Friday, March 23, 2018

That evil Bible, again.

Neither do car repair manuals usually mention the
Makah Indians or totem poles.  What could they  
possibly be for?   
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As in most memes, inanity and error battle for supremacy here.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

"Great Philosophers" on Sex: A Parade of Lunatics

I often tell students to read original sources.  Hear for yourself from people of a different time and way of thinking.  Every historian is not just a bridge from the past to the present, she is also a pair of gates on either end of that bridge, filtering traffic across it: limiting that traffic first by what the historian has noticed, and second by what she wishes you to notice. 
An anthology broadens those gates, but does not knock them down.  Works are selected for a reason, but they let you meet the original writers more directly than a few quotes in a history book.  Still, the value of an anthology depends in part on whether you can trust the anthologist to select representatively and fairly.  
In History of Ideas on Women: A Source Book, Dr. Rosemary Agonito helpfully offers us the very words many "great thinkers" in the western tradition have written on women.  She seems to think she traces a forward trajectory of history, from the "bad old days" when Christian theology trapped women in misogyny and contempt, fitfully towards a more enlightened state, ending with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Women.  (However badly that document may be ignored.)
But the story Agonito thinks she shows is not what the selections she offers actually give.  A sounder conclusion is that the Christian tradition provides the only basis for sane reform and liberation for both sexes.  Because this is an anthology, Agonito cannot lie about the Christian tradition (as some of those she anthologizes do), she can only selectively misrepresent.  But even so, the Christian thinkers here come off as far more reasonable than the lunatics we have been taught to call "great thinkers," whom I will mainly quote and analyze below: Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer (whose insanity we have already chronicled), Emerson, Mill (ditto), Darwin, Nietzsche, Engels, Russell, Freud, De Beauvoir, Friedan, Marcuse. 
What is startling is just how childish the "big thinkers" often seem to become, after they have rejected Christian orthodoxy."