All the varied, impressive, extremely capable and party-hearty departments of Fun Social Nihilism are going to take a break to commandeer the server farms of WordPress, Inc. to mount a sustained, full-throttle defense of social nihilism against the declaration of war against it represented by Harvard University’s, and Freedom From Religion’s lead dog, Dr. Steven Pinker, CEO of the American Raj, 2018 edition. His corporation’s latest tome, Enlightenment Now, is but the latest, but the thickest, assault on intellectual moral functioning that has been led by idiot savants A. Bjorn Lomborg; B. Matt Ridley; C. Bill Gates; D. the Breakthorugh Institute mafias Nordberger; E. the echino-optimists all ’round the net; F. the idiot millennial “elites” savaged in the comments section here: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/16/powder-mountain-ski-resort-summit-elite-club-rich-millennials : G. the academic folkish Solnittians and professors tenured; F. Brooklyn’s Bernie G. ad infinitum – and all the assembled rest. You know the Names.
It’s an enormous challenge to defend the truth of social nihilism against this worldwide, incorporated imprisonment of impassioned nihilism, and this 43 part rebuttal will test all who dare enter its dominion, but this is where FSN makes it stand, makes the world safe for skeptical thought, and does it for free. Welcome – it’s going to be 10 pages at a time from Entertainment Now, or Enillusionment Now, or simply EN, as well shall have to call the enraging opus.
NOTE: The world need not be run on cranky antagonism to inherited social reality, but that is what we’ve got. Personally, we should all be of good cheer, grateful to not be currently imprisoned for thought-heresy like so many of our forebears, enjoying whatever fruits of civilization we can have extracted through sheer existential caprice. Also, there is no self to inveigh against here, just association neurons that need to be strengthened, vivified, re-employed to save humanity’s sense of what it has become. Failure is in our DNA, so do not be concerned if there are moments of doubt about the anti-EN focus – it’s a gamble to locate some treasure amongst the opulence. LAST NOTE: Yes, in this Trumpian-hate present, there are millions of worse targets, but when your own people (FFRF, “humanism,” “atheism, “liberal” are just a few of the terms disgraced by PinkerInc’s appropriation of them) are such bilious claptrappers, they’ve got to be dealt with, at length, with perspicacity, in good, fun, oppositional/defiance antipathy to bad thinking.
A. Bad names in the Preface: Larry Summers, the Nordbergers, Joshua Goldstein, Stewart Brand, Gregg Easterbrook, David Byrne (! -Reasons to Be Cheerful, my ass), Mark Lilla, Sally Satel, Michael Shermer – a neoliberal sophists’ row. This is a horrible Board of Apologists for Empire.
B. The Enlightenment now belongs to antiquity. Why try to bring back a long-dead brand name in the Age of the Supersystem? Obviously, “The Enlightenment” could not forestall the rise and rule of corporate militarism and techno-consumerism, so now it’s supposed to win the day again, when it lost 50 years ago?
C. PinkerInc explicitly condemns “cynicism” of the extant social institutions, but any clickbait-type surfing shows that to be the one redeeming feature of the pill-drugged Generation Z. Who but a paycheck-grubbing fool is not filled to the fingers with contempt for our social institutions?
D. Page 5. Uh, oh – quotes from alt-rightist icon Hayek already, and a comparison with the wonders of western “liberal democracy” with ISIS. OK, compared to ISIS, everything is better, all is beautiful in the American Empire, carry on, why object in the least? Answer – we are not comparing our times to the awful times, places, ideologies, and killing fields of yesterday or today. We are evaluating social reality on its own terms, in its own present, by our own contexts.
E. PinkerInc theorizes that today’s In-tee-lectuals are pinko commies who treat the “ideals” of the En with “indifference, skepticism, and sometimes contempt.” Really? Science and humanism and knowledge are getting the what-for from all the pinko commies at the Harvard Club? That betrays a tin ear from PinkerInc – there is criticism of how the Enlightenment has turned out in Trumpmerica from many In-Tees, but the ideals of the Enlightenment – not so much.
F. An Up-With-Optimism quote from some MITer posits that everything will be fine because all problems will be solved through the detection and elimination of errors. That was Robert McNamara’s maxim, and look how the Vietnam War turned out. Harvard cannot solve its own sexual harassment cases, let alone all the raging crises of the neoliberal imperium. Sorry.
G. Pinker, sans the decontexualized data to come of PinkerInc, defends science, humanism, and atheism nicely and sweetly, emphasizing the rights of the individual over tribe, group, race, religion. This is what gets him as honorary chair of FFRF, the icon status of “hero” among the big-tuition liberal arts selectees, making the next 420 page betrayal all the more painful.