The Humble Enlightenment of the Not-So-Well-Educated

Every now and then I come across conservative think-pieces decrying the arrogant ignorance of “well-educated” liberals on the blogosphere. They’re always so inspiring. Written so intelligently and charitably, always trying to understand the other side, they are just the pinnacle of enlightened thinking. So unlike us damn, dirty liberals.

And is it any wonder? They know so much about theology. They understand that even though our gods are sometimes violent, sometimes merciful, sometimes hot-tempered, sometimes patient, sometimes inconsistent, they’re totally not made by human hands. I mean, the fact that they more often than not resemble us — well, us as children with super powers — obviously means that the order of creation flows from the divine to us. Oh, but more than anything, they are enlightened because they understand just how relevant theological knowledge is in a secular society. “Never mind the fact that theological claims cannot be verified nor undermined,” they so rightfully cry. “Never mind the fact that the special moral claims of our divines can’t be justified on non-religious terms. They deserve to be taken into account in the legislative system of our secular society!”.

Oh, and they know so much about philosophy. They’re so knowledgeable about Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas. They also realize that all they really need are the Western philosophers. Eastern philosophy? Of course not! Why should we need to know anything about them? I mean, those dead Greeks are the foundation of Western society. Why should they study anything else? We need not study Lao Tzu, Siddhartha Gautama, Confucius, Rumi, or Nanak Dev. It’s not like they have had any impact on anyone’s thinking, on the organization of any society. Only Western thinkers have philosophical insight and the ability to leave an impact.

And they know so much about history. They understand that the spoils never go to the victor, that history is just an open book to be read. They know that value judgments and biased accounts only happen when we read it or our professors teach it. The historical record is pure on its own — if only we could step outside of our twenty-first century perspective and see that! Yes, if only we could divest ourselves of the very apparatus that we need to understand the world, that we’ve been raised with from birth — no problem! Oh, and they also understand that analyzing history and identifying certain customs and behaviors as racist, sexist, or unjust is anything but trying to learn from the past and avoid past mistakes. They also understand that it’s so obviously impossible to understand historical events and then evaluate them from a normative perspective. Nope, if you ever start evaluating, you were never objective to begin with.

And they know so much about literature. I mean, they use the titles of those works so cleverly in their critiques of us damn, dirty liberals. Anyway, this isn’t about their admirable writing skills. They are so enlightened because they are totally able to divest themselves of their 21st-century lenses and confirm it. They never existed in the times when great literature was written, so they don’t really know what it’s like to think and live as one of them, but that doesn’t matter. They’re totally able to confirm that they have become objective by adopting the author’s exact worldview in their analysis of great literature. How? By referencing those oh-so-objective historical records, of course.

Oh ye conservatives, shining stars of enlightenment, help us arrogant, ignorant liberals become objective, fair, and charitable in argument just like you. It’s in the name of the White Christian God (who we did not create) we pray. Amen.

I don’t do satire very often. It seems like an emotionally driven writing style, and I don’t do good philosophy when my writing and thinking is emotionally driven. Sometimes, though, I come across an article that pushes my buttons just the right amount and I feel compelled to respond (*cough* this one *cough*). I’ll explain the philosophical ideas behind this piece of satire later.



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