6/18/2018--What do we do when we really smart people are blind? The question arises out of a review in the New York Review of Books by the novelist Norman Rush of a book of essays by the public intellectual, Teju Cole.
According to Rush, Cole’s essays concern “an array of thematic problems routinely confounding to the educated secular leftcentric urban readerships of today. Here are two examples among the many that Cole discusses. One: In a world that is post-credal, post-religion, and post-socialism, in what should humanism be grounded? Two: When liberal empires engage in overseas criminality, what are the responsibilities of that empire’s domestic beneficiaries—the lucky, the talented, the wealthy?”
Cole reports that he was very excited when Barack Obama was elected President. Unlike George W. Bush, Obama was a literate, educated, thoughtful man. Cole writes, “We had, once again, a reader in chief.”
But then over time there was the realization that this man, Barack Obama, would kill, especially in drone strikes. Maybe several hundred, maybe three thousand, including women, children and innocent young men. Cole is devasted: “How on earth did this happen to the reader in chief? What became of literature’s vaunted power to inspire empathy?”
Well I can tell you exactly what happened—-Obama lives in a post-credal age. He is too smart to be taken in by simplistic Church nonsense about the sanctity of human life. Who taught him all this—-Teju Cole and people like him.
We don’t live in a post-credal age. Cole knows that the drone hits are criminal. They are wrong. So, let’s not blather about post-anything. Let’s try to revivify morality. Simplistic, old fashioned morality. Otherwise, we are playing into the hands of power.