Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mark Lilla Discovers the Necessity of Truth

12/7/2016--What is happening to our politics is that we are cracking up because we don’t any longer believe in Truth. Here is a quote from the New York Times about the fake news that many people now read:

“The larger problem, experts say, is more insidious. Fake news, and the proliferation of raw opinion that passes for news, is creating confusion, punching holes in what is true, causing a kind of fun house effect that leaves the reader doubting everything.”

The writer is presumably unaware that this is no accident. The phrase “doubt everything” was the method of Descartes, who is, in many ways the spiritual ancestor of today’s progressives.

In other words, smart people brought us to this situation, not hoi polloi.

Which brings me to Mark Lilla, one of those smart persons. Lilla had the nerve to write a story on November 20 in the New York Times Sunday Review about the End of Identity Liberalism. A healthy politics has to be about commonality, he wrote.

But, back in 2007, in his book, the Stillborn God, Lilla sounded much more like the New Atheist he was then. Lilla’s earlier view was that politics was about the pursuit of individual conceptions of the good. He would have said then that there is no Truth, there are just the truths people choose.

Of course people change their minds. Maybe Lilla has done so. But it would be helpful if Lilla would spend one moment reflecting publicly-—I presume he has done so privately—-on how he contributed to the current disaster. Someone like Lilla could really cause some soul searching.

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