[Buddha-l] Reading assignment

Richard P. Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Sat May 7 23:14:02 MDT 2005

On Friday afternoon I heard a short talk by Manfred Frings, who has
dedicated much of his life to editing the works of Max Scheler. Frings
claims that Scheler (most of whose good ideas were later pirated with
hardly any acknowledgement by both Heidegger and Sartre) was the only
German philosopher who spoke out against the rising of National
Socialism and Hitlerism. He was also an outspoken critic of Stalin. In
return for his reflections on the dangers of these two movements, both
the Nazis and the Soviets banned his works. It was not until Karol
Wojtyla wrote a dissertation on him that he came back into vogue.

This talk got me to wondering how many philosophers and other scholars
are speaking out clearly about the menaces facing us these days. There
are some, to be sure. But perhaps not enough.

Coincidentally (if you believe in the superstition of coincidence), on
Friday night my lovely wife thrust into my hands the latest issue of
Harpers and said "Read this!" In that issue there are several
excellently written and very sobering articles about key figures in the
religious right who have frequent contact with George W. Bush. We're
talking here about men and women who openly advocate beating ill-behaved
children and requiring the death penalty for homosexuality and adultery
and who have declared war on secular humanism, relativism, science,
rationalism, empiricism and all the world's false religions, including
Judaism and Islam. And I bet even Buddhism wins their disapproval. 

If you haven't read this issue yet, consider doing so. And then consider
exercising your free speech while you still have it to condemn the
fanaticism that has gripped far too much of our nation's government.

Richard Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico

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