I suggest that it’s not WHAT people think that’s dividing the country, it’s HOW people think. The divide is not A Conflict of Visions or ideologies or sacred values per se. Those are effects. It’s a conflict of cognitive styles, psychological profiles, operating systems if you will. These are the causes from which the effects follow.
The Teloses of Social Justice and Truth described in this lecture…..
…could as easily be metaphorically characterized as the the cognitive styles of Platonic idealism and Aristotelian empiricism. I’d even be so bold as to suggest that the latter metaphor is more accurate from the standpoint of psychological social science.
For evidence of this I submit the list of professors who have suffered the wrath of the illiberal left, from Nicholas Christakis to Bret Weinstein to Michael Rectenwald to Lindaay Shepherd to Jordan Peterson. As far as I know most, if not all, of them consider themselves to be ideologically liberals. Their crimes have less to do with values, principles, or tenets and more to do with thinking the wrong *way.*
I suggest that the popularity of Jordan Peterson, Lindsay Shepherd, the Weinsteins, Gad Saad, Camille Paglia, CH Sommers, The Prager U videos, Prager himself, Tim Keller, and even folks like Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro, is because they’re critical thinkers. They’re Aristotelian empiricists. Their ideology itself is almost immaterial. They offer refreshing clarity and direction in a world of anomie and chaos. Students in particular and people in general are starving for it.
It’s true that the Telos of Social Justice is incompatible with the Telos of Truth. But it’s ALSO true that the Telos of Social Justice is incompatible with education itself, whereas the Telos of Truth epitomizes it.
In my experience out here in the business world the people who get ahead tend to be the clear-thinking Aristotelian empiricists.
In a recent tweet somebody suggested to Heterodox Academy the idea of starting a new university with all the ousted professors. If that hypothetical school were to become reality it would be inundated with applications, and graduates would become the stars of the business and political worlds.
I sense a great opportunity somewhere in all this; a market demand, so to speak, that’s begging to be filled.
Viewpoint diversity alone can’t fill it. Viewpoint diversity alone suggests intellectual equivalence between the two ways of thinking; it normalizes unequal things. It suggests that the Coddled thinking of the Platonic idealism – the Telos Social Justice – is as valid and rigorous and worthy as is the disciplined thinking of the the Aristotelian empiricism of Telos of Truth. I suggest that this Procrustean intellectual equivalence between unequal things confuses students more than it helps them. They’re begging for clarity but getting hand waving and obfuscation, apparently in pursuit of some sense of “fairness” that on the long run is actually UNfair.
I suggest that what CAN fill it is for somebody somewhere to get off the fence and pick a side. Talk about the elephant on the room. Call it out, expose it for what is. Teach, require, demand the enlightenment norms of evidence and argumentation; the Telos of Truth. Don’t just *say* that “entrenched yet questionable orthodoxies” exist. Take the next step. Proactively seek out and destroy them. They’re intellectual land mines that damage political discourse. Replace them with reality as we know it. The Righteous Mind does this superbly. Teach it. Use it to defuse the mines.