can be worthwhile, seeing titles like that have always led me away from evaluating his arguments (as opposed to, say, Robert Bork's "Slouching towards Gammorah", which was surprisingly intelligent). d'Souza's summary of "The Enemy at Home" looks like it makes bold enough claims to possibly be a good read - I don't expect to like the angle he speaks from, but he looks to have a notion of Kulturkampf that I'd like to analyse and compare to my own. Somehow, the idea of getting Stanley Fish, Dinesh d'Souza, and John Rawls (let's pretend he's still alive) in the same room for a discussion of politics and political theory seems like it would lead to incredibly interesting discussions (I would guess though that d'Souza would be the least philosophical person there though - I'll want to read more by him, but I think he's more interested in the small picture of arguing within american politics as they exist now rather than the big picture of political philosophy). I can see myself getting that book..

Unrelated, I read a bit more of Lenin on the issue of free trade and economic colonialism, and find that I've been following the socialist values and philosophy to at least a fairly likely end - both his predictions and criticisms are things that I've largely come up with, derived from (roughly) Marxist values/philosophy. With the class divides shifting over national boundaries, he predicted as well that the most obvious locale for revolution would be overseas in nations acting as a lower class for wealthier nations, and talked about the difficulties involved in that. I don't feel bound to agree with Lenin or Trotsky, but it's nice to have so much of their material around to learn from.

Sometimes an eloquent letter can lead to careful reflection that can start one down a path to productive thought - we learn in a different way from people we agree with and those we don't, and at least in philosophy, when operating on a philosophical level (rather than a pragmatic level, where various types of solidarities and "partial compliances" are needed to get things done), the first merges entirely into the second. How ironic that when we pursue the best type of philosophy, the chief of intellectual pursuits of humanity (well, I think so, anyhow), that when we reach towards the stars, we all reach out into different skies.

This song may offend you, even as it pleases your ear. ... interesting that age brings some of us to whisper when we speak of our known differences.. another timidness(?) of age.


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