The Suicide of Reason

I apologize for the long silence. Buried in revisions of my book. Will post some choice tidbits next week. In the meantime, wanted to leave you all with a strong recommendation. A new book came out this week by Lee Harris, whose earlier one, Civilization and Its Enemies, I use in my honor-shame course.

The new book is, The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the West.

Brilliant, insightful, well-researched. The man understands our current “civilized” dilemma. A society that acts according to “reason” is extremely rare. And it has difficulty understanding those who don’t.

11 Responses to The Suicide of Reason

  1. Michael B says:

    This theme is perhaps (I’ve ordered it but haven’t read Harris’s latest yet, so not sure more specifically what he is emphasizing) invoked by Habermas as well, who has also questioned the acids and more destructive forms hyper-rationalism or Rationalism writ large has taken in the West (I’m a humble, general reader only, but Rortian themes and pomo initiatives come immediately to mind). Many have done so to one degree or another and from various angles, but Habermas, a decided atheist, has taken it a step further and offered a counter-weight, by redeploying the Athens/Jerusalem dialectic and set of tensions. I’m relying upon secondhand, though thoughtful and considerable appraisals of what Habermas has suggested, but that seems to be the general critique he’s suggested.

  2. Sophia says:

    Michael B., can you elaborate? Are you talking about teaching “Western Civilization” and associated disciplines again? Have classes like that fallen off the map?

  3. fp says:

    I dk why one needs to resort to Habermas to see what is obvious: that unless the process and blood by which civilization was achieved are not transferred from generation to generation, a civilized society will be incapable to withstand its enemies.

    My claim that western education has collapsed is part of that claim which is what Lee Harris argues too.

    What is the last time that classics, history other than a superficial version of US’s, logic, philosophy, literature, art have been taught either in schools or colleges, or even universities?

    Instead generations are prepared for the mechanics of getting a job, all which are migrating out of the west. Not only don’t they dk much, but they can’t reason for 2 cents and are fodder for manipulation and exploitation, which is how those who own the country want them.

    Unfortunately, this kind of society can’t stand up to its enemies, as it is clear to see.

  4. igout says:

    I think we threw away a very valuable prop of our civilization when we decided that Latin was a dead and irrevelant language. Having our young, genius and bonehead alike, write, speak and read and think in a language whose vocabulary (at least on the introductory level) is seemingly limited to words like virtue, duty, courage, liberty, war, glory, strength, reason, wisdom and so forth sure beats the debilitating mush that goes by the name of education today.

    “The Roman State stands on its ancient customs and its manhood” If we had stuck to that, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  5. fp says:

    it’s not the dismissal of latin that’s the problem. it’s the dismissal of history and civilization. and there’s much more to that than a language.

  6. igout says:

    Granted, but Latin is, or was, a language tailor-made to form what you might call citizenship in our civilization. Presently we are more like low-life tenants. Get ‘em young or they;ll go to pot.. We have.

  7. fp says:

    read Civilization and Its Enemies and you’ll see that latin is hardly the west’s problem.

    the pope is now reverting to the latin mass — is religion the salvation of the west? that’s what the west is fighting. so let’s be serious.

  8. igout says:

    To study Latin is to be fed, sometimes force-fed, a nutritious spiritual diet of the precepts of reason, virtue, and courage. These are the legs of our Western Civilization.

  9. [...] e job. Masochistic Omnipotence Complex joins up with Demonizing Scapegoating, and you get The Suicide of the West. For the problem is not merely academic. Radically di [...]

  10. fp says:

    language reflects culture not the other way around. if what you say about latin is true — i dk — then it was the product of the culture which created it, or at least reflected it. the notion that by teaching latin in today’s western culture you would solve any of the problems with the west’s problem is highly questionable, to put it politely. not to mention that you would have to forcefeed it on people which would probably would cause rejection even more.

    teaching history, literature, classics, logic, science fundamentals would be much more effective. it won’t happen. the west is a lost cause.

    http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2278

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