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Combating Rationalism and 'Blackism' in the Thought of Black Conservative George S. Schuyler


  • Jack Kerwick


I argue that Schuyler-one of the most prolific American cultural commentators, white, black, or other, of the middle of the 20th century-is grossly misunderstood by his contemporary critics. Far from being the opportunistic political polemicist who was insensitive to the precarious situation of race relations in America that his detractors make him out to be, Schuyler was a sophisticated thinker well educated in the philosophical tradition known as conservatism. Though not a philosopher by trade, he articulated and defended epistemological, ethical, and political-philosophical suppositions long endorsed by such notable conservative theorists as Edmund Burke and Michael Oakeshott. And like the latter, he advanced conservatism in response to a philosophical orientation-rationalism-that conservatives have always recognized as being diametrically opposed to their own. The specific version of rationalism on which Schuyler set his sights is what I call "Blackism"-an abstract ideology that, he believed, undermined racial harmony by neglecting the concrete realities of race relations past and present. As an antidote to Blackism, Schuyler advanced his conservatism.

Suggested Citation

  • Jack Kerwick, 2014. "Combating Rationalism and 'Blackism' in the Thought of Black Conservative George S. Schuyler," E-LOGOS, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2014(1), pages 1-21.
  • Handle: RePEc:prg:jnlelg:v:2014:y:2014:i:1:id:358:p:1-21
    DOI: 10.18267/j.e-logos.358

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