40 George Square is the name chosen by the authorities at Edinburgh University in place of what was the David Hume Tower. I used the word authorities because I was unsure how to spell sycophants and I didn’t have a dictionary to hand. I suppose I might have used toadies, creeps, grovellers, spaniels, lickspittles or brown-nosers.
The tower is being renamed because it “causes distress” through its association with the great philosopher’s allegedly racist attitudes back in the 18th century. The Rampaging Black Lives Matter (BLM) group to whom the Edinburgh lickspittles are in thrall don’t like people with David Hume’s views. So David Hume has to be cancelled before he causes any further distress. All I can say is that some people are very easily distressed. For my own part, I am not terribly distressed when I hear that David Hume shared some of the views of most of his contemporaries. But I am very distressed by the rampaging, looting, burning and violence of the marauding thugs and vandals of BLM.
On the university’s decision, the philosopher Damon Linker commented: “So you don’t love David Hume? No worries. He thinks you’re idiots, and he’s right.” Idiots – is that all they are? I commend Dr Linker for his most moderate use of language. That iconoclastic decision is the intellectual equivalent of the thuggery perpetrated by BLM. Whatever Hume’s crimes, he never went around “causing distress” by acts of arson and robbery which deprive people of their livelihood and threaten to deprive them of their lives. By contrast, David Hume was renowned among his contemporaries in the Scottish Enlightenment as one of the most genial, affable and generous men around. His London talking pals Samuel Johnson, James Boswell and Joshua Reynolds thought the world of him.
Moreover, Hume wrote clear, pleasing and euphonious English – which is more than his detractors, the sanctimonious educational bureaucrats in Edinburgh. I have been reading their Philosophy syllabus. Don’t try it is you retain any affection for the English language
But when it comes to Philosophy, Hume had such weird notions that I am surprised to see that they have carried so much influence for these last 250 years. Boswell said, “Mr Hume has written some books which are very unfavourable to religion.” He did. For example, on the subject of miracles he said, “For there to be grounds for believing in a miracle, its non-occurrence would have to be ore improbable than its occurrence.” Of course! That’s what miracles are: exceptionally rare events and thus highly improbable. And to claim that an event is highly improbable is not at all the same thing as to say it is impossible. For example, it is very highly improbable that anyone should win the National Lottery’s jackpot: but someone does win it every week. Perhaps there occur only about as many miracles as hat tricks in Test Match cricket. Rare but clearly not impossible. I suggest, David, that God saves his miracles for special occasions. Certainly, that’s what it looks like.
Secondly, what do we make of Hume’s epistemology, his theory of knowledge? In his famous – and wonderfully readable Enquiry, he writes:
“If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.”
Elegantly put. You see what I mean when I praise him as a master of English prose? But it is a very poor argument: in fact it’s a piece of nonsense, because contradictory. Why? Because Hume’s statement contravenes his own strictures: for it itself contains neither experimental reasoning nor abstract reasoning. Thus Hume’s statement is an example of one of those things which, he says, we should commit to the flames as a piece of sophistry and illusion.
Hume also claimed that we have “no reason” to expect the sun to rise tomorrow unless we invoke what he called “the principle of induction.” Why do we need to drag in some remote artificial such as an abstract principle? The view is absurd. If the sun has risen every single day in the history of the solar system, what else should we expect it to do tomorrow? This is an instance of Hume’s argument against miracles, this time turned against himself: for, given that the sun has alwaysrisen in the mornings, it is more improbable to claim that it will not rise tomorrow than that it will. Indeed, for the sun not to rise would be a miracle!
For fancy’s sake, let us suppose that the sun had risen on 90% of all the days that had ever been, we should still have overwhelming reason to believe that it will rise again tomorrow. There is even a precise technical explanation in formal logic for Hume’s mistake: it is called ignoratio elenchi by high redefinition of the word reason. Or, as they say in the PhD seminar, missing the bloody point.
