Arkiv for ‘Filosofi’

Hvor er den liberale islamkritik?

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Af Ryan Smith

En diskursiv ændring er undervejs. I avisernes debatspalter og på de sociale medier bliver’liberal’ i højere og højere grad associeret med en uinteresseret, kulturblind og eftergivende holdning til islam. Det er en misforståelse.

Det er ellers ikke mere end et par år siden, at Liberal Alliances partileder Anders Samuelsen offentligt omtalte ”islam og alle de problematikker, der rejser sig i den forbindelse.” Flere store terrorangreb har fundet sted siden, og dog synes det parti, der mest entydigt slår sig op på at være liberalt, i dag mindre interesseret i at bedrive konsekvent islamkritik. Fra flere sider pågår der en interesse i at male liberale som naivt optimistiske kulturradikale, der ikke har indset, hvilken trussel de står overfor – eller blot som radikale med større afsmag for Kvinfo og hang til lavere skat.

I den overfladiske forståelse af liberalisme anses begrebet som synonymt med lav skat og friheden til at leve i regnbuefamilier, gå i swingerklubber eller hvad man nu måtte ønske. Dette er ikke forkert, men sådanne hensyn er også en en luksus. Det er liberalismens endgame, som man kan afsætte ressourcer til, når alle de øvrige kampe er vundet. Liberalismens helt grundlæggende samfundsmæssige hensyn starter – som de britiske filosoffer Hobbes og Locke indså – med en suveræn, som kan garantere borgernes frihed, liv og ejendom. At kunne håndhæve den indre offentlige orden på eget territorium og forhindre, at borgerne udsættes for tyveri og voldelige overfald, er i en liberal optik statmagtens væsentligste opgave. Disse hensyn var måske indfriet førhen, men med den islamiske masseindvandring er disse grundlæggende prioriteter blevet aktuelle igen. Det er blot ikke alle liberale, der synes at have indset det.

At migranter og efterkommere af migranter fra islamiske kulturbaggrunde kompromitterer hensynet til borgernes sikkerhed, kan enhver forvisse sig om ved at tage et kig i rapporterne fra Danmarks Statistik. Hvis staten skal have legitimitet i en liberal optik, må den hurtigst muligt søge at standse indvandringen fra grupper, som vi erfaringsmæssigt ved fører til en forringelse af de liberale kerneværdier. Såkaldt liberale, der slås om marginalerne på boligskat, mens de forsømmer at presse på for at få opbremset den islamiske indvandring, er som en liebhaver, der intenst vrider hænder over, hvorvidt vinkøleskabet nu også har den helt rette temperatur, alt imens han tager det afslappet, at elinstallationerne slår gnister, og svovllugt langsomt fylder Charlottenlundlejligheden op.

Egentlig burde det være selvklart, at liberale satte islamkritik meget højt på deres dagsorden. I islamforskningen taler man f.eks. om, at det, der politisk korrekt kaldes ’moderate muslimer’ (dvs. fredelige muslimer, der støtter op om demokrati og menneskerettigheder), højst sandsynligt er et vestligt fatamorgana. Det mere retvisende term er uliberale moderate. Dvs. muslimer, som ganske vist er fredelige og ikke støtter terror, men som på ingen måde går ind for demokrati, ligestilling, ytringsfrihed eller andet liberalt idégods. Denne betegnelse er sandsynligivs dækkende for flertallet af verdens muslimer.

Status er altså, at mange liberale ikke bekymrer sig om, at der lever hundreder af millioner af intenst antiliberale mennesker rundt om på kloden, og at denne antiliberalisme for den muslimske verdens vedkommende netop kan spores direkte tilbage til de politiske aspekter af islam. Tilsyneladende finder liberale det ej heller magtpåliggende at dæmme op for importen af disse antiliberale elementer til deres eget hjemland – selvsamme land, som de ellers ønsker at trække i en mere liberal retning.

Ikke alene virker de liberale en kende for laissez-faire ift. den islamiske indvandring, når man sammenligner modstanden fra konservativ kant. Den idemæssige kritik af den politiske side af islam synes man også at forsømme, selvom der også her er rigeligt med antiliberalt idegods at lægge sig ud med. Ideer, som legitimerer intolerance og kvindehad mod millioner af mennesker verden over, burde være selvskrevne som nogle af de første for liberale at gå i krig med. Den liberale inerti er en skam for alle parter. Udenlandske studier har vist, at liberale som gruppe har høj IQ og er gode til at analysere og kritisere ideer. Liberale tænkere spillede en afgørende rolle i at afmontere marxismen og socialismen. Men af uforklarlige grunde holder man sig her tilbage.

