Erik Larson

Nov 15, 2008

Camille Paglia

Philosopher Edward Feser writes about libertarianism , and in particular its philosophical compatibility with Conservativism. It’s a little dated now (2001), but still contains references to celebrity pseudo-intellectual libertines like Bill Maher. I wasn’t shocked to see Maher depicted by Feser as a “self-styled ‘libertarian’” celebrity “whose libertarianism amounts to little more than an enthusiasm for legalized abortion and homosexual chic…”, but was suprised to see Salon contributor Camille Paglia on Feser’s list (that is, of people we should not take too seriously when discussing libertarianism, and I think safe to say political philosophy generally).

Maher is, after all, a clever and cleverly misogynistic “shock” celeb with enough intellect to be dangerous; he never manages (or, I imagine, cares) to scrape too far below the thin veneer of sardonic humour while somehow staying in the vicinity of an actual point.

But Paglia? I keep seeing her on Salon (which, in spite of some invective I’ll occasionaly throw its way, I will read). Her latest is some longish article with a section on why she likes Palin. For someone who professes to voting twice for President Clinton, her latest is quite a departure, it seems. Among the juicier tidbits: Pro Life feminists like Palin (does she mean Pro Life females ?) will “be the next big shift in feminism”, and “So she doesn’t speak the King’s English — big whoop!”.

I know very little about Paglia, other than she’s been lampooned on the Internet as a light-weight masquerading as an intellect, and that Feser placed her on a list with Maher as examples of how-not-to-be a serious Libertarian (of Conservative fusionist stripes or not).

Salon, at any rate, must think something of her.