His previous course was reasonably good. Only one out of eight lectures was political - he claimed that affirmative action was fully equivalent to segregation. The other seven lectures were good. This course is different. Fully one quarter of the course is spent on propagandizing the professor's radical position on abortion. Another quarter is spent attacking the idea that there is right to privacy, and defending laws banning contraception. 1/8 is spent defending the Vietnam War and claiming that South Vietnam was a democracy (an absurdity). Only about 1/4 of the course is non-political and non-religious. Frankly, I felt cheated. I did not buy this course to have Arkes force his political-religious views on me. His own students at Amherst have also noticed that his main concern is not teaching. A representative example from Rate My Professor: "Very redundant and obsessed with imparting his own political views on his students."
I do not use the word reactionary lightly, extreme reactionary even less. But in this case, it fits the bill. He is a convert to Catholicism, though he won't tell you that, preferring instead to pose as an independent, objective observer. All his views just happen to coincide with the infallible pronouncements of the Holy See. Same for his position on abortion, which he disguises: he refers to pro-lifers as "they", even as he takes their side on everything. Having certain beliefs would not be a problem if he were objective (like Peter Kreeft, another Catholic and conservative), but he isn't. He propagandizes his own religious beliefs, and dismisses out of hand any position that is in disagreement with his. He doesn't bother to refute them, he just puts a negative label on them, his favorite being "strange", and proceeds to assert his own (religious) belief without argument.
He takes the Todd Akin position on abortion, and it turns out that he has made the exact same argument in the past. I quote from his book: "[T]he fear induced by rape may interrupt the normal operation in hormones in the body of the woman, which in turn may prevent ovulation and conception." Except that unlike Akin, he won't even allow an exception for the life of the mother. He asserts his faith-based belief that it is not necessary, but actual experts disagree: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82640.html In fact, it turns out that he has justified the murder of abortion doctors in the past. See for yourself: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/killing-abortionists-a-symposium-31
More oddities: He makes the hysterical claim that people are marrying dogs, but then contradicts himself by stating that even in the future "we will still not be signing contracts with dogs and horses". He claims that a progressive income tax is fully equivalent to taxing Asians more. He also believes that the president can overturn Supreme Court decisions that he doesn't like.
This is not philosophy, this is not morality, it's thinly disguised religious propaganda.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.