Friday, May 18, 2007

On Bullshit

The latest issue (June/July 2007) of Free Inquiry includes an op-ed by Christopher Hitchens (whose book God is Not Great I discussed a few days ago) entitled, “Bullshitting about Atheism” in which he is critical of the Christian Right’s attempts to smear Secular Humanism. It’s a great article but the best part is the quotation he takes from Harry Frankfurt’s book On Truth in which Frankfurt summarizes his own earlier book, On Bullshit:
“Bullshitters, although they represent themselves as being engaged simply in conveying information, are not engaged in that enterprise at all. Instead, and most essentially, they are fakers and phonies who are attempting by what they say to manipulate the opinions of those to whom they speak. What they care about primarily, therefore, is whether what they say is effective in accomplishing this manipulation. Correspondingly, they are more or less indifferent to whether what they say is true or whether it is false.”
When I read this I realized it was a perfect description of so much of what the far right does in political discussion these days. It brought to mind Fox News. Rush Limbaugh. And of course those wonderfully twisted local bloggers the SWAC Reactionaries. And now we have a word to sum it all up.

1 comment:

Drew said...

You should upload the entire article; I've never seen the magazine in a store, but I'd love to see the article.