Blaming the Victims

My review of Bruce Bawer’s The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind for Reason.com is now up.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t like it.

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11 Responses to Blaming the Victims

  1. Sprudlum October 9, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    Wasn’t Reason founded on the inspiration of Ayn Rand’s ideas ?

    It’s depressing to read the comments beneath the review, displaying a consistent loathing of philosophers and philosophy and every other field of study, that is not instrumental in putting food on the table and money in their bank accounts. It’s a study in the spontaneous disorder of the commentators minds, not a nice spectacle.

    I believe Rand once said something to the effect that those least interested in philosophy are those who need it most urgently.

    I thought Rand was in vogue in the US, but I suppose that is limited to her political and economical ideas. Food for the stomach, not for the mind.

    Your review was a good read, though.

    • JOR October 10, 2012 at 12:06 am #

      It’s almost always depressing to read the comments on anything posted at the Reason website.

      Rand’s vogue in the US does not even really extend to her political and economic ideas. The typical political capitalist that name-drops Rand is a stunning embodiment of a Randian villain.

    • James J. October 10, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      I don’t think it’s just reflexive dismissal of philosophy in the vein of somebody who doesn’t get it and doesn’t see the value of it. I think the loathing of philosophy on display here is a more deep-seated fear of having one’s convictions unsettled.

      One of my Facebook friends (back when I was on FB) had a B.A. in philosophy and was working on a Ph.D. in sociology of religion frequently expressed dismay at what he called “neofoundationalism”: a rigid commitment to a certain set of convictions coupled with outrage that other people don’t share them. It’s basically one of the hallmarks of contemporary political and religious debate, on pretty much all sides.

  2. Sergio Méndez October 10, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    The comments are a disgrace. I wonder what kind of dead brain nuts read Reason. I feel sad to get mixed in the same bag with such mass of morons.

    • JOR October 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

      On the bright side, no matter what you identify yourself as, you’re going to get mixed in the same bag with a mass of morons.

      …maybe that’s not a bright side.

  3. James J. October 10, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    I see I’m not the only one dismayed by the comments. I expected a lively debate between left- and right-libertarians; I got a tidal wave of right-wing ignorance and philosophy-bashing.

    Is it me or has anyone else noticed that when a group is irrationally sure of themselves — e.g. religious fundamentalists, political nuts, science-has-all-the-answers types, cranks of various sorts — one of the first groups that gets blasted is philosophers? Not just, “Some philosophers are hacks” (which nobody’d disagree with), or “Philosophy could be done better if we did it some radically different way” (e.g. Rorty) but real, hardcore philosophy-is-just-bullshit attacks?

  4. Brandon October 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    “You must have an account and be logged in to comment. ” So those comments must be highly representative of their readership at large.

  5. Roderick October 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    I avoid reading the comments at Reason.com; as Charles says somewhere, the comments section there is a black hole created by hundreds of ultradense comments, and its event horizon must never be crossed.

    • Null Void October 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

      The real shame is that, once upon a time, the comment section was one of the places for intelligent discussion and debate on the internet. Period. Something happened; perhaps it was the crash, perhaps it was the TP, perhaps it was Glenn Beck. Who knows. Breaks my heart all the same.

      Perhaps it was a conscious policy; if I recall correctly, this young lady with the handle “Drunken Atheist” mentions a whole lot of people were banned. Maybe it was part of a policy of turning hard right.

      In any case, it is quite…strange. The past four years have been interesting times.

      • JOR October 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

        Not really sure about that. Roderick is hardly the only writer there who gets dismissed by commenters as some kind of leftist stooge, so I don’t think it’s because the magazine itself has swung right. I do think the Obama administration has jaded libertarians in general toward the left and with concerns associated with it (in the same way that the Bush administration finally slapped some sense into the Lew Rockwell crowd about the right) and brought out latent right-sympathetic tendencies, but even that doesn’t explain the general thoughtlessness in the comments section. Most left-wing and left-leaning websites and attendent comment sections are at least as stupid as Reason, after all.

        • Roderick October 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

          I found the exact quote from Charles:

          Imagine that when a comment is particularly dense, it exerts a certain gravitational force proportional to its density. Now if enough comments of sufficient density are brought together in a sufficiently small space, their mutual attraction will pull them together beyond the Schwarzchild radius, creating a black hole, where no possible illumination can overcome the gravitational force; nor can any traveler who slips across its event horizon ever return, or even survive. No structured information whatever can survive the crushing forces of a black hole; everything becomes so maximally dense that it is pure mass without structure, light, or the possibility of escape. This is in fact the best explanation why H&R comment threads exist in an alternate dimension inaccessible to the rest of our universe, and why you should never, ever try to go into them.

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