Monday, March 02, 2009

Liberalism, principle, and that APA petition

If liberalism designates a set of actual principles, as opposed to doing what whoever the left likes at the moment would prefer, then liberalism is not on the side of the petition.

I've slammed conservative politicians for doing whatever moneyed interests want regardless of principle. The same thing happens to leftists, who have too much power in academic circles for their own intellectual sobriety.

6 comments:

C said...

Could you articulate those principles which would necessarily belong to liberalism and which would be contrary to the petition?

Anonymous said...

That's what I love about Victor Reppert. He annoys absolutely everyone, always a sign of a good thinker.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, too much power. How dare the APA stand up to bigotry. That's crossing a line. They're drunk -- DRUNK! -- with power I tell you! Next thing you know, they'll prevent segregationists from being a part of their organization...

Victor Reppert said...

The importance of an open intellectual marketplace and tolerance for ideas one doesn't like is a liberal value I think is important. This includes bigoted ideas.

If you think our society has gone wrong in accepting the equality of the races, and you can give me a good argument for it, I should be willing to listen. (I'm not holding my breath, though).

Victor Reppert said...

And yes, it would be wrong to prevent segregationists from being part of the APA.

Victor Reppert said...

But the most important thing is that the health of our intellectual environment is damaged when we start throwing around terms like "bigotry" when we don't have a proof that the view is wrong that is so strong that no one who takes the opposing view can be anything but bigoted. The charge of bigotry is an irrationality charge and, as such, requires a very high standard of proof.

What would be required would be evidence not only that there is nothing wrong with homosexual activity, but evidence that anyone, either on theological grounds or any other grounds, who thinks homosexual acts are wrong or sinful is in the grip of bigotry. Unless you want to go the "God Delusion" route (which would require a whole different set of APA policies) you are going to have to think inside the theological box and show that no reasonable person operating within a Christian framework can conclude that homosexual activity is sinful.

The insitutions that are being targeted in the petition are colleges like Wheaton and Calvin. Their contributions to the philosophical community are enormous, as, I think, most people realize. That alone is good reason to think, once, twice, three times, and four times before tagging them with bigotry.