I’ve been neglecting Brazil. Certain girls are thinking, no you’ve been neglecting ME, tell me I’m gorgeous, post a printed-out picture of me with your jizz all over it. That’s a bit demanding.
When I approach Brazil my first concern is what its universities are like. I see something timeless about this approach. Because if a given country’s universities are doing what they’re supposed to be doing then all the rest of the problems are solved. Brazil has one of the highest murder rates in the world so that’s a dead giveaway that something is off there. While maybe it sounds crude, my first thought is of pitbulls, and of giving them a sort of doggy xanax, just until they figure things out. People don’t like to hear the pragmatic strategy for solving this problem. A eugenics program that weeds out the criminals – one can go about this “sensitively” through limiting people categorized as criminal-types to one child. Better zero children- that’s “insensitive” though for some reason. If you want to “fix” society, well, there are speedy and less speedy ways of going about that. Anyway, I digress. I was researching the top universities of the MENA region the other day and saw that many are located in Saudi Arabia, and I scrolled through those for a bit, to find, not to my surprise, that there isn’t much philosophy taught there. While you might get tired of me justifying philosophy all the time, if you knew the true nature of what philosophy is you’d understand that half the battle is justifying its existence since most are hostile to it – and if they’re not hostile to it there’s a decent chance it’s only going by the name of “philosophy” while being an empty fortifier of the status quo. Do you want society to get better or not? If so then we need to talk about philosophy. It’s close to non-existent in the institutional education of the Muslim world because it’s the #1 enemy of Islam. Better a nuke to be dropped on Mecca than for a legitimate philosophy department to be installed in Riyadh or Tehran. I have to pass over in silence an example I think of because I know I’m addressing westerners with their own version of “Mecca” and talking about certain things is equivalent to nuking it.
Let’s stick with Brazil though since people are less touchy about that place. “Wait, that’s a country not a movie?” Nah they’re not that bad, it’s pretty close to that though. If they had a philosophy department in São Paulo devoted to improving Brazilian society you have to understand that it would cause the people to surround the campus with torches and pitchforks, or in these modern times, something deadlier. That’s what philosophy is, what it does, and why societies around the world are so slow to improve. It’s really pretty simple- philosophy tells people what they believe and then questions whether they’re right to believe that. People prefer to just believe what they believe without even knowing it’s what they believe. So this two-part infuriation is actually one and the same. Even being told what they believe is equivalent to “pestering” them to question whether they’re right to believe that. I went into more detail about this here. If you want to get an idea of some historical examples of this, ctrl+f “tribunal” in this pdf. This is an ancient phenomenon, a medieval phenomenon, a modern phenomenon, and now a postmodern phenomenon – one might begin to suspect it’s a human constant! Technically, with crispr though, never mind never mind. Usually politics focuses on particular reforms. While this can, vaguely, count as ~philosophy, sort of? its focus isn’t on the fundamental, guiding beliefs of a culture so we tend to just rightly categorize that as “politics”. Free healthcare, firing the FBI, those are political topics, not philosophical ones, strictly speaking. Arguably–and the left will like this one–tearing down certain statues can be counted as a philosophical act, because it’s a symbolic gesture of “questioning” the ostensible belief-system in place. Problem with that though is, there’s good reason to believe that tearing down statues is the belief-system in place. See the twist here? This is the height of controversy we’re getting at here so I expect gut instinct level disagreements to abound.
I don’t know why I haven’t referenced the following yet, since I’ve thought of it 20 times now, and it describes exactly what’s going on today
This is the belief-system in place. Civil Rights Marches. Whether on the streets or on the internet, that is what people see as the Highest Good.
I often talk about optics and the alt-lite. What I mean by that is that they are still part of this religion, for tactical reasons or otherwise. This is what “the people” here believe. That “one ought” to march for Civil Rights. Progress, Equality, different ways of saying the same thing. Programmed with black and white pictures of picketers at a young age, this is their religion, their self-righteous cause, before which nothing is more significant – it is their Ultimate Concern. If you disagree with them then you’re automatically seen as one of the people they’re picketing against. They never have the thought that some might be picketing against their picketing, which is what you could characterize what I and some others do.
Let’s conclude for now by saying that the Civil Rights movement looked good on paper. It was a “dream”. And it’s good to dream. Unfortunately, dreams and reality aren’t the same thing. What those protestors were asking for in those black and white pictures they showed us as impressionable kids was Justice. After over half a century since that movement, we’ve gathered abundant evidence that has made some of us rethink the meaning of “Justice”. It was a nice dream, lots of people’s hearts seemed to be in the right place. Let’s not mince words- where these good intentions lead, what these objectives look like after unfolding over so much time now, is the destruction of society.