From Timothy in Rialto, CA
December 19, 1998
I do not have much money, let alone enough to contribute greatly to any cause, but at Christmas time, I like to choose an organization which I believe deserves the small support that I might offer. Your organization strikes me as ideal for my contribution this year. Though I am pessimistic about the chances for those of us who believe in science over racial politics, I agree with the line from that old movie Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, "Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for."
I believe that the groups opposing you, who use the superstitions of their ancestors to shut down the opportunity for discovery and exploration, represent the most dangerous element in the world today. They are what Nietzsche called the "bound spirits," or what Virginia Postrel, in her new book The Future and lts Enemies, calls "stasists." Their goal is to freeze human existence still, to fix it in its place, that it might not advance or change beyond their own carefully decided plans. That group consists both of conservatives who see science as a challenge to their dogmas who, in warning of the dangers of "playing the role of god," turn away from their responsibility to play the role of human beings. And it consists of leftists (ironically still called '`liberals'') who see science as "humanity's greatest mistake." As Martin Lewis writes in The Flight From Science and Reason, `'It is now a common article of faith among the most concerned Greens that the very survival of human civilization, if not life itself, depends on a wholesale rejection of science and reason -- on a repudiation of the Enlightenment protect that alienated us from nature and set us on a course of accelerating destruction." Add to this the multiculturalist left, who see that Enlightenment legacy as inhrently oppressive -- who argue that different races and different sexes have different and equally valid ''modes of knowledge," which we must tolerate equally.
Science's respect for the absolutism of reality is seen as oppressive because that absolutism is incompatible with such things as emotionalism, superstition, and even the faulty economics, that lie at the very heart of so much leftist idealism. Like Dostoyevsky's underground man, they cry out "What do I care for the laws of nature and arithmetic, when' for some reason' I dislike those laws and the fact that twice two makes four?"
Unfortunately, I believe this group is in the great majority Nevertheless, I think we should do what we can to continue the work of the mind. I proudly enclose my contribution, small as it is. Your web site says you will keep your contributor's names confidential -- but I would be proud to be known as one of your contributors, and hope you will not keep mine confidential! If I am able to contribute more in the future, I will. My sincerest wishes for your success in this controversy.
P.S.: I make this contribution in the name of my hero, the philosopher Jacob Bronowski, who said, "I am infinitely saddened to find myself suddenly surrounded in the west by a sense terrible loss of nerve, a retreat from knowledge into--into what? Into Zen Buddhism, into falsely profound questions about, Are we not really just animals at bottom; into extra-sensory perception and mystery.... We are all afraid, for our confidence, for the future, for the world... Yet every man, every civilization, has gone forward because of its engagement with what it has set itself to do."
As recent college grad, Timothy is working now in a law office as he ponders
entering law school. He is the founding editor of THE RESTORATION, a national
libertarian college newspaper. At present he is working (very slowly) on a
biography of the scientist/philosopher Jacob Bronowski. He is a recipient of
the George Washington Honor Medal from the Future of Freedom Foundation, the
J. Skelly Wright Award for
Outstanding Constitutional Advocacy from the Constitutional Rights Foundation,
and was recently a finalist for the Felix Morley Journalism Competition.
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