Blogs > Liberty and Power > Descent into Madness

Feb 17, 2004 9:36 pm

Descent into Madness

I'm going to break my own promise about the left-bias issue and make one more observation (and it's better than those creepy economists Radley linked to... {shiver}). I suggested that I would engage in a more detailed response to Ed Feser's two-part series on the subject at Tech Central Station. Well part two is out, and I'm going to pass. Ed, who I've met and respect as a Hayek scholar, but with whom I've tangled over cultural issues on the Hayek list, has descended into traditionalist madness in this second part. His argument is that "Leftism" has become a "counter-church" responsible for the supposed cultural decay of western society. He goes so far as to argue that Leftism amounts to little more than intellectual rationalizations for the welfare state and pornography:

That is why Leftism has gotten, with the passing decades, ever closer to sheer lunacy; and also why, as such lunacy has permeated ever more deeply into modern Western society, the ideas of conservative thinkers have come to seem to the common man increasingly romantic, unrealistic, and unattainable. If the typical contemporary Westerner does not quite resonate to the ravings of Marxists and postmodernists, neither is he much drawn to the doctrines of Thomists, Burkeans, or Hayekians. He is too far gone for that. He wants his conservatism heavily watered down, at least enough to leave room for a Federal prescription drug benefit and easy access to pornography, should the mood for it strike him. If this makes for inconsistency… well, he's happy to let the professors worry about such things.

And if what they tell him is that he ought to discard the conservatism altogether and opt instead for a worldview specifically designed to justify the benefits and the porn, he is, with the passing years, ever increasingly ready to listen.

If this is what it's come to, I'm out of sympathy for conservative critics of academia. Granted, Ed's view is an extreme one, but it serves to confirm the worst nightmares of the Left (that the critics are trying to resurrect, no pun intended, St. Thomas Aquinas himself) and in so doing, it tars the more reasonable criticisms of bias. Thanks but no thanks Ed.

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