Magazine April 22, 2019, Issue

Diderot and the Enlightenment Cult of Reason

Denis Diderot (Wikimedia)
Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely, by Andrew S. Curran (Other Press, 528 pp., $28.95)

One hates to restate the obvious, but some matters require to be repeated until their dire significance really sinks in. Intellectual freedom and diversity are in danger of being expunged. Formerly respectable universities have become the province of a mentally barren professoriate indoctrinating new generations of virtuecrats, who have no room in their minds for any thoughts that might defy the latest orthodoxy. The outlook is grim, rich possibilities are being foreclosed, and the past masters who formed our civilization have become objects of loathing, not to be spoken of without scorn.

So one is grateful for small mercies, and this

This article appears as “Our Diderot” in the April 22, 2019, print edition of National Review.

Algis ValiunasMr. Valiunas is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a contributing editor of The New Atlantis.

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