Fra de liberale, jeg personligt har talt med, synes der at være tale om et paradoks: På den ene side ønsker mange liberale at afvise den konservative ’dem og os’-tankegang til fordel for en rationalistisk universalisme, som siger, at vi alle er ens. Men på samme tid er man tilbageholdende med at kritisere islamiske ideer, da de opfattes som ’deres’ og ikke ’vores.’

Hvis den liberale universalisme skal betyde noget, så betyder den netop, at man kan kritisere kulturer, prakssisser og ideer uden derved at kritisere de mennesker, der observerer dem og er født ind i dem. Således kan man også kritisere islam uden at lægge muslimer for had.

Et andet facet af den liberale universalisme er, at den konservative ’dem og os’-tankegang kan erstattes af en opsøgende debat, hvor man er beredt på at diskutere på modpartens præmisser og med udgangspunkt i modpartens terminologi. En person, der netop har udført en islamkritik på modpartens præmisser (og i øvrigt identificerer sig som klassisk liberal), er den somalisk-fødte politiske aktivist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, der i sin bog Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now argumenterer for, at islam bliver nødt til at ændre sig på fem fundamentale punkter, førend religionen kan passe ind i den moderne verden: Islam må (1) stoppe med at prioritere efterlivet højere end dette liv (2) kraftigt nedtone væsentligheden af sharia (3) holde op med at fortælle andre, hvordan de skal klæde sig, opføre sig, hvad de må spise og drikke, og hvem de må gå i seng med (4) opgive jihad og (5) anse Muhammad og Koranen som valide genstande for kritik og fortolkning.

Alternativt kunne man støtte op om de hårdtprøvede (og forsvindende små) liberale mindretal i den islamiske verden, som uden megen støtte fra nogen kant forsøger at argumentere for, at den enkelte muslim ikke behøver henvisninger til skriftsteder eller tilladelse fra islamiske lærde for at afgøre, om denne eller hin praksis er forenelig med islam, men at alle jordens mennesker er udstyret med en fornemmelse for godt og slet (fitra) af Allah, som vejer tungere end andre muslimers meninger og alverdens sharia.

Hvis liberale vil lade andre politiske grupperinger løbe med den indlysende vindersag, som islamkritik er og i de kommende år blot vil ligge vælgerne endnu mere på sinde, skal de blot fortsætte kursen. Alternativt kunne man gøre som den liberale Hirsi Ali, vågne op til dåd og formulere en intelligent liberal islamkritik.

Scruton: ’I Drink Therefore I Am – A Philosopher’s Guide to Wine’

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

“Byboere er mindre bevidste om den katastrofale indflydelse, plasticflasker har på folks moralske forfatning, eftersom byers gader trods alt renses fra tid til anden.

Men bevæg Dem langs enhver landevej, og De vil med få meters mellemrum støde på en plasticflaske, kylet ud gennem vinduet på et forbipasserende køretøj for derpå for evigt at flyde i vejkanten. Hvert år forøges den samlede mængde skrald, mens bestemte produkter, såsom Coca-Cola, også føjer æstetisk spot til den miljøskade, plasticflaskerne udretter med deres enerverende og alt for glade farver.

Der er noget ved disse spruttende sukkerdrikke med deres barnlige aromaer og blaserte logoer, der fremprovokerer et ’mig-mig-mig’-respons i ellers voksne mennesker. Et hurtigt pat på plasticyveret, den infantile begejstring ved bobler i struben og selvtilfredshedens bøvs, der ytrer sig, i takt med at klistervæsken synker til bunds. Samtlige af disse egenskaber indskrænker sodavandsdrikkerens horisont og bortmaner bevidstheden om en verden hinsides min og mit. Selvglæde og egoisme er præcis hvad man må forvente, når de barnlige appetitter gives frit løb.

Derfor: Køb altid Deres vin på glasflaske. Modsæt Dem sodavand af princip. Og hvis De absolut må drikke vand, så lad det blive fra vandhanen.”

