The Ominous Conservative Hostility Toward the Enlightenment

Allies of convenience.

Over the weekend, CBS News analyst and Slate correspondent Jamelle Bouie ignited a fiery intellectual debate seemingly from whole cloth when he indicted the Age of Enlightenment as the font from which white supremacism sprang. “[T]o put it bluntly,” he wrote, “racism is an enlightenment idea, whose foundations were laid by key thinkers like [John] Locke and [Immanuel] Kant.” This was not a hit-and-run assault on the intellectual heritage that forms the foundations for the modern state in which the people are sovereign. He refined his case down to the contention that Enlightenment luminaries erected pseudo-intellectual structures to support “scientific” claims to white racial superiority, and those structures served as the basis for colonialism and slavery.

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The Ominous Conservative Hostility Toward the Enlightenment

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Nothing ventured.

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