The Saad Truth

I’ve been singing the praises of Glenn Loury and John McWhorter of Blogging Heads (“Where great minds don’t think alike”) here and here. Another channel that is doing terrific work in the fight against illiberalism and its most conspicuous manifestation, i.e. the suffocation of free speech, is The Saad Truth. The prime mover is Gad Saad, an evolutionary behavioral scientist that has the “testicular fortitude” to put his head above the parapet in discussing in a genuinely conversational/Socratic way the issues of the day. He has had some fascinating guests who, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb puts it, actually have “skin in the game,” including Faisal Saeed AlMutarPeter BoghossianDave RubinChristina Hoff Sommers and others, all fiercely independent-minded and who will not be coerced into towing some ideological party line or other — and whatever else separates their perspectives and conclusions (and they really are diverse in a meaningful way), they are bound by a commitment to free speech, taking on the obscurantism/illberality emanating from the Left and the Right. Free speech is the central epistemic virtue to test the tripe and multifarious charlantry, veriphobia and hypocrisy that plagues our world — perversely, much of it emanating from malicious Trojans within the one place that should countenance free speech — the academy. Another epistemic virtue that the aforementioned names share is that of modesty — no one metric/person/institution/system can claim a monopoly on truth — which is not coextensive with a commitment to the vulgar POMO social constructivist relativism of the ’80s and ’90s. TRUTH is a worthy and (always provisionally) achievable goal so long as one doesn’t make imperialistic incursions into domains using epistemic standards inappropriate to the subject matter — say, the politicization of art or science or religion or the marketocratic determination of all value — and permutations thereon. Without free speech, we might as well return to Plato’s cave and that’s why I often say that we are experiencing another Darkness at Noon moment.

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