And then Hume he also believed that we accept the truth of the proposition Every event has a cause on the basis of our constant experiences: if we drop our slice of toast, it falls to the ground, water heated for long enough in a kettle will boil, if you prick me, do I not bleed and so on. But Hume is quite wrong. We don’t in fact snoop on every event that occurs to check that they all have causes. Every event has a cause is a presupposition, something we all take for granted, a part of our mental furniture. It is what Immanuel Kant meant when he said, “There are no percepts without concepts.”
It is what R.G. Collingwood termed an absolute presupposition – something we couldn’t get along without.
Generous-hearted Hume said, Be a philosopher, but amid all your philosophy, be a man.
God bless David Hume! And God curse the Edinburgh lickspittles and the thugs in BLM
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Hume also wrote an enormous (and enormously readable) History of England, in which he adumbrated “whig history” – the idea that all change is change for the better – and thus caused Lord Macaulay. One might almost go so far as to say that he caused Karl Marx, and later went on to cause BLM.
I always like to recommend a book when I visit the SR pages. Since Fr Mullen has mentioned Sir Joshua Reynolds, I hereby recommend his “Discourses on Art”, which are as lucidly written as any of Hume’s books, and a satisfactory antidote not only to “modern” art but to “romantic” art too.
Thanks for this entertaining deconstruction of Hume – and Black Lives Matter.
It is highly improbable that a particle can be in two places at once; It is highly improbable that measuring something will change it, yet according to quantum physics, it is so.
“…improbable is not at all the same thing as to say it is impossible…”
Well said , Rev; but I don’t like your National Lottery analogy to miracles. I have won so many free lottery tickets in my life, they no longer count as miracles on my ledger. And keep in mind that the difference between a free ticket and a jackpot is inconsequential to Christians like you and me.
I already have the centennial edition of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) and the 70th anniversary edition of David O. Selznick’s Gone With the Wind (1939), so I’m good.
No, no, they can’t take that away from me.
I believe there is legislation somewhere to the effect that “racist” material may be kept in a private library so long as it is not shown to another person; quis custodiet….? Humpty Dumpty as Big Brother.
General Notice To The Populace:
Without regret, we inform you that Proper White Society, previously reported as on its last legs, has died of wounds.
Special notice to white females:
If you thought you had it bad under The White Patriarchy, just wait until you experience what blacks and/or Muslims, of male, female, and the various other genders have in store for you.
Great surname, Harry.
Thank you johnhenry.
Over the years, there have been many blacks who have asked me to consider that my name represents an extreme case of very bad cultural/racial appropriation.
In reply, I have asked them to consider if any black African language, extant before black African interaction with Europeans, included words that distinguished the colour “white” from the colour “black”.
Those black people, always with great appreciation of the significance of this question, and acknowledging that the non-existence of written black languages before the influence of Europeans would present difficulties in ascertaining an answer, volunteered to do undertake the necessary investigations.
While I have not heard back from any of them, I do assume that the answers they uncovered revealed important information to be considered on this matter.
BTW, I have had very considerable constructive influence among black, Arab Muslim, Asian and aboriginal (shall we say “First Nations”) communities outside of Europe, by asking them to consider that “superstition” is the application of false/fake causes to false/fake effects.
All best, Harry.
-though, it is true I have had less success in this endeavour -reducing superstition- among marxist-inspired whites -a type of white that is now in the majority, it seems.
Ah! So that’s what “First Nation” means. The people who were there first. Typical of white, liberal racists to assume that the only events of significance in the history of suppression are the arrivals of the whites. Who was there before the “First Nations” and how well did they come out of it? Quite possibly not too wall.
DNA shows that “Native Americans” are the descendants of immigrants from Siberia who crossed from northern Asia to north America around 15,000 years ago, when the the continents were joined by a land bridge where the Bering Strait is today
Yes of course, the marxist/BLMer dominance of the universities is bad for civilisation in its various aspects.
But with the death overnight of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, our attention must go to an even bigger issue.
Can the Republicans replace Ginsberg before 3 Nov with a not-too-marxist judge?
Even if they can, a future Democrat Admin and Democrat Senate will seek to expand SCOTUS and fill it with marxist/BLMer/open-borders kinds of judges.
