Sunday, September 05, 2010
Leftist Antihistoricism and Education
In "Individualism: True and False," from Individualism and Economic Order, F.A. Hayek notes that Descartes showed contempt "for the study of history, languages, geography, and especially the classics," and that this came out of his antihistoricism, which came out of his philosophy of Reason (10n13). He also demonstrates how Cartesian Reason led toward collectivism and, thus, socialism. Now consider: is it any coincidence that the postmodern Left also demonstrates contempt for the study of history, languages, geography, and (especially) the classics? or that contemporary American education is dominated by the Left? or that history, languages, geography, and (especially) that classics have been deemphasized and outright denigrated? I would argue that the New Historicism is itself an antihistoricist approach to history. An interesting idea, that the Left are antihistoricist (an irony that this claim comes from Hayek, an Austrian economist, who is in an economic tradition typically thought of as not being interested in history? or does this make clearer that the Austrians were in fact historicists in a more proper fashion, in the same way they were more properly scientific because of their opposition to scientism?). Their antihistoricism may also explain in part (or is it, rather, a product of?) why they are political and economic creationists.