– Roger Scruton: ’I Drink Therefore I Am – A Philosopher’s Guide to Wine’

Review of Nattens Madrigal

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Nattens Madrigal is a cult album and a one-of-a-kind Black Metal classic.

While there was a lot of artistic audaciousness and unique creative impulses at play amongst the albums produced in the Norwegian metal scene in the 90s, Nattens Madrigal stands out as an offering that is somehow more important than being simply an album that was unique within the genre. The inspiration and conceptual reach on display here is bigger than merely expanding the sum-total of what metal could do – and bigger than metal itself.

The Madrigal of Night – Eight Hymns To The Wolf In Man is a concept album whose atmosphere and themes are perfectly described by its rather copious title. As the title suggests, the album is a tale of a man’s transformation into a werewolf as he roams the untouched vast forests and dark mountainous fjelds of Norway. To underscore the gothic nature of the album’s artistic theme, the lyrics are in archaic Norwegian and the production is purposefully lo-fi – to the point of turning many listeners away from the album altogether.

Now, if you’re already familiar with lo-fi Black Metal productions, you might be thinking to yourself that you’re never going to give the album a chance. But this album is different. Whether by genius or by chance, far from taking anything away from the expression and atmosphere of the music, the intentionally poor production employed underscores the message, heightens it, and – believe it or not – serves to bring out its delicate beauty that is sensitively contained beneath the hissing aural facade. It is not at all certain that this album would work had it been recorded with more commonplace production values.

Beauty – yes, I did say beauty. As others have pointed out, beneath the harsh and hostile duelling guitar riffs that battle throughout the album the receptive listener eventually comes to find great beauty and solace amidst the screeching and relentlessly hostile torrent that was initially all that greeted him. This supplanting of opposites, where succour and solace are manifestly present amidst a surging whirlwind of tense antagonism and resentment, is perhaps the highest aesthetic expression that Black Metal can hope to realize. It is certainly obvious how later metal works have been inspired by this unique achievement, so nonchalantly on display in Nattens Madrigal. Yet to my knowledge, no other metal offering has superseded Ulver’s third album, or even come close to doing so.

Haunting and violent, yet morbid and alluring in all its gothic beauty, the proper judgment of this album is nothing less than that of an unforgiving masterpiece. Deliberately punishing and harsh, and sporting an insouciance and brutality unmatched by any other album I can think of, the album succeeds on both the musical and lyrical fronts. The vocals, though typical black metal screams, come off as incredibly thin-sounding due to paucity of the production, haunting the listener as being present in one’s own skull, yet at the same time emanating from another supernatural force altogether. One truly feels the alien force of lycanthropy at play as an ancient power within oneself, which one’s humanity battles to keep in check.

And that, in the end, is how the album should be understood – as an album of dichotomies, which nevertheless manages to fuse all of its themes into a single unbroken expression.  In fact, while much art and philosophy start from the dichotomies and then attempts to fuse them in various ways, giving a highly angular and academic flavor to the work, Nattens Madrigal is the opposite: It greets the listener as a monolithic seamless vision and it is only upon successive explorations that one discovers the dichotomous elements that are all encompassed by a single unified expression. It stands as a symphonic barrage of hatred, power, strength, melancholy, majesty, and absolution at the hands of that ur-force which has taken your agency away, while leaving you conscious to reflect on it. It is a metaphor for nature’s solace and beauty on the one hand, yet its relentless harshness and ability to dictate our constitution to even the most civilized of us at one time or another. It is an album that is not just a one-of-a-kind, but also a truly unique shade of black.

Is Daisy Ridley Right that Calling Rey a Mary Sue is Sexist?

Monday, February 6th, 2017

You might remember that when ‘The Force Awakens’ came out, the screenwriter Max Landis faulted the character of Rey for being a Mary Sue. A Mary Sue is a trope that is commonly seen in bad screenwriting and fanfiction. It refers to a character who, with little to no explanation, is so awesome that he or she has unrealistic and overpowered abilities that are not supposed to the movie’s own backstory; that he or she is better than all of the established characters at the things that make them unique for no apparent reason, and so on.

When Landis said Rey was a Mary Sue, many women accused him of sexism. Recently, these women have been joined by Daily Ridley herself who said that “The Mary Sue thing in itself is sexist because it’s the name of a woman. … Everyone was saying that Luke had the exact same [capabilities.] … So for me, it was just confused.”

