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Posted by on Dec 1, 2005 in At TMV | 0 comments

Bill O’Reilly, illiberal paranoid conspiracy theorist

Media Matters is reporting that folk-leader Bill O’Reilly has taken to attacking what he calls “a very secret plan” by secular progressive to “diminish Christian philosophy in the U.S.A.”

Now, this is misguided on so many levels, but let me mention three.

1) There is no such thing as Christian philosophy. Theology yes, philosophy no. This may be a somewhat controversial assertion on my part, but religion is very much the antithesis of philosophy properly understood (that is, as Socrates understood it). Just as George W. Bush was wrong to call Jesus a political philosopher, so is O’Reilly wrong to speak of Christian philosophy.

2) America is still a deeply Christian nation. Even George Soros’s billions won’t change that. If anything, there’s a not-so-secret plan by conservative fundamentalists to enhance Christian theology in the U.S.A.

3) American secularism is rooted in Lockean political philosophy, in the modern project initiated by Machiavelli and liberalized by Hobbes and Locke. The modern project sought to liberate humanity from the shackles of superstition and the domination of politics by religion. Lockean political philosophy is the philosophy of American constitutionalism, the philosophy that deeply animated the Founders as they sought to forge a new nation in a new world. To be sure, there are theological strains guiding much of American life, but American is a fundamentally liberal nation.

You got it wrong, Bill.


(Cross-posted at The Reaction, a blog run by a Straussian political theorist — albeit a rather liberal one, as he explains here and here.)

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