Today, media commentators, intellectuals and politicians declare that western science and rationality are threatened by irrational enemies. Evangelicals, postmodernists, and Islamists are on the march, they say. The Rome that science built is under siege. But there’s a problem with these stirring attempts to defend the truth. They aren’t true.
In this urgent new book, Dan Hind confronts the great machinery of deception in which we live, and which now threatens to destroy our civilization. In particular, he takes to task a group of prominent intellectuals who have exaggerated the threat posed by the so-called forces of unreason—religion, postmodernism and other “mumbo-jumbo.” The commentators, says Hind, distract us from much more pressing threats to an open democratic society based on freedom of speech and inquiry.
This book shows that the real threats to reason aren’t wacky or foreign or stupid; they reside in our state and corporate bureaucracies — and, one way or another, they probably pay your salary. In recovering the idea of Enlightenment, Hind explores its vital importance and reveals how it can help us to achieve a truly democratic politics, in which we have a genuine say in the decisions that are taken on our behalf.
“A profound and much-needed contribution … In the spirit of Enlightenment thinkers, he both reveals the contradictions and hypocrises of contemporary politics, and also points a way forward.”—Joel Bakan
“Since September 11 2001, the idea of Enlightenment has been ripped from university textbooks and airlifted into battle between the West and its irrational enemies. In this elegant polemical essay, Dan Hind rightly quibbles with this supposedly Manichean tussle between the guarantors of Enlightenment in the West and everyone else. Hind wants to rescue the idea of Enlightenment from its usurpers, while pressing it into the service of something better.”—James Harkin
“Fine, lucid and sharp … well written and worth reading before the next wave of western tanks crosses a border, somewhere in the Middle East.”—Roy Liddle
“In this thoughtful polemic Dan Hind argues that we are being misled by a debased ‘Folk Enlightenment’ which has little in common with the Enlightenment initiated by Bacon and championed by Voltaire, Hume and Kant.”—Financial Times