Ali vs. Harris
Ayaan Hirsi Ali takes on Lee Harris and wins in the first round. In a new book Harris examines the West and declares that its main problem is its reliance on reason. Harris gives his reasons in a recent article on the conservative website, TCS Daily. Harris’ final paragraph sums it up:
“In a world that absurdly overrates the advantage of sheer brain power, no one wants to be seen as a member in good standing of the stupid party [as John Stuart Mill once called the British Conservative Party]. Yet stupidity has been and will always remain the best defense mechanism against the ordinary conman and the intellectual dreamer.”
Harris’ bizarre mental gymnastics leads to the above conclusion. Perhaps he’s strangling in his own rationalistic sophistry. Ayaan, flaws and all, still gets to the essence of reason: it is a process of grasping reality that is iterative, testable, and self-correcting.
“Enlightenment thinkers, preoccupied with both individual freedom and secular and limited government, argued that human reason is fallible. They understood that reason is more than just rational thought; it is also a process of trial and error, the ability to learn from past mistakes. The Enlightenment cannot be fully appreciated without a strong awareness of just how frail human reason is. That is why concepts like doubt and reflection are central to any form of decision-making based on reason. “
It is individualistic in both process and purpose.
“But what makes
“Harris also fails to address the enemies of reason within the West: religion and the Romantic movement. It is out of rejection of religion that the Enlightenment emerged; Romanticism was a revolt against reason.”
“Both the Romantic movement and organized religion have contributed a great deal to the arts and to the spirituality of the Western mind, but they share a hostility to modernity. Moral and cultural relativism (and their popular manifestation, multiculturalism) are the hallmarks of the Romantics.”
Perfect? Perhaps not but she goes for the jugular. You have got to love her.
Update1: Ayaan is under constant threat from Islamists. Support her protection. (Hat Tip Jeff Perren)