Is Ridley right about this?

The Mary Sue trope does indeed carry the name of a woman. But there is nothing in the definition of a Mary Sue that necessitates that such a character would have to be female. If you switched Rey’s gender in ‘The Force Awakens,’ but kept everything else the same, the male Rey would also be a Mary Sue. The name itself is nothing to get hung up on. In fact, male Mary Sues are often referred to as Larry Stus and Gary Stus by screenwriters – and of course, that wouldn’t happen if Mary Sues were always women.

Ridley has a point that there is no reason that a gender-neutral screenwriting trope should be named after a woman. But if you think about it, many terms and tropes in common parlance have somewhat misleading names. Feminism, for example, is quite the misleading name for a movement that seeks to do away with gender differences. But it carries this name for historical reasons. Similarly, the Mary Sue trope carries this name because the original piece of writing that criticized the trope happened to revolve around a female character. It’s called a Mary Sue for historical reasons, not because only women can be Mary Sues – and it was actually a woman who came up with the original criticism of the Mary Sue trope.

Just like you could switch Rey’s gender to male and she’d still be a Mary Sue, so you could switch the name of the Mary Sue trope, and Rey would still be a Mary Sue. None of this has anything to do with gender. She seems to be confusing the surface phenomenon of the name with the motif that the name refers to.

Then there is Ridley’s claim that Luke Skywalker had the same capabilities as Rey, the implication being that supposedly, in a world devoid of sexism, if Rey were a Mary Sue Luke would then also be one. Ridley is right that Luke had many of the same capabilities as Rey. But she neglects to mention that Luke only had these capabilities by the third movie and after having been trained by both Obi-Wan and Yoda. Rey demonstrates abilities on par with, or better than Luke’s by the first movie and without any training. So Ridley is leaving out some preeeeeetty important details when she says Rey is no more overpowered than Luke.

Furthermore, recall that one of the features of a Mary Sue is that the character is better than all of the established characters at the things that make them unique for no apparent reason. For example, we never actually see Luke being better than Han at fixing or flying the Millennium Falcon, but that (and many other things) is just what we see with Rey, with no explanation given for her prowess.

Some people have said that maybe Anakin was a Mary Sue then, because Anakin also had many overpowered abilities that he hardly had to train to acquire. It would certainly be tempting to grant this point so that we could have a clear example of a male Mary Sue in the franchise and lay the accusations of sexism to rest. But recall another point about Mary Sues – they have overpowered abilities that are not supposed to the movie’s own backstory. Anakin had overpowered abilities, yes, but the prequels actually take care to explain that he is a virgin birth and a child of the force with a midi-chlorian count higher than Yoda’s. Now, this is also really bad screenwriting. But it isn’t the Mary Sue kind of bad – the movie does explain why Anakin has such extraordinary abilities. Nor is Anakin better than all of the established characters at everything. He is a whiny brat who needs Obi-Wan to discipline him. He needs Padme to help him understand grand scale politics. And he needs Yoda to bail him out after he gets chopped by Count Dooku.

So no – neither Luke nor Anakin are Mary Sues. But Rey invariably is. And Daisy Ridley’s arguments don’t hold up.

Foucault and Liberalism

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

WATCH AS VIDEO

When the philosopher Michel Foucault died of AIDS in Paris in 1984, he was one of the world’s most famous intellectuals. In his native France, he had managed to obtain the special French superstar status, which is only granted to a chosen few, such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.

Foucault’s works were read and discussed in most of the academic world. In the years after his death, his status has only grown, and today his scientific methods have long since spread beyond the narrow circle of historians and philosophers to every corner of the university. Foucault’s thoughts have managed become a sort of default in every branch of social science (except perhaps economics). At several Western universities, he is today the most cited social science theorist. It is hard to overstate his importance. The entire strand of philosophy known as ‘postmodernism’ or ‘poststructuralism’ owes Foucault something, and frequently quite a bit more than something.

Foucault also laid the foundation for one of the most commonly used methods in social science education: Discourse analysis. Here it is superfluous to mention that he is an obligatory part of every curriculum in the social sciences and the humanities, and even at some non-academic educations. Personally, I’ve seen instances of Foucault’s philosophy being peddled as mandatory for nurses and paramedics too.

