Faithful readers of this blog, of whom there seem to be a few, will have noticed that since ending my Memoir, I have been posting a good deal less. In part, this is because I am rushing to complete the eleventh edition of my textbook, ABOUT PHILOSOPHY [No, I do not really think the world is crying out for it, but the publisher is, and it serves to cushion my old age]. But the real reason, as I indicated in my last post, is that I have become dispirited with the seemingly bottomless depths of the public discourse. Now, I am, as I several times reported in my memoirs, a congenitally optimistic person. If you take a glass from the dishwasher and it still has a few drops of water clinging to its sides, I will view it as half full. "Where two or three are gathered together," as the Good Book says, I think I see a revolution. But even I cannot contemplate the daily absurdities and excrescences of the mindless Right without a sinking sensation in my stomach.
It would be false to claim that the public discourse forty or fifty years ago was superior in all ways. The overt racism, the condescension to women, the utter contempt for gay and lesbian men and women, the rampant hysterical anti-communism were, and need to be remembered as, permanent stains on the national conscience. And yet, and yet. Public figures spoke openly and admiringly of labor unions. It was common for those who were rich to acknowledge an obligation to those less fortunate. Even though today's Pat Buchanans and Glen Becks and Bill O'Reillys had their counterparts then, those views were not treated as respectable, as worthy of notice. I do not think I am simply getting older, although that of course is happening, irrevocably and irreversibly, when I see a thorough corrupting of speech and thought in America today.
I will try, in this blog, to express my anger politely, although not in a hedged manner. But I freely confess that in my secret fanatasies, I am not nearly so well-mannered.