Thursday, November 04, 2004
A Painters Light and the Enlightenment
"America, the first real democracy in history, was a product of Enlightenment values - critical intelligence, tolerance, respect for evidence, a regard for the secular sciences. Though the founders differed on many things, they shared these values of what was then modernity. They addressed "a candid world," as they wrote in the Declaration of Independence, out of "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind." Respect for evidence seems not to pertain any more, when a poll taken just before the elections showed that 75 percent of Mr. Bush's supporters believe Iraq either worked closely with Al Qaeda or was directly involved in the attacks of 9/11.
The secular states of modern Europe do not understand the fundamentalism of the American electorate. It is not what they had experienced from this country in the past. In fact, we now resemble those nations less than we do our putative enemies."
-Garry Wills, adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University
garry wills' op-ed piece in the new york times hits hard on the anti-intellectualism and anti-historicism that lies at the heart of the christian fundamentalists backing bush. wills observes that enemies come to resemble each other and in their misguided bloodlust and immoral war in iraq contemporary fundamentalist christians have created their own jihad.
this is not about mere politics but instead a clash of rational minds against the forces of ignorance and superstition.
as americans. as artists, as philosophers, scientists, doctors, writers, musicians, poets, actors, historians, free-thinkers and members of the world community now is not the time to acquiese but instead the time to remember and declare our american roots in the enlightenment.
as a painter i believe in light- not just light that bathes us in a warm glow of beauty but light that also reveals and creates a path to understanding.
do not let them take the light from us