Recommended Sunday Reading

Two pieces from National Review are worth your time today.

My bullshit detector redlines when I hear politicians talk about eschewing ideology and labeling themselves as mere pragmatists. Anthony Dick lays bare clever conceit behind our post ideological president-elect to show that pragmatism is a just another disguise for ideology.

When people praise a policy or a politician as “pragmatic,” they’re often simply praising themselves for being open-minded. They are projecting a false pretense of objectivity, premised on the conceit that they are utterly free of ideology while their opponents are mired in prejudice. In fact, a so-called pragmatist’s support for a policy indicates only two things: that he agrees with the policy’s goal, and that he believes the policy is likely to achieve the goal in an efficient way. But these are precisely the controversies at the core of every old ideological dispute: Which goals should we strive for? And what is the best way to achieve these goals? Pragmatism as a catch phrase does not displace those ideological questions, but does a great deal to obscure them. It is, to borrow from Kant, a vain delusion and a chimerical vision of mankind. Which, on second thought, might explain its popularity in the age of Hope and Change.

Hollywood’s reverence for Ché Guevara and communist thugs in general, is a bête noire of mine. I recommend Mark Goldblatt’s piece on Steven Soderbergh’s new hagiographic biopic of Ché.

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The truth of the matter is that Nazism, Islamism, and Communism are all totalitarian movements. All three stand in direct opposition to Enlightenment values of religious tolerance and rational inquiry. All three seek to exterminate whoever stands in their way. Nazism justifies its genocide in the name of racial purity. Islamism, in the name of spiritual purity. Communism, in the name of socio-economic purity. One way or another, the shallow graves get filled.

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