How VFR differs from today’s academic philosophy
In response to a comment by reader Julien B. in the recent thread, “Why liberals believe that Muslims and Western homosexuals can get along” (which will soon be continuing after I write a reply to a fascinating e-mail from Ken Hechtman in which he explains why he’s not concerned about Islam), I complimented Julien in the thread and also wrote him this e-mail:
Welcome back. Your comments are always high-class. But here you’ve outdone yourself.He wrote back to me:
Wow, thanks. It’s funny, I was teaching a class on political philosophy today; given my lowly and tenuous academic position, the readings always have to be mainstream stuff, all variations on “left-liberalism” or “right-liberalism.” I don’t say what I really think, and can’t. Although a lot can be done by simply raising skeptical objections without actually putting forward any positive claims. It struck me that reading VFR has been more useful to me intellectually than all of that stuff put together. These prestigious academics can’t say anything honest or even mildly interesting because of the castrating assumptions from which they begin. They are Pod People. By contrast, your writings always seem honest, perceptive, courageous. In a way it’s very simple: you just allow yourself to freely and rationally consider reality, and to accept the results. But that’s incredibly hard to do. It’s strange that people paid to think about philosophy almost never do that. I was on my way to some kind of subversive conservatism before reading your writings, but you put together all kinds of things I’d long felt in such a clear and intellectually sophisticated way. I don’t think I would have figured it out on my own. To the extent that I can, I spread the word a bit to the more serious students — even if it has to be done in a coded, indirect way. So, all this to say that your compliment means a lot to me. It comes from a real philosopher.
Michael N. writes:
The post by Julien is simply perfect:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 29, 2013 11:08 AM | Send