Few Americans and far fewer non-Americans comprehend the decisive significance of a marxist-inspired SCOTUS for the survival of the entire West, and with that the well-being of the Rest-
-because without a productive West that maintains relative individual freedoms and private ownership of productive assets, the population of Rest will increasingly starve and of course, cease to enjoy much in the way of healthcare.
And like it or not, a productive West depends for its existence on a non-marxist USA
Yes, Harry Black. Filling the SCOTUS vacancy ought to be Trump’s legacy. There’s nothing he can do in a second term as important as this opportunity to frustrate the enemies of all that isn’t evil for many years to come.
But he’s an incompetent buffoon who will probably foul it up.
PJR, yes Trump does have his negatives.
But Trump does have his positives, namely he seems to be, currently, the sole figure on the non-marxist side of US politics who has the pulling power to rouse (perhaps) sufficient non-marxist voters to actually vote non-/anti-marxist in the presidential election.
Anycase, confirmation of SCOTUS judges is the job -constitutionally- of the Senate.
And so it’s the work of GOP Senate big-wigs McConnell, Graham and others to ensure that the GOP Senators vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Might be that Trump, through the Trump campaign machine, and the RNC itself will be working to ensure that GOP Senators Collins and Murkowski and perhaps Romney do not wobble on this one.
As someone said, it is time to place -for the first time- a conservative female on the Supreme Court of the USA.
Separately, but related:
Over my many decades of working in the precincts of powerful people whose actions affect the lives and livelihoods of many, and also in my work with people of no special political powers, on several continents, I have found it useful in assessing such people never to apply global judgments of their persons, such as “incompetent” and “buffoon”.
Rather, if one is to use people effectivley to achieve important outcomes, it is most useful to assess their potential contributions at levels of specific details and characteristics pertinent to the work at hand.
So: For the task to be done, big or small, what is the best use of this person?
All best, Harry.
1. ACB has adopted African children, so she’s not likely to be of much use when the issue of non-white immigration becomes a matter of national survival in the USA, as it already is in the UK. She’s good, but she isn’t perfect.
2. I wouldn’t call Trump an incompetent buffoon anywhere where US voters might be influenced, but I hope you’ll forgive me for expressing my frustration with him here, where US voters are unlikely to be plentiful.
PJR -yes good points.
Now, just might be possible that ACB can separate the factors that led her to adopt the two Haitian children from the more general question of immigration and national survival.
More generally still, perhaps in coming decades some proper Western leaders will encourage Western naive idealists and Western big-business proponents of cheap low-end labour/nett-consumers to confront the destructive realities of importing large numbers of the types of people who, as a group, are uneducable, non-productive and prone to violence and other criminality -all at rates far greater than the host white populace.
Add to that the emerging reality of the costs to the host Western precincts of surveillance-policing-incarceration of members of some of those groups who are actively paving the way for the caliphate or the CCP.
It’s all terribly difficult, isn’t it.
Much more difficult in its way than 1914-18/1939-45.
All best to you PJR,
The marxist people are taking full power/control in all institutions.
Presentation of facts and appeals to reason and good sense will not be a decisive counter-force to final marxist victory.
Thinking caps on!
Really, what are we willing to sacrifice, what price are we willing to pay, to save ourselves, our families, our property?
Disagree with Hume? That’s what rational adults do. I have problems also with Thomas Aquinas, Karl Marx and Joe Feagin, to name a few, but have no desire to cancel them as unpersons. Hume was wrong about civilizations as the exclusive achievement of white people, but his opinion of average comparative intelligence among black Africans has not been totally refuted by recent research. There are quite a number of western philosophers who have expressed “racist” views of one sort or another; Bertrand Russell changed his standpoint in a liberal direction. Of course, by the mob-criteria on “race, gender, class” scores of British and other white people, including Shakespeare and Darwin must be traduced. Incidentally, “racist” opinions can be quoted from non-white writers, past and present. But the hidden motive behind the current agitation is a deadkt attack on western civilization itself. Toppling statues, banning names, removing artworks and “de”colonization of the “curriculum” are just the opening battles.
David Starkey pointed out that it was impossible for these BLM people, and other such, to ‘decolonise’ the culture because they are part of it.