If you read his works, it can be difficult to understand how they could have spread across the globe; how they could be read and purchased in the hundreds of thousands and discussed ad nauseam. His books are unbearably cryptic, incredibly difficult to decipher, and the insights you can squeeze from them are often contradictory and sometimes meaningless.

Foucault’s success is partly due to his timing. He wrote his works in the 1960s and 1970s, when the growing countercultural movement won more and more popularity within the intelligentsia. His anti-essentialism and rejection of Enlightenment thinking was well received by the greater part of a generation of European intellectuals that pined for a confrontation with established bourgeois truths, Western imperialism and the old authorities. These were to become the basis for what has since become known as the youth rebellion.

Among the many incomprehensible sentences found in Foucault’s books, one finds a particular anti-authoritarian message which has undoubtedly has swayed many people who felt a need to do away with the old standards. But this anti-authoritarian message is fettered to a totalitarian Siamese twin. And if the two should be separated from each other, they will both die.

Accepting Foucault’s theories of knowledge, power and man means that you will have to renounce to any belief in humanity’s ability to comprehend objective reality, as well as any belief that individual liberty can be achieved within the norms of established society. The notions that individual human beings have a personal responsibility for their actions has to go out of the window as well.

Foucault’s theories are some of the best and purest instances of culturalism one can find in modern thinking. If one gives pride of place to these ideas, one must also necessarily place the entire foundation for liberal democracy and human rights in the trash. To someone who has truly understood Foucault, such ideas are even more odious than straight up dictatorships. His philosophy is fundamentally incompatible with belief in democratic government and individual rights.

Today it is quite normal that the term ‘positivism’ is used as a slur. A ‘positivist’ is someone who lives within the established consensus. He is a naive, altmodisch figure. A ridiculous figure, who believe there is an objective reality which can be comprehended through formal and uniform scientific inquiries. These are beliefs that even today may evoke laughter from humanities students and faculty. No, they say, reality is not ‘objective’, it is created by power. It is the power structures in a given society that shape all our knowledge through linguistic, discursive processes. The only way to be able to establish any type of remotely credible knowledge, is through the critical analysis, in which we look at language and discourse and how they shape our way of thinking.

All of this is a legacy that can be traced back to Foucault. And it is actually an excellent means of critical correction. A good counterweight for theorists on a blind empirico-quanitative rampage. It is never a bad thing to be aware of the power of perspectives and linguistic, discursive processes surrounding one’s research.

But when this approach alone is dominant, instead of just a critical correction, it paradoxically becomes its own normative hegemony, and when that happens, we end up with a serious intellectual problem. It leads to every kind of vulgar social constructivism where university graduates think they can solve deep problems just by doing a bit of textual analysis. It leads to a new naivety, where one imagines that the underlying realities of the world can be changed if we just talk differently about surface signs and signifiers. But worst of all, it leads to the total rejection of any ethical universalism  and any common standard of knowledge, to a monstrous culturalism, in which the individual disappears in favor of large, collective, discursive currents, and the complete dissolution of the subject.

It is possible that Foucault did not intend for his work to end up being used in this manner, but if so, he never did anything to guard against this being the outcome of what he produced.

Foucault’s project was not particularly normative or ethical, but more philosophical, historical, and political. His primary aim was to break the spell of enlightenment thinking, which in his opinion, had created an implicit normativity in the modern social sciences, often leading scholars to deal with how everything should be in stead of how it actually is. He saw himself as carrying on the work of Nietzsche, where ethics is a lie that only weak-minded losers believe in.

It was this approach that Foucault adopted. He was interested in discovering how knowledge was created and how it could be converted into power in the form of discipline, which could again be used to control people. He went against the Popperian – and someone might mockingly say: ‘positivist’ approach to knowledge – where one methodically, soberly and rigorously embarks on a journey leading one closer and closer to the ‘truth’.

Foucault never wrote a line  about methodology. Yet it is his method, which has enjoyed the greatest acclaim.

The Contradiction in Modern Feminism

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Watch as video here.

On New Year’s Eve of 2015/2016, mass sexual assaults took place against women in several cities across Germany. Most famous is the incident in Cologne, where 2000 men of Middle-eastern and North African descent sexually assaulted 1200 German women.

