11 April 2008

Wood Hits One Outa The Park

Ah, to be tenured and able to write such things ...

"This book was written mainly in the United States, between 2004 and 2006. The history of this period is a disgraceful one. It feels as if we have been living under a malignant alien occupation. An unelected political regime, representing everything that is worst about American culture, compiled a record of injustice, corruption, and gross incompetence at home, and of numerous and aggravated war crimes abroad. Then it was confirmed in office by another election of dubious legitimacy so that it might continue unrelentingly its monstrous wrongfulness and stupidity. Those with the power to oppose its crimes instead acquiesced in them, or else resisted too late, and too feebly. The very ideas of democracy, community, and human rights are in the process of dying in our civilization - or they are being willfully murdered by those in power and by that segment of the population which supports this regime. All they give us in place of these ideas is the empty words (and plenty of those). People have now perhaps begun to awaken to the situation, but the historical roots of what has happened are sunk deep in political trends of the previous century, and I fear these trends will not be reversed soon or easily. There are references here and there in the book to this dismal history, usually to illustrate arrogance, lying, and egregious violations of right. A few readers of my earlier work have told me they think this sort of thing is inappropriate in a scholarly book. But my worries about appearing "unscholarly" pale next to my shame, which all Americans should feel at having failed to prevent the disastrous course of events."

-- From the preface to Kantian Ethics by Prof. Allen Wood (Stanford University).