Free Speech, Moral Relativism, And New Rules-Some Links

Via a reader: Jonathan Merritt-‘The Death Of Moral Relativism:’

Hmmm…

‘Law, virtue, and a shame culture have risen to prominence in recent years, signaling that moral relativism may be going the way of the buggy whip.’

On this site, see: Pushing Against Moral Relativism & The Academic Fashions Of Modern Life-Some Links…Repost: Via A Reader-Peter Thiel On The Logic Of Multiculturalism

Addition: Full interview here.

“Nigel: Has relativism had its day as an influential philosophical position?

Simon: No – and I don’t think it should ever die. The danger is that it gets replaced by some kind of complacent dogmatism, which is at least equally unhealthy. The Greek sceptics thought that confronting a plurality of perspectives is the beginning of wisdom, and I think they were right. It is certainly the beginning of historiography and anthropology, and if we think, for instance, of the Copernican revolution, of self-conscious science. The trick is to benefit from an imaginative awareness of diversity, without falling into a kind of “anything goes” wishy-washy nihilism or scepticism….”

It looks like we’ve been dealing with such a problem for a long time, in one form or another.

Niall Ferguson notes something important about networks of patronage in the academy; networks increasingly colonized by people of Left-liberal persuasion and their moral lights (sometimes out-and out- Marxists):  Disagreement is typically seen as personal, heretical and beyond the bounds of presumed acceptability.  Should one disagree one is fair game to be mobbed as not merely wrong, nor mistaken, but as potentially ‘evil’ and a target for character attacks, shaming, and exclusion.

When you have heads of departments, faculty, and university Presidents committed to some aspect of the Left-liberal moral lights and their own careers and obligations (if not the out-and-out radicalism), don’t expect them to side with heretics.

It’s worth revisiting how Ferguson’s wife, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, using the products of Western thought, has pretty much been excluded from polite society in challenging Islamists because such challenges violate the tenets of the current replacements for religion (the Left-liberals and out- and out- Marxists in the academy):

‘Yesterday Brandeis University decided to withdraw an honorary degree they were to confer upon me next month during their Commencement exercises. I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me — just a few hours before issuing a public statement — to say that such a decision had been made.’

Tunku Varadarajan Reviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Nomad’ At The Daily Beast

Christopher Hitchens At Slate: Yale SurrendersYale concluded that the risk of violence and the potential consequences that stemmed from their decision to publish a scholarly work about the Mohammed cartoons (reprinting those cartoons) was not worth the risk.  Hitchens is not a fan of religion.

The Intellectual Cowardice Of The Crowd-Charles Murray At Middlebury College Race,

Free Speech And All That-John Derbyshire Will Not Be Appearing At Williams College

Repost At The Request Of A Reader-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?

Hirsi Ali seems to have found the embrace of the West out of both tribal localism and its customs, Islam, and the short-sightedness of multiculturalism.  Notice non-Muslims are not the ones threatening her with death: Tunku Varadarajan Reviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Nomad’ At The Daily BeastRepost-Ayan Hirsi Ali At The CSM: ‘Swiss Ban On Minarets Was A Vote ForTolerance And Inclusion’

On Niall Ferguson’s new Biography- ‘Kissinger: Volume I: The Idealist.1923-1968:’

FT review.

The Economist

Ferguson discusses the first volume in D.C.

Tunku Varadarajan Reviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Nomad’ At The Daily Beast

Review here.

“Of Somali birth and upbringing, Hirsi Ali fled to the Netherlands as a young woman to escape marriage to a much older man, forced upon her by her father; there, she learned Dutch, became Dutch, and was elected to parliament, only to leave for America after her forthright criticism of Islam made her too radioactive for the disappointingly timid Dutch to handle.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali suggests that in Islamic cultures, there really hasn’t been anything like the Enlightenment.  Honor killings, women kept apart from men, women kept under religious garments and in the home is not a matter of debate, but rather, a mandate from God and the only way to run your society.   Islam demands that you submit your will in faith to God, and well, that’s usually the end of the discussion.  In this vein, Hirsi Ali might be something of an Islamic reformer and has garnered skepticism, dismissal, anger and death threats from the Muslim world.

As mentioned, Hirsi Ali’s main target is Islam, and the injustice done against her by Muslims in the name of Islam, and she does so while using Western ideas and criticizing excessive relativism and multiculturalism as inadequate defenders of those Western ideas.   Muslims immigrate but are never fully integrated into their new, European societies.  They languish in generational ghettoes, maintaining their own cultures and languages and customs, and a wall of anger, resentment, injustice, xenophobia and suspicion builds.  Whatever injustice she argues Islam delivered upon her, misunderstanding dominates in this environment and many guiding political ideas are simply not profound nor accurate enough to get over that wall.

If you’ve read the book, please share your thoughts.

Also On This Site:  Many libertarians stand firm on freedom of speech:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra LevantFrom Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’Christopher Hitchens At Slate: Yale SurrendersYale concluded that the risk of violence and the potential consequences that stemmed from their decision to publish a scholarly work about the Mohammed cartoons (reprinting those cartoons) was not worth the risk.  Hitchens is not a fan of religion.

Does Hirsi Ali really want to court the darker tendencies of the hard European right…or point out the flaws of the re-sentiment filled left?:  Repost-Ayan Hirsi Ali At The CSM: ‘Swiss Ban On Minarets Was A Vote For Tolerance And Inclusion’

A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea: From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’

Is Islam incompatibile with freedom as we define it here in the West?, and is this a particularly British, Church Of England, problem?:  From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

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