One of the things some of us admire about Leiter is that, unlike his boyish rival at Daily Nous, Brian has the cojones to criticize us publicly. It even seems, dare I say, that some of Nietzsche’s manliness has rubbed off on him. Moreover, some of us have a suspicion that deep down in his immaterial soul there is a part of Brian that actually likes us, the part that attacks lunatic feminism. As one commenter, “RR,” noted in our recent post, “Nagging Philosophy Shrews and Their Enablers“:
Leiter links while name-calling to cover up the act. Methinks he also agrees with the OP a bit and wants to spread the message.
An interesting hypothesis. Leiter did link to our post. But he still hasn’t found his inner Ubermensch enabling him to resist the current herd morality. So what does he do? He vaguely hand-waved in typically prejudiced, leftist fashion at some sort of sexism (“Unabashed sexist tripe like this”) without either defining sexism (of course) or indicating whether the “this” referred to Criticus (i.e. Criticus is tripe or rubbish), something that he said, or a property of conservative ickiness more generally that is hard for leftists to pin down in intelligible discourse. So if he was criticizing us, his criticism hardly measured up to current leftist standards. It was pretty tame. Not what you’d expect from a card-carrying academic toeing the lefty line.
Now, regarding his actual complaints, though the volume is turned up in this latest post, there’s not much by way of bite to the attempted smear job. He associates the blog with a so-called anti-Semite and commenter named “Jacques”. He then criticizes the blog for not responding to Jacques, saying “That the blog let this stuff stand defies belief.” The criticism is easily dismissed. Start with that fact that our comment policy on our main page reflects the fact that we are true liberals:
Comment DisclaimerRightly Considered would like to make clear that we have a very liberal (no pun intended) comment policy. Consequently, some comments posted will involve inflammatory and repugnant views. Readers should not assume that because a comment was approved, Rightly Considered shares the sentiments therein. Very often we don’t.
Next, a quick search will show that at least one contributor does in fact question Jacques’ claims (and contributors regularly question many of his claims in the many blogposts on which he’s commented–it’s a diverse lot). That the rest of us did not reflects no more than that we have lives beyond blogging. Perhaps Leiter can help us knock that stuff down in the comments. Why doesn’t he? He’s obviously reading.
Finally, note that what Jacques says, on my view, is not even anti-Semitic! Regardless of whether his historical claim is correct, he refers to leftist Jews, not Jews per se, and appeals to what he takes to be an empirical fact about them (leftist Jews). Suppose that Anne asserts the following:
White leftists are vastly over-represented among haters, oppressors and mass murderers of Christians, and in anti-Christian movements, and noticeably under-represented in the defense of the interests of Christians.
Is Anne an anti-white racist? Obviously not, and this would remain true even if the assertion were false. Of course, as conservatives have long known, terms such as “anti-Semite”, “sexist”, “racist”, “homophobe”, and the like in the hands of leftists can mean whatever they want whenever they want (which is usually just “I disagree with you” or “Ugh!” or “I don’t know how to intellectually engage you so I’ll engage in moral grandstanding instead”). Stanley can hide behind the term and Leiter can use it as a weapon. But against such weapons Rightly Considered has reason as a shield. (As an aside, this blog is very diverse with respect to religion, sex, nationality, and race/ethnicity. There are Jews, Catholic and Protestant Christians, atheists, men and women, Europeans, Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Italians, Indians, and whites among us. Heck, one of us even has a friend who’s black!)
It is also apparent that Brian is trying to associate this conservative blog with the more radical anti-left elements such as the alt-right. Notice, among other things, how he omits the space between “Rightly” and “Considered” and then says that we’re trending towards the white nationalist website “StormFront”. Look, if you want to know what a blog is about, it’s generally good MO to read their “about” page rather than their open comment threads. Our About page includes the following, among other things:
Obviously, we won’t always agree with each other on everything. … But we all generally identify with the tradition of philosophical conservatism that began with ancient sages like Plato and Aristotle, carried on by Christian thinkers like Augustine and Aquinas, continued through Enlightenment-inspired geniuses like Burke, Tocqueville, and the American Founders, up to economic theorists like Belloc and von Hayek and contemporary authors like Kirk, Buckley, and Sowell.
Notice the last two names on that list: William F. Buckley, who excommunicated the proto-alt-right from the early conservative movement, and Thomas Sowell, a black libertarian-leaning conservative who has argued against alt-right hereditary racial claims. It is true that we probably have more in common with the alt-right than the left; and we probably attract some alt-righters in the comments due to that fact. But many of our contributors are not even a little sympathetic to the alt-right and plan to write posts criticizing it. So the idea that we’re sympathetic to them because we allow them to comment on this blog is manifestly false. After all, we also allowed Clayton Littlejohnson to comment to his little heart’s content, remember?
In conclusion, perhaps Brian’s most hysterical remark is his insinuation in the title of his post that we’re in some way boring. Us? Boring? One would think that since we offer a minority view at Rightly Considered that we’d be less boring than the usual professional philosophy echo chamber of leftist indoctrination. Trust me, we’re at least trying not to be boring. And I promise that we’ll keep striving, dear readers, to add a bit of excitement to the philosophical blogosphere. Stay tuned!
- Follow Us on Twitter - December 3, 2016
- Expert Philosophy Journalist Leiter Tries to Smear Rightly Considered Again: But It’s an Abject Failure - November 2, 2016
- Leiter Retort - October 28, 2016
- Society of Biblical Literature Bans IVP Over LGBTQQIETC - October 19, 2016
- Social Justice Grading - September 13, 2016
- Unhappy Labor Day! - September 5, 2016