The Menace of Pragmatism: How Aversion to Principle Is Destroying America (MP3 download)
By Tara Smith
ARC Speaker Series; December 8, 2008
Shouldn’t we be pragmatic?
While Americans disagree vehemently about all manner of moral and political issues, beneath that disagreement rests the shared presumption that the way forward is always through moderation and compromise. In intellectual method—i.e., in our way of addressing problems and disagreements—Americans are united as pragmatists. Contrary to pragmatism’s image of reason and practical good sense, however, pragmatic methodology is actually self-destructive.
Dr. Tara Smith explains what pragmatism is and the countless ways it is manifested across the cultural spectrum. She analyzes the major elements of pragmatism’s appeal as well as its fundamental errors. Dr. Smith also surveys the vast damage that pragmatic methods inflict, damage that is spiritual as well as material. Finally, the lecture considers the most effective means of dethroning this pervasive—and destructive—mindset.
This is a revised and updated version of “The Menace of Pragmatism,” delivered at the 2008 Objectivist Summer Conference in Newport Beach, CA.