John C. Wright…

John C. Wright… May 9, 2012

…on What’s Wrong With the World.

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  • Caine

    Odd. Almost every link gives me a bad reference (404) error. However may that IS what’s wrong with the world!

  • Mark S (not for Shea)

    Either his links are broken, or his sense of irony is way over my head.

  • iClaudius

    Something’s not Wright with those links.

  • Jim in Ohio

    I was able to get to the first article here:

    Then you can page through them with the arrow at the top.

  • kenneth

    Yeah, the links are broken but it’s just as well. It looks like quite a lengthy set of indictments, and I don’t have time for that these days. As an Angry Old White Guy trainee, I’m supposed to be working on my own “What’s Wrong with the World” screed.

  • A Philosopher

    Hmm. So Picasso’s painting is part of what’s wrong with the world, but Heinlein’s portrayal of women isn’t. Color me unconvinced.

  • John C Wright

    The links have been fixed.
    The essay does not say Heinlein’s portrayal of women is not wrong. All it says is that Heinlein, an enthusiastic supporter of everything wrong in the world, was treated ungratefully by his fellow partisans of the sexual revolution, which is condemned in no uncertain terms.
    An anonymous reader should not call himself a philosopher if he avoids the basic philosophical duty of honesty. Making up falsehoods about an article in order to criticize it is a breach of that duty.

    • ds

      I’m a little disappointed by the fixed links. I was hoping that all the broken links was a commentary on Chesterton. Since he had a book by the same title, maybe you were implying he was some kind of empty blowhard (which is true). But as you like Chesterton, and sadly so does Mark, I guess it only makes sense that I was wrong.

      Oh btw HI JOHN! I loved the Golden Age trilogy, and I thoroughly enjoyed Count to a Trillion (although it seemed to run out of gas a little at the end, did you kinda run out of gas on that one?). Please keep writing Sci Fi.

      • “[Chesterton] was some kind of empty blowhard (which is true)”

        Examples, please? Come on. In all of the hundreds of books, thousands of essays, and millions of words, can you find at least one example demonstrating that Chesterton was an empty blowhard?

        • ds

          I’m pretty sure “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” is some vapid BS, and although I’m pretty sure Chesterton didn’t write that, all his incredibly deep conclusions always SOUND like that. Seriously, dude flipped the script so often and predictably he shoulda ended all his essays with “and now you know the rest of the story. This is GK Chesteron………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………GOOD DAY!
          That and anti-semitism conveniently ignored/denied by all his fans.

          • Mark Shea

            I had no idea you were such a shallow reader.

            • ds

              You must have suspected.

          • That’s it? Chesterton’s rhetoric sounds like a quip I don’t like, ergo he’s an empty blowhard? Is there any reason why we should take your “criticisms” seriously?

            And yes, the anti-semitism charge takes its lonely turn across the stage. When all else fails, bring that up. Again, with no solid examples.

            • ds

              Well, cripes, guys, I never claimed to be not shallow, like, personally.

              Chesterton: Jews are Ok in England if they wear arab dress because they are a foreign nation, and can never be true english citizens. Wiser (less shallow) minds than I discuss here:
              Chesterton: If Henry ford says there’s a jewish problem, then there’s definitely a jewish problem. Um, GK, citing Henry Ford as proof of “Jewish problems” kinda makes you an anti-semite more than it proves “Jewish Problems”

              Having shown what little I know of Chesterton, I am willing to believe that he isn’t an evil-Hitler kinda anti-semite, just an unfortunate product of his times kind of anti semite, and also it’s a minor part of his work and character. But if you ever mention the possibility of anti-semitism the chestertonians become apoplectic.

              • Mark Shea

                I don’t become apoplectic. Chesterton’s typical Edwardian attitude toward Jews makes him a man of his times. So? Are you without flaws? And it should be noted that he was one of the first in England to say something about the menace of Hitler. (Also, he was ferociously hostile to the trendy racialism of the 20s elites.) It was more your dumb dismissal of Chesterton as nothing more than a Paul Harvey I found shallow and silly.

              • We don’t become apoplectic. We get exasperated at this approach. When all other misrepresentations of Chesterton and his thought and his writings fail, the critics trot out the tried and true anti-semitism charge, which is just as baseless, but which they hope will shut up Chesterton’s supporters once and for all.

