Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
Nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Mark Levin is an outspoken critic of Congressman Ron Paul. Levin labors tirelessly to convince the members of his audience that Paul suffers from a condition of poverty that has ravaged his intellect no less than his moral character. Paul is no kind of conservative, “the Great One” informs us: besides advocating a foreign policy that is supposedly as idiotic in conception as it promises to be ruinous in effect, Ron Paul is an “anti-Semite.”
It is hard not to be amazed by the blackout of media coverage of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Had Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, or any second-tier candidate been performing remotely as well as Paul has, he would no longer be regarded as a “second-tier” candidate. To the credit of such left-leaning outlets as Jon Stewarts' The Daily Show and The Huffington Post, this phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by everyone.
“Capitalism” is a word for which I don’t much care. There are a couple of problems with it.
The latest debate over “the debt limit” has all but monopolized the attention of politicians and pundits alike. I confess, I for one am not at all pleased by this, for I find the whole situation particularly difficult to follow. But not only does this issue challenge my understanding, the impression that it has been rendered more complex than it actually is poses a challenge to my patience as well.
Semester after semester, I continue to encounter students for whom the proposition that science alone is the embodiment of unimpeded Reason is axiomatic. But it isn’t just my college students who think thus; most adults seem to be just as mistaken on this score. That this notion of science pervades not just the popular culture but academia as well can be gotten from the readiness with which specialists in a variety of non-scientific disciplines seek to impose a scientific character on their work. Considering the image of science that they affirm — an image according to which science is, if not necessarily the exclusive means by which to secure the Truth, certainly the most legitimate of such means — this should come as no surprise. And if the Intellect reaches its glorious culmination in the practice of science, this is only because the scientist alone among the mortals that walk the earth has succeeded in bracketing his prejudices in order to attain an “objective” and “impartial” perspective on the world. The scientist has liberated himself from all preconceptions; he is concerned with the brute “facts” and only these.
Although I have defended him on numerous occasions, it may surprise some readers of this column to discover that not unlike his legions of detractors within the Republican Party, I too have some problems with Ron Paul. But for at least two reasons, the impulse to come to his defense I have found difficult to resist.
As the presidential campaign for 2012 gets under way, conservatives, libertarians, and others typically disposed to vote for Republican candidates would do themselves a good turn to bear a few things in mind as we enter the next election cycle.
Although it had been in circulation for decades, it was only during the tenure of our last President that the term “neoconservatism” really gained traction. It is a funny thing, this word, for while it was a Jewish intellectual, Irving Kristol, who first coined it, those to whom it was ascribed would alternately embrace it or, which was more frequently the case, eschew it as “anti-Semitic.”