Jejudo, South Korea
If you talk about people in mainstream media (would the New Criterion be considered national media?), shouldn't they have a chance to respond?
Again and again, I read off-the-cuff comments about the silliness of academia and the intellectual 'elite' (I agree, wrong term, they're not that smart), but if you do any research at all, you'll find that it's usually (but not always) not as crazy as was said. The wording is different, it's designed, perhaps, to be provocative, but many in the Kimball crowd seem to think it's the end of civilization as we know it.
I don't see how you can have it both ways. I don't see how they can have as little influence as indicated and still be the scourge or the death of the West. Chomsky is often described as someone who never thinks the West does anything good -- I can see why somebody might say that but it would be wrong to say that he is therefore in support of Middle Eastern regimes. Whoever he talks to, as was said somewhere, he tells you what you don't want to hear.
I don't think Chomsky is anti-Western. I think he wants us to follow what we say we stand for.
The appeal to populist, anti-intellectual sentiment is always a popular one, but it crosses the line, in my opinion, when there is no attempt to understand what was said. It's an issue of responsibility.
At the same time, it might get academics to stop hiding behind their isolationism (the modern monastery) and actually try to explain what they mean in terms, even if reductionist, that can be understood by most people. Still, I have to admit that academic culture plays a role in this as well. The moment you become a 'popular' writer, there's a lot of resentment.
And it's easy to pick apart. I've done it on a few occasions but I still believe we should try to bridge this gap.
I've discussed TRUTH on several occasions here and what at least some philosophers are arguing about it. More than happy to do so again, but I don't think it's appropriate in this thread. Nevertheless, in a nutshell, let's just say truth isn't a magic word.
As far as self-congratulatory Americans, is it really that difficult to read comments here and in other forums, on media programs, and in the letter sections of newpapers that promote nothing more that a nation wide pep rally?
It certainly looks that way from the other side of the bigger pond.