the funniest thing about all these ‘true liberals’ on the internet, who continually like to invoke their ‘first principles’ and throw around the big shiny Enlightenment word, is that it’s quite clear none of them have ever read an Enlightenment text or thinker.
their relation to the Enlightenment is the same relation between the nazis and Aryans, i.e. self-invented and mythical, contrary to all fact and field datum. the only difference is they go off on wild rambling missions on online blogs and comment sites now, rather than sending expeditionary forces to find hidden treasures in the Himalayas that would establish once and for all their God-men lineages.
consider the utter meaninglessness of Jay’s self-aggrandising talk about vouchsafing the Enlightenment ‘tradition’, when everywhere he seems to be about as classically illiberal as can be possible.
the entire impetus of the Enlightenment was to instrumentalise reason and rationality to form new societies, governed by the wise and protected against the caprices of despotism. it was the era which saw the widespread enlargement and establishment of institutions such as the modern 'liberal' university and the promulgation of learning for learning's sake -- of renaissance scholarship and a renewed interest in classicism. jay hates elites and the educated; he distrusts credentials; he thinks taking lessons from history or learning is mere copying of exam answers.
the entire idea of Enlightenment politics, revolutionary or not, was to set-up systems of checks and balances on absolute power, to separate powers between church and state, to establish non-partisan legal systems and judiciaries who would judge every man as the same before the law; to encourage independent fourth estates of journalists and writers who could hold power to account, and wield facts and bring uncomfortable truths to public light; legalism and due process over absolute authority and the divine right of kings and leaders.
Jay is full of regurgitated complaint when judges rule against leaders and meddle in government (as in the UK supreme court’s reversal of bojo’s illegal prorogation). he thinks that journalists are the ‘worst’ group of people in society, only ever out to frustrate leaders and sow discord.
liberal societies were firmly rooted in the idea of the public space, the agora, a place where informed and reasoned individuals could debate and exchange ideas, to the mutual enrichment of all; a complex system of competing interests and views finely navigated; compromise and comity. Jay thinks every issue is down to the people in blue ties messing everything up for the people in red blazers.
in fact, every single attitude that jay expresses in the name of his impeccable and noble ‘Enlightenment’ vision is actually pre-Enlightenment. he is always on the side of executive power and thinks that due process, checks and balances and public scrutiny should be smoothed over and expedited wherever possible. Jay’s politics are monarchy-lite. no surprises that the quisling authoritarian has sweat on his top lip for fancy philosophical ideas he’s never taken any efforts to read outside the National Review.
Last edited by uziq (2020-04-11 05:57:50)