Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Moans and PC nonsense, eh?

I am aware that there is something passive-aggressive in my current engagement with politics - I take other articles and moan about them - but that is what critics do. Here's my latest whinge, about an article on Spiked, which is an article about an article...

But amid all this heat, there’s also been a moment of light. It came in a Washington Post piece by Avinash Tharoor, who studied international relations at Westminster, Jihadi John’s alma mater. Tharoor describes a seminar discussion of Immanuel Kant’s democratic peace theory in which something shocking happened. A student in a niqab scoffed at Kant and said: ‘As a Muslim, I don’t believe in democracy.’ Even more shocking was the response. ‘Our instructor seemed astonished but did not question the basis of her argument’, says Tharoor. ‘Why hadn't the instructor challenged her?’, he asks, perplexed, especially considering that her Kant-bashing views, her sniffiness about this top dog of Enlightenment, were not rare but rather were ‘prevalent within the institution’.

The author goes on to weave a complaint that is far too common at the moment: the real enemies of the western tradition are intellectuals and academics who, instead of defending the best in civilisation, are selling a version of post-modernism that rejects all values and replaces it with political correct neutrality. 

Apart from the problem of basing a theory on an anecdote - as with the case of the bloke out of CAGE, one example is being made to stand for the whole - I wonder how many Jihadis and Islamicists took time to study philosophy at University. Jihadi John, for example, studied Business Management. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (emir  of ISIL) did Islamic Studies according to US intelligence. Osama Bin Laden had a crack at Civil Engineering. And the majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, and I am not sure the western enlightenment is on the syllabus in their high schools.

Of course, the great post-modern philosophers have had their moments of idiocy - Foucault thought the Islamic Revolution in Iran was just peachy. But I don't think that the rise of militant Islam can be blamed on a bunch of wishy-washy liberals in universities who can't be bothered to argue for the great white male every time some undergraduate tries to show off by disrespecting Kant. The terrorists, in some wonderful irony, are either in business studies or other 'useful' lectures.

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