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Future Visions of the Past

September 30, 2019

I have been bouncing around a lot of ideas for my next book. One possibility is to chart the story of continental philosophy from Kant to Merleau-Ponty. Though this will be a big undertaking. Another is to do a book about Leibniz and his unique ontological suggestions backed up with powerful reasoning. A third would be a book about Bertrand Russell, tracking his development, or even focusing specifically on a few key ideas in his works. Next, I considered the possibility of a book charting the rise and fall of sociology in the 20th century. From optimistic beginnings with positivism, Emile Durkheim and the like to a retreat to a position ultimately of pure social constructionism and relativism and weak minded deferral to left wing social justice politics, based on its obsession with post-everything and its repudiation as a result of the western tradition of thought, while replacing it with nothing. Another idea is to chart the change in the definition of liberalism in the 20th century. From its beginnings with the old fashioned libertarian ideal of man versus the state, to various compromises with left wing politics and socialism, to a revival of a neo-conservative libertarian approach in Hayek, Ayn Rand and a few others, alongside the position of social justice liberalism of John Rawls, and the more middle ground attempt to preserve a traditional J.S. Mill style liberalism of Isaiah Berlin and John Gray. And why it all seemed to terminate in the two polarised positions of the new rights conservative libertarianism and the new lefts, anything goes as long as it attacks the “patriarchy” liberalism. Then there is the possibility to consider a selection of new age thinkers and the development of new age spirituality and the possibility to consider conspiracy theorists in more detail and the possibility to consider a different selection of eccentric thinkers with some different ideas.

Many options to consider, but my overall aim remains the same, which is to give a clear account of the 20th century that can provide good guidance and orientation for us moving forward and beyond it into the future. So much has become about personal aggrandisement and assertions of one’s own position and identity, as being merely different from all others, alongside globalist, and technocratic propaganda and apologistic work, when we really need to be placing ourselves in a deeper and more lasting tradition of ways of thinking and being in the world that can empower us for that future. Too long caught up with dystopian visions has created unfortunately unhealthy individuals like Greta Thunberg, who believe the rhetoric, and think there is an imminent threat, even though its the same rhetoric they pump out to every generation, regardless of facts and reality. We must do better in our understanding, because extreme moralising of this kind and blatant use of children as weapons to avoid having a reasonable debate, is not going to lead us down a good path.

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