The Great Connections Seminar

The Great Connections Seminar
Discussing ethics

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What does education have to do with Bush hatred and Obama euphoria?

In Friday's Wall Street Journal, Peter Berkowitz argued that Bush hatred and Obama euphoria are two sides of the same coin - the triumph of passion over reason. He laments the current, deformed thinking of our intellectual classes.

"As Hamilton would have supposed, the susceptibility of political judgment to corruption by interest and ambition is as operative in our time as it was in his. What has changed is that those who, by virtue of their education and professional training, would have once been the first to grasp Hamilton's lesson of moderation are today the leading fomenters of immoderation.

"Bush hatred and Obama euphoria are particularly toxic because they thrive in and have been promoted by the news media, whose professional responsibility, it has long been thought, is to gather the facts and analyze their significance, and by the academy, whose scholarly training, it is commonly assumed, reflects an aptitude for and dedication to systematic study and impartial inquiry.

Unfortunately, Mr. Berkowitz comes close, but misses the mark, in identifying the defining factors which led to our current, sorry State.

Philosophers from Kant to Marcuse and later spent years gutting reason of its power to arrive at objective judgments, and promulgating this view through the Academy. Without this ability, what individual can stand, with certainty, against the crowd? What's left but emotionally based alliances?

Reason becomes rationalization, justifying intellectual passion-stoking - and making collectivist purposes so much easier to advance. This view of reason is what
what separates our current thinking from that of the Founders, and why so few intellectuals today reflect the “education and professional training” of Hamilton’s times.

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