Saturday, August 24, 2013
The Hesperado Book Club
My latest installment, featuring a book published in 1939 -- Catholics and unbelievers in 18th century France, by historian R.R. Palmer.
This was recommended to me (or rather, to the class of history students I was in) many years ago as an example of a rather comparatively small number of academic studies attempting a challenge to the reigning assumption that the 18th century Enlightenment was, of course, rational and free-thinking, whereas the Christians they disdained were, of course, "dogmatic" and therefore closed-minded and irrational.
In his revisionist challenge to this axiomatic assumption (part and parcel with a then budding PC MC), Palmer simply examined the writings of a representative number of Enlightenment Philosophes and compared them with the writings of their bêtes noires, Catholic theologians and philosophers. His analytical finding: The latter tended markedly toward demonstrating far more rationality in their arguments than did the former.
This book was one of the many in my formative years that helped disabuse me of the Axioms of the Age which form the worldview of PC MC. Being favorably disposed to the historically incorrect likes of an R.R. Palmer is not, however, a guarantee that one becomes immune to the PC MC virus with regard to the problem of Islam since, for example, most of the otherwise erudite and astute academics who admire the great 20th century philosopher, Eric Voegelin, and who therefore count Palmer's study among their library's pantheon of good books, seem to become blithering idiots when that one problem comes on their radar.