Coordinated mass sexual assaults by men against women should be a feminist cause if there ever was one. Yet to the surprise of most Europeans, many familiar feminist bloggers, pundits and writers across northern Europe did not come out to denounce the attacks. Instead, many talked about how these mass sexual assaults were no different from what white European men do to women every weekend at clubs, how there is rape in every culture so it would be irresponsible to just single out these Middle Eastern perpetrators, and so on.

How could we have come to a point where leading European feminists cannot bring themselves to speak out against mass coordinated sexual assaults against women? The answer has to do with what we call the contraction in modern feminism.

Feminism was originally a movement rooted in the broader values of the age of enlightenment. The foundation of classical feminism was the belief that all citizens should be treated equally by the state and be able to lay claim to the same rights, privileges and responsibilities, regardless of gender. At the time when feminism was conceived, the application of this principle meant expanding women’s rights to be on par with men’s.

The values of the enlightenment were universalist and went both ways: If men had somehow been the ones to be short-changed by society, then the same principle could have been applied to further men’s causes. Enlightenment feminism wasn’t about being a man or being a woman. It was about being equals as human beings. Enlightenment values were also individualist. If certain traditions, cultures, and religions mandated that men or women be treated differently, then these collectivist social structures had to be combated, since the individual’s free choice was unequivocally more important.

However, in recent years, feminism has also absorbed ideas from movements very different from the enlightenment. Some of the names used to describe this type of feminism 3rd and 4th wave feminism, intersectional feminism, and so on.

Where enlightenment feminism had been universalist and individualistic, many modern feminists regard the whole tradition of the enlightenment as suspicious, exclusively Western, and perhaps even imperialistic. If other cultures have different gender roles, then who are we to say they’re wrong?

In other words, the philosophy inherent in much of modern feminism has more to do with the philosophical responses and counter movements to the enlightenment, than they have to do with the enlightenment. Specifically, much of it is indebted to the philosophy of the romantic era, where it was thought that the individual’s values could not be formularized as a list of abstract rights and ideals, but were deeply rooted in culture, community, and personal identity.

In other words, where the enlightenment was universalist, rational, and impersonal, the philosophy of the romantic era was particularistic, experiential and personal. They are and were two completely different ways of viewing the world.

So where Western feminists used to be unequivocally opposed to traditions, cultures, and religions that stood in the way of their enlightenment values, the picture is now less clear cut. It is not that modern feminists don’t care about the plight of women outside of their own culture and ethnicity, as right-wingers often like to accuse them of being. Rather, it is that modern feminists tend to see the traditions, mores, and religious of individuals belonging to other cultures as vulnerable components of their identity. If these were steamrolled by Western pundits, this might result in an empowered majority culture subjugating a vulnerable minority. In the eyes of many modern feminists, lecturing people of other cultures about what values they should have can very easily border on cultural imperialism and be disempowering to minorities.

This is where the confusion comes in: Prosaically speaking, worrying about steamrolling minority cultures has very little to do with women’s rights and very much to do with an overall agenda of fighting racism, where modern feminists see themselves as the defenders of vulnerable minorities.

This is why leading feminist pundits all over northern Europe were left speechless when 2000 Middle Eastern and North Africa men stage a massed sexual assault on 1200 European women.  Obviously these men were trampling the rights of women underfoot. But they were also part of what many modern feminists perceived as a vulnerable minority culture. They wouldn’t risk being the enablers of cultural imperialism.

In this way we can see how modern feminism is trapped in a contradiction between two philosophical traditions that simply cannot be synthetized. The enlightenment one, that cares about equal rights and is rational, individualistic and universalist. And the romantic one, which places more stress on the personal, the particular, and on protecting minorities from cultural hegemony and imperialism. And this is what we call The Contradiction in Modern Feminism.

Roger Scruton i den danske idedebat

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

RESUMÉ
Den britiske filosof Roger Scruton (1944 – ) fremhæves ofte som konservatismens mest indflydelsesrige nulevende filosof. Som forfatter til mere end 40 bøger, der behandler alt fra arkitektur og æstetik til seksualitet, græsk-romersk historie og britisk retspraksis kan Scruton lægge navn til  et vidtrækkende og komplekst livsværk, hvis facetter alle danner baggrund for hans politiske konservatisme. Scruton er imidlertid ingen doktrinær konservativ, men slår ofte til lyd for en forbrødring mellem konservative og klassisk liberale (mens han dog forsager de rene liberale, da de efter hans mening ikke har tilstrækkelig respekt for traditionelle værdier og den historiske proces).