Actually “de”-colonisation in our case means the insertion of new colonial cultures into an indigeneous culture, and the alteration or removal of much of the native culture, i.e. English/European Dead White Heterosexual Male writings, art and music.
If we understand the current attacks on all the values and practices associated with ‘western civilisation’ to be a continuation, a perhaps a revival, of Lenin’s Comintern complete with front organisations, idealistic slogans, and disruptive guerilla-type actions then we must look to our systems of national defence for a revival of their strategies for countering the current manifestations of an old problem. Since we are unlikely to be told much about these counter measures (if they exist) we can only hope they include greater vigilance against latter-day versions of Philby, Burgess, Maclean, Blunt and Cairncross. And presumably all the other boys and girls in the orchestra.
Many more concepts -of the variety that is anti-empirical and anti-freedom for the nett productive individual- have been added to the “marxist” framework since those elevated by Marx and Engels.
I will not go into that here.
But I will ask the question:
Among those in charge of putative counter-measures -the politicians, the civil servants, including the operatives themselves- is the proportion of those who are marxist-inspired larger or smaller than those in the days of Philby et al?
I suppose I ought to have the sense to use a pseudonym. Still, I claim to no relationship, political or otherwise, to the famous (even nowadays for heaven’s sake!) one.
As to your point about the beliefs of those who should be active in the defence of western values, I really couldn’t say what they think. One has to assume that their beliefs will be a little on the traditional or conservative side of the average for those of which ever educational generation to which they belong – late career, late ‘boomers’ or more likely Gen-X’ers. Which indeed makes them, to some degree at least, part of the problem.
They are also likely to share some traditional Anglo-British characteristics, including appeasement of all but the most existential of threats. So, perhaps what the rest of us should do is join the millennials and start a campaign to de-fund the Secret Services. That should make ‘em jump!
David -if we may go to first names- I did not intend or even think to question your name.
It was merely my way of addressing you, of gaining your attention.
Now, I chuckle of course at your comment on the “appeasement of all but the most existential threats” -very good indeed.
And chuckle too at the idea to make ’em jump at the prospect of de-funding -again, very good.
Just to set the scene for my concerns about occupants of seats the various councils and the operations branches:
I sometimes sense, that similar to what some senior people said after 1945, the view is:
“The only thing we can do now is to manage our decline.”
Just that now it’s about managing the surrender.
All best, Harry.
Actually, the demise at Edinburgh University of devotion to empiricism and logic regarding the state of secular affairs is not the most threatening matter before us.
That distinction belongs to the US presidential election on Nov 3.
Whoever wins, there will riots, looting, destruction of public and private property, including burning of businesses large and small, and deaths and injuries esp to police.
This will be copied all over the West -because, monkey see, monkey do.
And if Harris-Biden win, there will be the dismantling of the fossil-fuel energy industry with consequent massive job losses and prices for all goods and services shooting to the stars.
There will be riots, violence, and destruction by BLM-marxist forces almost at the scale were Trump to win-
-because a Harris-Biden Admin will not be able to make everything nice for non-whites and their white marxist organisers and funders any more than Obama could “cool the planet and push back the oceans”, as he very grandly and generously promised to do.
Anyway yes, the BLM-marxist attacks on the Western peoples, esp in the Anglosphere, will be big-
-and the toadies in the Anglosphere’s education systems, in the civil/public services, in the “news” media, in the legal/crim justice systems, in the police, in big business, and in elective politics will all do their very best to appease, indeed surrender to non-whites and Muslims from everywhere.
Another shocking display from people who expect to be respected for commitment to the intellectual development of the individual, and in particular to the humane benefits of physical science. Their priority is clearly to survive, rather like the Vicar of Bray
“And this is law I will maintain
Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever King may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!“
It’s more than to “survive”.
It’s the power over others, the social position, and the money -vastly more than such toadies could command if they pursued honest lines of work.
Thanks for the prompt Harry. Status for all, power for some and wealth for the few at the top are common enough human motivators. Are they knee-bending out of pragmatism or, heaven forbid, do they actually believe in this ideological curse of our age?
Some are pragmatists, some are true-believers/naive idealists.
And some can smell power, real power.
These power-smellers will be the commissars.
