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The Logical Alternative

Written by: Jason Werbeloff

As a philosopher, I’m often criticized by Regressives (“Progressives”) who argue that there is no place for philosophy in our social discourse. They argue that the careful analysis that philosophers provide is detached from reality, or annoying, or offensive. But cast your eye over the Wits bus set alight with 15 people on board on 25 October.

If one were to point out this incident to a FMF defender as a problem for their movement, they would likely argue that the people who set the bus alight are errant members who don’t represent the group.

So they recommend a principle of extreme moral charity when interpreting the actions of a particular member of a group – whenever a member of the group does something wrong, one can assume that the group as a whole isn’t responsible, but purely the individual member (even though he believed he was acting qua member of the group at the time).

But then the Regressive will denounce any racist remark or action of a white person as representative of whiteness as a whole. “Yup, they’re all like Penny Sparrow,” or, “Yup, all men are misogynistic because x said y.” The Regressive isn’t applying the same principle of moral charity to members of the groups they don’t like, as they do when considering groups they do like.

If the Regressive took a little more care to apply social ethics more analytically and carefully, so many of today’s disagreements would be resolved overnight.

  • Steven van Staden

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and observations.

    It seems to me that at the core of the culture clash is a failure or a concerted, wilful refusal by the Regressives (whom I’m going to call rioters) to acknowledge any meeting of minds on the issues of ethics and reason. Almost all of the arguments I have seen put forward from the rioters are devoid of ethics and reason. For example, they threaten further mass violence in the event of their demands not being met for the release of their members who have been charged with acts of public violence. This implies that they reject the rule of the law of the land or that they should be above the law.

    To the best of my knowledge, not one of them has put forward a public explanation of this standard stance of theirs, which harks back to the law of the jungle. As a second example, they refuse to acknowledge the existence of black racism while reiterating slanderous and malicious insults and threats against whites as a group, or wearing shirts or carrying placards emblazoned with slogans such as ‘kill the whites.’

    They wish to re-define science, philosophy, racism, ethics, reason and logic in Afrocentric terms which they refuse to open to reasonable question. Their ‘philosophy’ seems to be no more than a string of slogans, demands, insults and acts of violence and destruction. It seems to me that an unbridgeable chasm has been highlighted between this violence and destruction on the one hand, and ethics and reason on the other.