Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Reality Based

The “reality based” movement has morphed into the Net Roots.

Obviously they have decided that reality is too much of a burden and now references to reality are no longer required. All that is required now is belief. No pesky facts can in any way intrude.

Breath of the Beast has an interesting look at the origins of this kind of attitude in human mass psychology. He starts out with a quote from Louis Menand.

The mysterious part of totalitarianism’s appeal—and here we return to the Problem of the Loyal Henchmen—is that its official ideology can be, and usually is, absurd on its face, and known to be absurd by the leaders who preach it. This is because the mob is made up of cynics; for them, everything is a lie anyway. And the masses’ hostility is free-floating. It has no concrete object: the masses are hostile to life as it is. The more extreme and outrageous the totalitarian ideology, therefore, and the more devoid of practical political sense, the more ineluctable its appeal. Totalitarian rule, Arendt argued, is predicated on the assumption that proving that a thing is true is less effective than acting as though it were true. The Nazis did not invite a discussion of the merits of anti-Semitism; they simply acted out its consequences. This is why documents like the memorandums for which Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason and “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” continued to be believed even after they had been exposed as forgeries, and why the Moscow Trials were defended even by people who knew that the “confessions” were fraudulent. It’s why some of the defendants in those trials went uncomplainingly to be executed for crimes they had not committed.
The idea that the anger and disenfranchisement of the “Arab street” is in some way a comprehensible rationale for the callous barbarity of the attack on innocent civilians is an offense to humanity. Ironically, the very enormity of the crimes they commit and the wildness of the pretext they do it under, are taken by those who do not understand the game they are playing as proof of the authenticity (even righteousness) of what they do.

The rage, when looked at honestly, is nothing more than that same invincible, fervent stupidity that filled the air at the nazi rallies in Munich or that propelled the Bolshevik protesters into the streets of Moscow. This wild arousal state crowds out reason and hope. It pumps up its own excitation and then demands revenge on the world for the distress it has caused itself. Daniel Pearl’s death tape is the perfect illustration of the end result. It is actually mostly propaganda and screed. It is an obscene blend of lies, fabrications and outrageous distortions. It intimidates by showing Daniel Pearl being forced to “admit” to being a Jew and making him dwell on his Jewishness. Then at the end, after his head is hacked off and held up as a trophy, a threat scrolls onto the screen. This will be repeated “again and again” it promises. That phrase, “again and again” forms a mocking echo to the Israeli Slogan “never again”.

In much the same way that Hitler told the world what he had planned in Mein Kampf the Islamofascists are being very honest with us.
I am also reminded of the Christian philosopher Tertullian who may have said "I believe because it is absurd." Which is the way of madness.

In direct opposition to the Catholic Church's current position that faith and reason are not in opposition. Their little to do with Galileo seems to have cured them (mostly) of their opposition to science.

This conflict has been going on for a very long time. In fact we use Greek names for the opposing philosophies. Dionysian and Apollonian. Ecstasy vs. Reason.

My position in all this? I get my ecstasy from reason. Much more difficult than ecstasy alone. So much more worthwhile. It also avoids embarrasment when reality does not match faith. Since there can be no contradiction in my philosophy, then I simply modify my faith. The faith based people have no such luxury and thus are bound to smash into the wall of reason. Me? I prefer to brush lightly against it and change my course.

American Thinker weighs in on the subject of Islam's embrace of faith over rationality.
Muslim reformers of the past century - such as Mohammed Abdu, Refaa Al-Tahtawi, Taha Hussein, Ali Abdel-Razik and others - sought and unfortunately failed to modernize Islam. The militants, led by Hassan Al-Banna and his partisans, won this battle, and forced their vision to "Islamize" modernity on the people. They created a certain pattern - a mindset and a lifestyle - and promoted it as "The Valid Islam," Al Islam al-Sahih.

They resorted to seduction and fear to impose this pattern on their societies, and made sure to attach an "Islamic" label to each and every aspect, with the clear implication that other patterns were deemed non-Muslim and illegitimate. An increasingly wide array of things fall under this valid pattern: the Islamic dress, the Islamic banks, the Islamic economy, the Islamic education, the islamization of science, media and the judiciary system, the application and enforcement of Islamic laws, the widespread dissemination of the fundamentalist culture, the promotion of Islamic medicine and the Prophet's medicine, the expansion of Islamic organizations, the marginalization of the national identity of the state in favor of Islamic nationalism, and the islamization of daily vocabulary and political terms (mobayaa, welaya, shura, thawabet al-oma, etc..).

As a result, the Muslim countries wasted their chance to embrace modernity, opting instead to import a shallow veneer of modernity from the West; and they became idle consumers of the products of civilization, with no contributions to offer.
So now you know why we are in a war of civilizations. Except it is not really a war of civilizations. It is the age old war of reason vs. unreason. A war that is much older than Islam and Christianity.

The two main political parties in America mirror this age old conflict. The left aligning (mostly) with the Dionysian and the right aligning (mostly) with the Apollonian. Which is why these days I side mostly with the right where reason has more sway, despite the frequent lapses.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

No comments: