Saturday Reading

Saturday, February 04, 2006
Thanks to Brussels Journal for this link to a wonderful 1992 essay by Roger Kimball in the New Criterion,
The treason of the intellectuals and “the undoing of thought”. It clarifies much of my own sense of our times.


Rick Ballard said...

Excellent piece. Finkielkraut was the fellow excoriated by the French MSM after giving an honest interview during the auto(s) da fe. He does an excellent job of describing the hole and he has stopped shoveling but I'm unaware of what his plan for building a ladder consists of.

Have you seen any reference to it, Chuck? Or does he just diagnose without prescription.

gumshoe1 said...

rick and chuck -

i'd like to offer

Stephen R. C. Hicks's
"Explaining Post-Modernism:
Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault"

it covers what imagine is a lot of the murky,twisted thinking of
"the intellectuals" in Kimball's article...

PoMo is infamous for basically arguing there can be no meaning other than the subjective,which implies no communication...a sure recipe of nihilism and madness.

several bloggers have recently pointed out that multi-culti has been an advocacy for fragmentation and tribalization...and not for the pursuit of universal human rights.

i love ideas,
and what i consider to be intelligent people,
but this definiton of an intellectual has always
made me laugh:

"an Intellectual:

someone who has been educated
beyond his level of competence."

off to read Kimball.

truepeers said...

Finkielkraut must have a tortured soul. I heard him in a conversation on CBC radio, a few weeks ago. They had him in Montreal to talk with an American leftist - John Mac something or other, a crazy self-hating anti-American American elitist, and editor of a New York magazine, can't remember which one. Harpers? I think this debate took place after Finkielkraut's about-face on his critical comments on the Parisian rioters and the anti-Republicanism of the present French "intellectual" elites.

Anyway, I was agreeing with much of what Finkielkraut had to say about the evils of political correctness and the leftist imperialism that corrodes the rational and transcendent cultural form that is the French Republic. But then, as if to prove he was not just a pro-American conservative, he pointed out that he had not completely given up on his "progressive" creds; he railed against Dick Cheney as a very evil man, war for Haliburton, that sort of nonsense. I can't remember all the gory details, but I was saddened by the whole affair. Finkielkraut came across as an almost broken man.

Syl said...

Putting oneself into the mind of another culture is not bad in itself but the consequence of doing that has become this horribly self-defeating relativism. POMO doesn't take the next necessary step, but completely backs off.

Me, I think it's just fine to put yourself inside the mind of another culture because it makes it easier to determine the tactics necessary to defeat it.

POMO is cowardice.

Syl said...

And, damn, the Islamists do it. They've put themselves inside our minds and learned how to defeat us. The group of Islamist clerics in Denmark who quietly added three more cartoons to the Danish twelve, the entire recent brouhaha started by Hamas--and most assuredly with the backing and prodding of Iran.

Yet POMO requires that we sit back and take it. In this, the Islamists are way ahead.

chuck said...

Finkielkraut came across as an almost broken man.

This shows the power of conformity. No wonder so many academics and journalists cling to their views in the face of all evidence, the consequences of heresy are severe.

It makes me appreciate the prickly personalities and stubborness of such as Solzhenitsyn.

truepeers said...

In a rather Kierkegaardian moment Leo Strauss once observed that when the prose of a competent writer-thinker seems to suffer a lapse into solecism this usually constitutes a deliberate attempt to throw off heresy hunters.

-your point, from a recent essay by one our few academic Solzhenitsyns

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Finkelkraut reminds me of those Jewish concentration camp guards the Nazis used.