Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Murmurs of Revolution

The leftist Cary Tennis at Salon.com answers this question from a grad student in philosophy who signs his letter “Academic Who Would Be Revolutionary”: Should I leave grad school to be an activist? I love teaching radical philosophy. But when is it time to practice what I teach?

In his answer, Tennis is worried about the future:

At a certain point in the near future, if the current oligarchy cannot be removed via the ballot, direct political action may become an urgent and compelling mission. It may then be necessary for many people in many walks of life to put their bodies on the line. For the moment, however, although pressing and profound questions have arisen about whether the current government is even legitimate, i.e., properly elected, there still remains a chance to remove this government peacefully in the 2008 election. (Or am I living in a dream world?)

All this is interesting because it’s the kind of speculation you read more and more in the precincts of the left that the time for “direct political action” (violence) is approaching. The anarchists you see smashing up Starbucks windows at G8 conferences are the shock troops of leftist “direct political action.” The more the Democrats lose elections, the more talk like this we will hear. And someday it will be more than just talk.

Instapundit has a round-up of reactions. The good Professor Reynolds has some rational thoughts, as always:

Apparently, Tennis is ready to join a militia, since he's saying the kind of stuff they were saying in 1995.

My advice: you could try something radical like winning elections instead of losing them, by putting forward candidates capable of attracting support from a majority of the electorate. But that would require a commitment to democracy, something that seems rather weak in this piece.

Of course, in answering the grad student’s question, Tennis misses the most important point: in the long run, teaching philosophy students in universities influences cultural change more than street demonstrations. But, hey -- if leftist philosophers want to leave their teaching positions to throw trash cans through McDonald’s windows, that’s fine by me.

1 comment:

D Eastbrook said...

You made an excellent point in an earlier post that eventually the Left must resort to violence. This is further evidence of that. At a lecture that Dr. Yaron Brook gave on the morality of war, he made a similar statement. He said that as Objectivism gets more influential and gains greater cultural power it will ultimately arouse the hostilities of both the militant left and right. He even speculated that at that point Objectivists might be the object of violence. That's a scarry thought but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there.