                Proof-texting Chesterton for alleged anti-semitism is a dead-end. You may as well proof-text the Gospel of John for anti-semitism. Not an single “quote” bears up under scrutinity. Furthermore, compared to what Chesterton wrote and criticized about capitalists, socialists, the aristocricy, doctors, teachers, feminists, America, England, Germany, German philosophers, eugenicists, the Church of England, puritans, Catholics, Buddhists, the industrial revolution, the Irish, detective fiction, World War I, the Boer War, chalk, his hat, art, history, cheese, Thomas Hardy, fairies, Jesus, the Middle Ages, Santa Claus, France, India, and a thousand other topics, he wrote relatively little about Jews. Yet the critics home in on that, and ignore the rest (except for one fellow who called Chesterton anti-German because of the negative things he wrote about German philosophers).

                It makes me think that they (a) have an agenda, (b) don’t know what they’re talking about, and (c) haven’t even done any research themselves, but are regurgitating what other people say, who also don’t know what they’re talking about.

                Gilbert Magazine devoted an entire issue to Chesterton and the Jews in December, 2008, addressing each and every criticism. If I can dig up the link, I’ll post it.

                • ds

                  Interesting response, Sean. What did GKC criticize about Jesus? About India? About his hat?

                • I am more and more inclined to agree with Mark: I am finding you shallow and silly.

      • Mark Shea

        There’s something wrong with liking Chesterton? I will never understand some people.

    • A Philosopher

      “The typical witch-hunt mentality of the Left was brought to bear on these discussions: Heinlein, an advocate of sexual liberty in all things, was now a s*xist and a homophobe.”

      Heinlein gets called a s*xist because of the rampant sexism of his writing. (Note, by the way, that being in favor of s*xual liberty in all thing goes exactly zero distance toward making one not a s*xist.) Since you take the “Left”‘s characterization of Heinlein as a s*xist as a sign of what’s wrong with the world, I take it that either you think that Heinlein’s portrayal of isn’t wrong, or that it’s wrong to point out things that aren’t wrong. I then charitable impute the first of these two.

      (Asterisks added to bypass the ridiculous nanny filter.)

  • “Heinlein gets called a s*xist because of the rampant sexism of his writing.”

    Well, I’m unconvinced. I’ve read Heinlein, and besides his progressive thinking on incest and pedophilia (which I expect will be other sexual “taboos” which will fall some time in the future), it seems he would fit in nicely with your ordinary modern leftist. You’ll need to be more specific than this.

    • A Philosopher

      “Nine times out of ten, if a girl gets raped it’s partly her fault.”

      But really I’m not interested in proof-texting the claim. If you can read books like Stranger in a Strange Land, Number of the Beast, I Will Fear No Evil, and many others, in which the female characters are consistently defined primarily via their sexuality, and exist only to meet the transparent stand-in character for Heinlein and subserviate themselves to him, I don’t think any blog-length comment is going to provide convincing evidence.

      • Well, that’s an example. However, I was thinking of strong female protagonists such as Friday (who is raped and tortured on assignment, and it’s made clear then that rape is disgusting).

        I think the following statement is closer to the truth:

        Gary Westfahl points out that “Heinlein is a problematic case for feminists; on the one hand, his works often feature strong female characters and vigorous statements that women are equal to or even superior to men; but these characters and statements often reflect hopelessly stereotypical attitudes about typical female attributes. It is disconcerting, for example, that in Expanded Universe Heinlein calls for a society where all lawyers and politicians are women, essentially on the grounds that they possess a mysterious feminine practicality that men cannot duplicate.”

        If moderns/progressives think that stating differences between the sexes is sexist, then I think I understand the charge of sexism. It does seem that for moderns/progressives equality means “the same as”, and that Heinlein didn’t take that path.

  • Observer

    Philosophy becomes somewhat abolished by nihililsm because it cannot bear fruit in – ready for this one as hard? as it is to say -a non-philosophy philosophy (or better, the philosophy of undoing philosophy.)
    However, the stangest thing is philosophy isn’t really undone. Sure, the real life of philosophy is ruined. But, the existence of philosophy cannot be undone.

    The rashness and unruly demonstration with which has taken philosophy down the tubes has been really an act of thievry. Sort of how the dragon had taken and stole with violence, in the Hobbit, all the gold, gems, and armory in the city under the Mountain from the dwarves. The dragon in a sense represents the characterization of nihilistic philosophy taking away philosophy (i.e. all that is good – gold, gems, things of value, etc.) You could even venture upon the parable of the lazy servant.

    The point is philosophy is being stolen and intentionally possesed in a vault of nihilistic thought which philosophy becomes dead (i.e. as the wealth and items which the dragon could do no good. Or, as irrationality of the lazy servant burying his talent.)