Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Pinker defends his Englightenment book

With White Supremacism getting a bad name, and Steve King getting neutered in Congress for merely using the term to Jewish NY Times reporters, perhaps we should look at the leading intellectuals in the field.

One is Steve Pinker, whose latest book is Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. He just wrote a defense of it on Quillette.
You wouldn’t think that a defense of reason, science, and humanism would be particularly controversial in an era in which those ideals would seem to need all the help they can get. But in the words of a colleague, “You’ve made people’s heads explode!” Many people who have written to me about my 2018 book Enlightenment Now say they’ve been taken aback by the irate attacks from critics on both the right and the left. Far from embracing the beleaguered ideals of the Enlightenment, critics have blamed it for racism, imperialism, existential threats, and epidemics of loneliness, depression, and suicide. They have insisted that human progress can only be an illusion of cherry-picked data. They have proclaimed, with barely concealed schadenfreude, that the Enlightenment is an idea whose time has passed, soon to be killed off by authoritarian populism, social media, or artificial intelligence. ...

I chose the word “Enlightenment” for the title because it was the best rubric for the ideals I sought to defend—catchier than, say, “secular humanism,” “liberal cosmopolitanism,” or “the open society.” ...

Slaves were always the most desirable spoils of conquest, and anyone who has been to a Passover seder or seen the movie Spartacus knows that slavery was not invented in 18th century Europe or America. ...

It’s true that the second half of the 19th century saw the rise of now-discredited scientific theories of racial hierarchies, and to ethnic nationalisms that culminated in 20th-century wars and genocides.
Yes, he is a Canadian leftist Jewish atheist Trump hater who would never identify as a white supremacist. He does not even admit that Christianity has done any good. He makes obligatory statements about racial theories being "now-discredited", whatever that means.

Pinker's books make an extended argument that everything good in the world is due to White Christian men. He uses euphemisms like "Enlightenment", but when he lists all the good things, it is always White men.

He has also written books and essay on how human nature is innate and unchangeable. This applies to almost all human characteristics. There are good people with good traits doing good things, and then there is a world of freeloaders taking advantage of what White men have created.

Obviously he would not be a distinguished Harvard professor if he phrased it that way.

If he were a closeted White Supremacist wanting to keep his Harvard professorship, he would not be doing anything differently.

Or maybe he agrees 90% with the White Supremacist program, and his Jewish brainwashing prevents him from going whole hog.

Or maybe he is just trolling his colleagues.

I have posted many disagreements with Pinker, so I am not saying I agree with him. But there is no doubt that he raises factual issues that are seriously upsetting to the Ctrl Left, and to White-haters.

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