I’ve been fascinated by Tudor Parfitt’s work for some thirty years. If ever there were someone whose life as an academic had any genuine appeal to me, it would be his. In his pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake he has had a profound effect on the understanding of that paradigm puzzle case of social identity, i.e. Jewish identity, and indeed social identity at large, without having to resort to a clunky tired off-the-peg marxism that still hangs cult-like over anthropology like a bad smell. Judiciously bringing science together with history and anthropology, Parfitt has come up with some fascinating results, results that the pseudo-inquiry aprioristic social justice castrati can never achieve — as Susan Haack cautioned twenty years ago:
A pseudo-inquirer seeks to make a case for the truth of some proposition(s) determined in advance. There are two kinds of pseudo-inquirer, the sham and the fake. A sham reasoner is concerned, not to find out how things really are, but to make a case for some immovably-held preconceived conviction. A fake reasoner is concerned, not to find out how things really are, but to advance himself by making a case for some proposition to the truth-value of which he is indifferent.
The takeover of the humanities and the social sciences is now complete, so much so, that there is nowhere left for them to colonize (as veriphobes, reality is indifferent to them, hence their frustration, bitterness and of course authoritarianism) — and so we can delight in the spectacle of them eating their own via purity tests, not to mention the ludicrousness of them having become Islam’s bitch.
For those unfamiliar with Tudor Parfitt’s work, below is a recent introductory and quite personal talk (unfortunately we don’t see the slides). Several documentaries are available on YouTube — well worth checking out if you seek some intelligent and entertaining viewing:
And of course Parfitt’s books give the fine-grained detail that his programmes and talks cannot — and they are very easy reads. I was lucky enough to have had dinner with Tudor’s Oxford tutor some twenty years ago, David Patterson (obits here and here). With hindsight I’m embarrassed to say that my chat with David solely concerned Tudor but he was most gracious about it. Fortunately Tudor wasn’t at SOAS when I was in the vicinity in Malet St. — if at all possible, I tried to avoid going into that hateful cesspool of activism.