In genius and influence, according to Christopher Dawson, Abu Hamed Mohammad Ghazali (1058–1111) most resembles Saint Thomas Aquinas. This is indeed high praise. The Persian scholar’s most famous work is The Destruction of Philosophy (Tehâfat el Falâsifah). As a Moslem thinker, he saw clearly the fundamental incompatibility between the Moslem faith and the Greek conception of the universe as an intelligible order that can be penetrated by human reason. He did not succeed, however, in destroying philosophy, but he did succeed, to some degree, in submerging it.
In our own day, philosophy remains submerged because it is incompatible with the reigning ideology of political correctness. The absence of philosophy in the public forum prevents a view of reality that everyone can share. Ideologies are limited to a partisan group. Without a universal truth, particular groups will remain at odds with each other. Philosophy is the search for and, to a certain extent, the discovery of truth. Without a unifying philosophy, people remain divided, with one tribe setting itself against another tribe.
Logic is an essential part of philosophy. It abhors contradiction and demands consistency. Racism, therefore, is racism no matter what race it unjustly demeans and degrades. If all rectangles are four-sided, then every particular rectangle must be four-sided, including those that are square, rhomboid, or trapezoid. It is inconsistent for any race to assume a racist attitude toward another race simply because that race is different or has either exercised or suffered the injustice of racism.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily
Nobel laureate Albert Camus once stated that we must find a way in which we are neither executioners nor victims. His proposal for an even playing field is perfectly consistent with an over-arching philosophy of humanity: all men are created equal, and no race is superior to another.
A crucial question concerning the turmoil that abounds in today’s world is whether “Black Lives Matter” is a realistic and effective tool in combating the evil of racism. Philosophy must be called upon to deal with this important question. The fact that it is submerged poses a problem, for it is only the breadth of philosophy that can expose the narrowness of an ideology.
Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier, himself a black man, and archbishop of Durban, South Africa, has stated that “a brief study of the founding statement of ‘Black Lives Matter’ indicates the movement is being hijacked by the interests and parties committed to dismantling the very values, structure and institutions which have over the centuries undergird the best civilizations and cultures!” The cardinal, together with a rising number of other people of color, have denounced BLM for its renunciation of the nuclear family, its embrace of the LGBTQ+ consortium, and its promotion of abortion. They represent tangible proof that Black Lives Matter is divisive even among blacks. Cardinal Napier questioned whether black lives matter even to the organizers of Black Lives Matter. He cited their indefensible allegiance with Planned Parenthood.
“Is there any good reason,” Cardinal Napier asked, “other than political correctness, why abortion is not defined as and declared immoral and illegal, as the hate crime of our era?” Absolute silence concerning the protection of black babies in the womb does not, logically, show that black lives matter.
In the United States, there are 138 abortions for every 1,000 live births. But among blacks, the figure is 501 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Logic indicates that if black lives mattered, BLM would show some concern for the disproportionate rate of abortions among people who are black. New York City health statistics, for example, show that more black babies are aborted than are born each year. Yet, Alicia Garza, a co-founder of BLM states that “reproductive justice”—that is, abortion—“is very much situated within the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland, of Tyler, Texas, has condemned BLM because of its announced threat to the good of society. On Independence Day, 2020, he cited a BLM statement declaring its plan to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement.” Bishop Strickland states that the BLM organization “fails to acknowledge that the breakdown of the nuclear family, which disproportionately affected blacks in America, was at the heart of the downward spiral of crime, poverty, and dependence in which many blacks found themselves.” Ryan Bomberger, a man of color, has inaugurated Radiance Foundation, a life-affirming foundation. He posted on his website, “Top Ten reasons I’ll never support the #Black Lives movement.”
A co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, a Black Muslim named Yusra Khogali, has argued that white people are “recessive defects” and mused about how their race could be “wiped out”. She has called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “a white supremacist terrorist” and has urged crowds to “rise up and fight back.”
The discrepancy between logic and ideological rhetoric has given a great deal of space for “anything goes,” including violence to people, property, and language itself. One can understand the anger of some people and how their anger gives rise to a less than temperate reaction. This belongs to the field of psychology. These people need help, not governmental control. It is more difficult to understand how people who should know better and who have not been angered by injustice can defend the BLM position on a philosophical basis.
Although submerged, philosophy is not dead. It retains its reasonableness. But it does need to be resuscitated before it can benefit people and provide a basis for universal brotherhood. Anger must subside and dialogue must begin. This is a tall order but a necessary one. We need people of courage, such as Cardinal Napier, Bishop Strickland, and Ryan Bomberger, to lead the way. They are truly valiant, for they are willing to surrender repose in order to disseminate truth.