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December 07, 2005

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Craig

He loses me here: "If so, brief memo to neocons: proven materialistic explanations of nature like evolution don't equate with dangerous crackpot philosophies like Marxism." Returning to the presumably substantive content of his post, I'm not sure what he's saying!

Mandos

You're right that the letter-writer's point is a little vague. I think he's trying to say that neocon motivations (as expressed in the work of the Kristols') for denying evolutionary theory are based on a faulty equation between the threat of communism and the necessary intellectual framework required for scientific inquiry.

As I understand it, and you can correct me, but communists believe that they can determine a "scientific, materialist" theory of the progress of human societies. The letter-writer is saying that the neocons motivation for denying evolution is based on his desire to reject his interpretation of the ideas of Marx. Not only are the motivations of these neocons incorrect, as biological research proceeds with or without Marxism, but his science is wrong anyway.

I think the letter-writer is also vaguely trying to imply that neocons are deluded in all areas as well, and that their delusions are also what is driving THIS aspect of American politics among the other more well known ones.

Mandos

Still, I posted this since I thought that all references to fancy-shmancy political theorists or whatever attracted your salivation. I mean, can't I simply post something like "Strauss Kojeve Heidegger..." with all these names in random order and sound intelligent? *snerk*

Craig

As I understand it, and you can correct me, but communists believe that they can determine a "scientific, materialist" theory of the progress of human societies.

Some do, but they aren't the only ones, of course. Perhaps strangely, the idea is that the "means of production" (i.e., machines, tools, technology) essentially drive everything else. If there is a revolution in the means of production (spinning jenny, steam engine, microprocessors, etc) then this will force a change in the entire mode of production. That's the story at the most crude level. And there are crude people, but I'd like to think they are in the minority. But this, of course, isn't the beginning and end of "materialism", which we might want to call a rationalism purged of all idealism.

I think the letter-writer is also vaguely trying to imply that neocons are deluded in all areas as well, and that their delusions are also what is driving THIS aspect of American politics among the other more well known ones.

Quite possible. I don't know much about Himmelfarb, except that she endorses Thatcher's claim that 'Victorian values are timeless and eternal'. Not sure what that means -- the contradiction is right there. And, it turns out, what we think of as 'Victorian values' weren't. Vicky herself was, apparently, a nympho, of sorts.

Straussian Neocon

LOL this makes perfect sense. Kristol is not a creationist by any stretch. However, he probably thinks that evolution is dangerous since it tends to promulgate dangerous ideas in the minds of the non-scientific class. He's essentially arguing that it isn't true but it should be promoted to some degree to keep the social order in optimized.

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