By Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle, January 11, 2016 (LINK to article)
I submitted two comments on this excellent piece, neither of which were approved, so I've combined them and posted them here:
"When Philosophy Lost Its Way"It is not just philosophy which has lost its way, but western civilisation at large, led, of course, by academics, including tenured philosophers.
It is something the NYT itself warned about in a recent editorial, The Price of Fear: “In the reaction and overreaction to terrorism [evil] comes the risk that society will lose its way".
What the editorial's author overlooked was the fact that western societies have already lost their way - badly! - in overreaction to the evils of Nazism and the Holocaust, embracing an ideology which is the exact but equally extreme opposite of Nazi racial ideology, denying the importance, even the very existence, of different races.
In the European context of the Holocaust this was reasonably enough. The overreaction was applying it in a global context, where there clearly are important racial differences. Important, not in the way that racial supremacists like the Nazis believed, or those responsible for Jim Crow and Apartheid, but because central to any deep and meaningful sense of both personal and group identity.
This ideology now serves the state (which employs most academics) as an instrument of socio-political intimidation, rewards, punishments, manipulation and control, just as medieval church ideology once did.
Contrary to what the authors claim, academics - collectively, at least - are still seen as moral and knowledgeable authorities, just as they were in former times as members of the clergy/church, like whom they are also privileged clients and employees of their respective "patron state", with a massive personal self-interest (subconscious more than conscious) in rationalising and defending its role, self-image (as our "nation") and ideologies (social, political, economic and racial, formerly religious), on which the state bases its own claim to moral and knowledgeable authority.
It is primarily academics (whose moral authority others tend to accept) who, in OVERREACTION to Jim Crow, Apartheid and especially the Holocaust, imposed an ideology on western societies which is the exact but equally extreme opposite of Nazi racial ideology, an ideology which demonises and suppresses (as "racist") the natural ethnic/racial foundations of national identity and genuine (as opposed to pseudo, state) nationhood, and which serves the age-old strategy of “divide and rule”, dividing society into a morally superior, now supposedly "colour-blind", elite and the morally inferior, naturally (human nature being what it is) less colour-blind, masses, who must submit to the authority of and domination by their "moral superiors".
See BLOG(S) in which I elaborate on these ideas.