Friday, August 26, 2005

George Galloway: Philosopher King

Galloway is the British MP who is accused (credibly) of having shady deals with Saddam Husein; who has bashed the US (and the UK) as being the real terrorists; and who has apologized consistently for Muslim radicalism while bashing the Jewish state. As you probably remember, earlier this year he went before congress and gave a perfectly ridiculous performance. Part sophistry, part posturing, Galloway is idiot leftism on wheels.

So I'm exploring one of my favorite blogs, Right Reason: the weblog for philosophical conservatism, when I come across a post from the British philosopher Roger Scruton, whom I greatly admire. The post was on prejudice, and our confusing the original definition of prejudice, a pre-judgment, with the later, more commonplace definition which implies irrational bigotry. The former is made with the facts still to come, but the later is maintained irrespective of facts. In other words, I may have a prejudice that a particular street in a black neighborhood is unsafe and crime infested (not having, say, the evidence that a neighborhood association has cleaned up the block), but that is a far cry from the irrational, mean-spirited belief that blacks are, generally speaking, a criminal race. In the latter case, no evidence will convince the bigot that his egregious views are false (Scruton's point was more complicated, but you get the drift).

In the comments section a professor of Philosophy named "Wai" took great umbrage at Dr. Scruton's post. Among her complaints was that Scruton's notion of acceptable prejudice (as in a preference for time-honored, common-sense beliefs) has contributed to the lowering of intellectual discourse in this country. But notice what "Wai" gives as an example of eloquent, rational argumentation:

"The prevailing condition in this country is avoidance of not only reasoned argument but any genuine argument at all. The result is that every form of nut and crank can flourish and the measure of success is how many people find you entertaining. What passes for discourse has become nothing but shouting and name calling. This was illustrated with great beauty by the recent oratory by George Galloway, MP. Faced with a resolute, eloquent, informed, and reasoning being, our political savants were completely nonplussed."

I had to read this a few times to see if it really said what I thought it said. Is Professor Wai really giving George Galloway's pompous, bilious, appeasement of Islam as an example of how reasoned discourse cuts through the flotsam and jetsam of everyday shouting and name calling? It would seem so; in the sentence, Galloway is posited against our "political savants." Am I reading this correctly?

I would love to ask her. Alas, the posting was from last May and I don't know what lucky institution of higher learning is privileged to employ the erudite Ms. Wai.

CORRECTION: Oops. I see from another, unrelated post on Right Reason, that Professor Wai is a man, not a woman. I just assumed the professor was female. Talk about prejudice!!


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