Dear Dr. Bones,
"Wilson seems determined to explain the moral sense entirely in materialistic terms."
Ah, ¡if only the late misguided had sat at the feet of the Bow-Tie of All Regressive Humanity to learn about the spiritualistic bases of morality!
Paddy had been intending to mock Roger, zeroth Freelord Neckwear in the peerage of Foxcuckooland, for the decidedly automphaloscopic notion that pajamaclad "readers might be interested in" a few kiddiemagisterial "reflections on this eminently thoughtful social scientist," but, well, maybe not so fast. If Wally Wombschool an’ Cindy from Wasilla struggle manfully through the Thoughtfulness, so hard to distinguish from icky School, they can scoop up a little pay dirt in the general vicinity of his freelordship’s ¡Spiritualisme d’abord! riff. On both sides of it, actually:
Since Wilson is himself a social scientist, it is perhaps only natural that he should turn to the social sciences to support his arguments. He informs us early on that “science supplies more support for the ‘ancient’ view of human nature than is commonly recognized.” Maybe so. But it is not at all clear what we gain by learning that being (say) trustworthy “may have an evolutionary advantage.” Wilson seems determined to explain the moral sense entirely in materialistic terms. His performance is something of a tour de force. And perhaps attempting to explain morality solely in naturalistic terms will appeal to readers smitten with the prestige of science. But by neglecting what we might call the spiritual sources of morality one is also in danger of neglecting—how to put it?—what makes morality moral. Somehow adducing the “evolutionary advantage” for telling the truth doesn’t quite wash.
Neckwear does not much care even for Nat. Sci., let alone for Soc. -- and this uncarin’, I think, is an ideoproduct for which there may be a significant market for out there in Televisionland. True, the Tee Putty tots are certainly not goin’ta ditch Science for his freelordship’s own neoshibbolethic brand of Feelosophy , but ¿so what? They don’t have to ditch Science *for anythin’, they can just ditch it _simpliciter_. One more thing Master Wally need not worry his whight-haired little dittopan about. Two more things, in fact, since Neckwear is plainly out to do a hit job on "evolutionary advantage" specifically.
Wally an’ Cindy have already (in many of their embodiments) disposed of that one wholesale, by decidin’ that Evolution is just another hoax perpetrated chiefly by the non-backwater media. Neckware cannot, as I conjecture, yet go along with such a radical simplification: "subscribership advantage," as it were, dictates that his freelordship not *openly* break off diplomatic relations with St. Charles of Darwin. Easy to see from these presents which way the slippery slope of self-faction is carrying poor Neckware, but it will be quite a while before he fetches up at the bottom, so do not hold your breath, sir.
And now, that’s enough necking.
More seriously, I suppose I told you how the one plausible facsimile of a Titan of Industry Paddy ever could talk to about such things--good ol’ Jake--once accidentally read something scribbled by Mr. Wilson of H*rv*rd, as the late misguided then was, and took offense, and took his offense out on me, as having been hatched at 02138. He thought the man was somewhere left of Comrade Trotsky, which I recall thinking utterly absurd, though I confined myself to pointing out that common notoriety made J. Q. Wilson out a sound reactionary. Unfortunately I have entirely forgotten what the particular social scientism was that ticked Jake off so bad.
As far as chronology goes, it *coud* have been the "broken windows" _shtyk_. Paddy did not remember that nifty gimmick either, though, before the whight-wing eulogy machine got cranked up the other day. I’m afraid J. Q. was never much more to Paddy than a sort of Tonto to Mr. Banfield’s Lone Ranger.
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