Re: Where we lost America

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Mon Nov 05 2001 - 18:13:20 MST

On Monday, November 05, 2001 5:27 PM wrote:
> Religion models certain non-theistic belief sets, including Communism and
> certain extreme environmentalist sects, very nicely. Similarities
> include rejection of factual evidence, belief in some goal which is higher
> than human well-being, factionalism, and intolerance of dissent.
> The misdeeds of communists and suggestions of certain environmentalists
> (AIDS as a good thing, etc.) support my opinion that the problem is the
> religious *style* of epistemology and ethics, not the specific beliefs.
> The specific beliefs may be more or less harmful; it's the approach
> that turns bad beliefs into atrocities.

Good point, though the separation between "style" and "specific beliefs"
does not mean one doesn't influence the other. E.g., if one believes in a
supernatural realm, then one might more readily accept irrational methods,
since reason tends to not point to such a realm.

Also, for ideologies, such as fascism and communism, based on violence and
suppression, anti-rationality becomes either a method or an excuse. An
example of the latter is what David Ramsey Steele calls "practical
anti-rationalism" (in his "The Mystery of Fascism" in _Liberty_ November
2001). By this, he means the view that "if you want to understand and
influence behavior, you had better acknowledge that people are not primarily
self-interested, rational calculators; they are gripped and moved by myths."
The goal being to manipulate behavior -- not to educate people out of their
irrational beliefs.


Daniel Ust
  See "Macroeconomics for the Real World"at:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:17 MDT