Dette notat præsenterer en samling kortere essays fra borgerlige meningsdannere i Danmark, der hver skriver om Scruton på baggrund af deres personlige position i idedebatten herhjemme: Professor Nicolai J. Foss fra Copenhagen Business School vil nærme sig Scruton fra et klassisk liberalt perspektiv, der indeholder både liberale og konservative elementer. Teolog og formand for Trykkefrihedsselskabet Katrine Winkel Holm blev bedt om at vurdere Scrutons tænkning set med dansk-konservative øjne. Endelig tilfalder det antropolog og forfatter Dennis Nørmark at imødegå nogle af de Scruton’ske kritikker af den værdipolitiske liberalisme i sin rene form.

Samtlige skribenter finder tankegods hos Scruton, de er enige i, men også punkter, der mødes med reservationer og ægger til yderligere debat.

Scruton Notat Final

Antisocial personality

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

The history of the antisocial personality is long and complex. You may have heard the terms sociopath and psychopath, which are used to refer to individuals who behave violently, aggressively, and selfishly. The media often apply these labels to serial killers. Indeed, the features of the “psychopath” and “sociopath” are similar to the current descriptions of the antisocial style. It is characterized by a persistent and pervasive disregard for the needs and rights of others.

Antisocial personality traits can often be seen already in early childhood, for example, in the form of aggression toward people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness, theft, or the serious violation of rules. In adulthood, antisocial personalities usually continue to engage in behaviors that harm others, and they tend to be indifferent to how their behavior affects other people.

In contrast with other personality styles, most of the features of the antisocial personality are behaviors that can be observed, rather than thoughts or feelings that the therapist must attempt to analyze. Behaviors such as being indifferent to the interests of others, failure to obey the law, harassment, theft, or fraud.

Antisocial individuals are usually deceitful and manipulative and will lie or charm others to obtain money, power, or sex. Lying is a common trait among people with antisocial personality, and antisocial personalities can typically tell lies with ease.

While many antisocials can be devious and charming, and good at manipulating others, the antisocial temperament is at root impulsive. Antisocial personalities can only hold back their true intentions for so long before they have to discharge their pent-up frustration, or chase a new gratification, such as sex, alcohol, gambling, fraud, and so on.

Many antisocials have trouble holding a job, and even antisocials who at first glance appear successful will typically have a resume characterized by lots of different jobs held in quick succession.

The antisocial temperament is irritable and aggressive. Many engage in physical fights and may end up in prison. However, if the antisocial is a high-IQ individual, one will typically see these same tendencies unfold in the domain of interpersonal manipulation instead. The antisocial is still irritable and aggressive, but they use these dark sensations as a catalyst to manipulate and defraud others, rather than fight them with their fists.

Some antisocials also display a marked disregard for their own safety, along with that of others, and may engage in drug abuse, unsafe sex, or reckless driving.

Despite the harm they cause, most antisocials do not feel remorse and guilt. In fact, many are constitutionally incapable of such emotions. They may understand that others regard their actions as deplorable and adjust their demeanor to give the impression that they regret what they have done. But inwardly, they almost never do.

Antisocial individuals are cynical, callous, arrogant, and cocky. Some antisocials are also extremely intelligent and charming. Their combination of charm, recklessness, and indifference to others can create an extremely manipulative and potentially dangerous person and, for reasons that are not fully understood, this charming but dangerous personality can often be extremely attractive to certain women. Whether they be blue-collar brawlers or white-collar fraudsters, many antisocials have scores of female fans and admirers, who often know full well that the antisocial is mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

The antisocial personality is noticeably more common in males than in females, with studies reporting the ratio to be somewhere between one-to-three and one-to-five.

In the history of psychology, most therapists have traditionally regarded antisocial personalities as untreatable. However, not everyone agrees, and some therapists believe they can help antisocial personalities to consider a broader range of actions and consequences before rushing to discharge their frustration. At any rate, almost everyone agrees that the antisocial style is one of the most difficult personalities to treat.



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