Stanley Fish is doing his Brendan O’Neill act. There is no view from nowhere, therefore no claim is better founded than any other claim, it’s all just likes and dislikes.
[D]espite invocations of fairness and equality and giving every voice a chance, classical liberals, like any other ideologues (and ideologues we all are), divide the world into “us” and “them.” It’s just that rather than “us” being Christians and “them” Jews or vice-versa, “us” are those who subscribe to the tenets of materialist scientific inquiry and “them” are those who don’t, those who, in the entirely parochial judgment of liberal rationalists, subscribe to nonsense and superstition.
“Entirely parochial” is it. So it’s entirely parochial to prefer evidence-based engineering to the magic kind?
I’m not criticizing liberals for standing up for, and with, their own, only for pretending that they are, or could be, doing something else. Liberals know, without having to think further about it, that those who oppose global warming on religious grounds are just ignorant nuts; and they know that those who deny the Holocaust, no matter what so-called facts and statistics they marshal, are just bad people; and they know that those who want creationism taught in the schools are just using the vocabulary of open inquiry as a Trojan horse.
That’s shockingly ignorant as well as smug. I’d like to see him tell Richard Evans that nonsense about the Holocaust; I’d like to see him tell Barbara Forrest that nonsense about creationism.
But the desire of classical liberals to think of themselves as above the fray, as facilitating inquiry rather than steering it in a favored direction, makes them unable to be content with just saying, You guys are wrong, we’re right, and we’re not going to listen to you or give you an even break. Instead they labor mightily to ground their judgments in impersonal standards and impartial procedures (there are none) so that they can pronounce their excommunications with clean hands and pure — non-partisan, and non-tribal — hearts.
Not for the first time, I have a strong desire to see Stanley Fish in a situation where this kind of irresponsible coat-trailing would be an unaffordable luxury because he depended on the findings of properly conducted inquiry for his very life.