Well, they are already -all through the civil services, incl the education systems and local council levels, and many too in big business.
All best to you Phil,
And the dumb-down and elimination of free speech in the mass education systems -which includes the elite universities.
And the elimination of self-sufficiency -now replaced by the saintliness of being a client of the state.
And then there’s the fake “science” that has self-righteous people believing that human-produced CO2 is changing the climate-
-as manipulated by the marxists in the UN and EU, and in most of the civil/public services in the West.
Oh and the arts/entertainment/”news” industry -chuckle.
Add in recreational drugs starting with the excessive use of alcohol and tobacco, and extending on down.
Now, take a lesson from history:
How are wars won, properly?
By elimination of the enemy’s capabilities and will to continue fighting.
Job too big?
Yes, seems so.
For irrefutable evidence on the metastasis of the “race, gender, class” critical studies from the US campus in the 1960s into the “equality, diversity, inclusion” ideology running the UK today, an “agenda-networking” process I can confirm from direct personal observation and abundant research, see e.g. Michael William, “Genesis of Political Correctness” (2016). On the BLM explosion, see the online analyses by John Perazzo, Spencer Irvine, Tom Slater, Jeff Davidson, Jared Taylor, Soeren Kern, Ed Dutton, Tripp Parker, &c.
Oswald Spengler foresaw this in his “Jahre der Entscheidung” 87 years ago.
Re Hume, his view of black people was not dissimilar to those expressed by the great Islamic sociologist-historian Ibn Khaldun and the philosopherArthur Schopenhauer. The libertarian Herbert Spencer opposed crossing between widely different races and supported Japanese anti-miscegenation legislation.
See also the “Human BioDiversity Booklists” online for “un-woke” anthropology.
“I suppose I might have used toadies, creeps, grovellers, spaniels, lickspittles or brown-nosers.”
You might also have used cu*ts. Excuse my French, please.
I’ve long suspected the real reason for widespread and abject hatred of notable white men from David Hume to Donald Trump, is simply envy. Personally, I have no problem recognising that Mr Trump, crass though he is, can be considered a superior person to myself. He would not have lived the life he has if that were not the case. No problem here. The same goes for any of the men depicted in statues defaced or torn down by rampaging mobs of semi-infantile wastrels; they are memorialised as such because their contribution to society – be they philosopher, statesman or scientist – exceed our own modest efforts, and the efforts of the mob, by some considerable margin. I venture that these jealous types are well aware their own lives lack any purpose or credibility, so resort to the only solution their limited intellectual capabilities can muster: the defamation or destruction of the agents of that awareness.
The enslavement of blacks was started and maintained by blacks and by Arab African Muslims.
The enslavement of blacks was ended by Acts of the British parliament and halted in practice by units of the (British) Royal Navy.
Some individual blacks and some individual Muslims are nett contributors to the economy and civil order of the West.
But as groups, blacks and Muslims are nett consumers of wealth created by whites, and are nett costs to the Western civil order.
Will be ever thus, due to their propensities to violence and other criminality, and due to their non-educability and non-trainability.
Gives me no pleasure or sense of superiority (as an above-median white positive contributor) to point out these things.
Meanwhile, as per the article, there are many whites who toady their way along, in fear of losing their own economic and social positions were they not to toady.
And, just might be that such toadying whites, while acting as they are to appease blacks and Muslims, are actually also resisting even more extreme idiocies now being demanded by blacks and Muslims from everywhere.
Taki’s Mag has published the full story of the death of George Floyd, which was compared to lynching in the “New Statesman” recently, but was not in fact a white supremacist murder. The mobs were incited by a lie. Very different from the Stephen Lawrence case and ugly killings of blacks in past years in the USA. There have been racist murders of whites by non-whites in the USA and UK.
Does anyone know the size of Edinburgh’s contribution to the coffers of BLM? Are these bandwagon-jumping academics aware that they are pressing ‘accept’ to what Douglas Murray has memorably called the ‘societal malware’ that is BLM? They are spreading the infection. But at least they have reintroduced me and many others to the charm, wit and challenge of one of our greatest philosophers. Own goal, Edinburgh!