We are taking a momentary departure from our present discussion to review the book: American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges.
This topic has come about as a direct result of an event close to home: My daughter being assigned the book for college reading. The course? Humanities. Not political science. Not world religions, either (it will be clear that the book is a an examination of, and no-holds barred attack upon, the Christian faith). Nope, just humanities.
Of course, humanities lends itself to, and has always allowed for, broad selection of reading material. Humanities professors use their own discretion in selecting reading material for these classes, and I cannot say that I blame them. But I find it both interesting and not surprising that the reading list for this course is pretty exclusively anti-Christian and left-wing with really no attempt to provide opposing viewpoints. As my own daughter has said, humanities courses seems to be “an excuse for professors to take their own personal views and force it upon their students.”
None of this really surprises me. It is reminiscent of the time almost twenty years ago when my good friend, a devout Christian at the time, took a Bible as Literature class in college only come out the other side confused about who Jesus really was.
Some of you may be thinking, “Well, that is the whole purpose of higher education, is it not? To expand one’s perspective, to challenge one with opposing and different ideas, and to get one to think about, and question, one’s own beliefs.” I do agree. This in fact is the approach we will take with American Fascists.
A word about our approach to “review”: I will not seek to assess the book as a whole, nor whether it was a good or bad read, but instead focus with rifle precision on key points made and examine their merit. This selective approach may amount to one post or many. But in doing so, we will have much to say about what one believes about the world, and how that shapes the position he or she takes on various topics.
As a final note, I will say that with all the rich intellectual pursuit and diverse exchange of ideas one finds on today’s college campus, at the same time there does seem to be not a lot of thinking going on. What I mean is: What my daughter is finding on campus is not really much different from what I, or my close friend, did two decades ago, as it relates to philosophical questions concerning God, religious faith, and metaphysics in general. I reason this is only for one of two reasons. Either the philosophical position educational establishment holds is factual, self-evident and beyond scrutiny so as not to require change, or it is stuck in an intellectual rut and has become more an engine of indoctrination than a fertile atmosphere of learning and getting college students to think for themselves. I will let the reader decide.
Beginning, in the next post to be published shortly, our first topic: Intolerance.