UNITED STATES: The need for an "American Enlightenment"



Jon Kofas writes:The refusal to accept the reality of the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq as well as Afghanistan is indicative of the value system in the west, especially in the U.S., where material possessions matter far more than people, and where the anti-intellectual climate in which the masses are bathing on a daily basis is constantly fed by populist propagandists who are given a forum by the mass media which falsely believes that PAX AMERICANA can proceed in the early 21st century as it did in the late 1940s and early 1950s when the U.S. enjoyed immense power. The U.S. had lapsed into a quasi-AGE OF DARKNESS and desperately needs an intellectual revolution like the Enlightenment of the 18th century. In his essay defining the Age of Reason, the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant was correct to accuse the masses of craving the irrational, refusing to think for themselves, and being intellectually lazy. People, the masses and many among the social and intellectual elites, prefer the comfort of illusions like "we are winning the war on terrorism", to the harsh reality of an economy that is going deeper into debt along with middle class living standards while defense spending and military adventures are weakening the country for the duration. Deflecting focus from the harsh reality of high prescription drug costs and 37 million people living below the poverty line to the enemy out there that we have created is a never-ending quest for the political elites. Though human beings have always opted for the romantic illusions of identifying with the Leviathan, is that rational, responsible, and in the best interests of society? With the Cold War over, we chose to create new enemies and to live an age of darkness, an era when the FBI and local police departments are investigating environmental and peace-oriented groups "in the name of national security", an age when Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is rejected in many parts of the country. Despite the obvious Age of Darkness that has descended on America, the future for a NEW ENLIGHTENMENT age looks bleak. In the 18th century the bourgeoisie chose to support the Age of Reason which they deemed as the future against the reactionary nobility and the Church, which represented the backwardness of the Middle Ages. Today the socioeconomic elites for the most part facilitate and perpetuate the AGE OF DARKNESS, because they are under the illusion this is the way for them to continue prospering in the future.  

RH: I wonder what Kant would have thought about the recent presidential elections?

To read more of the discussion please go to: Iraq Civilian War Deaths


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Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: December 5, 2004