Re: Where we lost America

Date: Mon Nov 05 2001 - 19:24:07 MST

In a message dated 11/5/01 5:13:39 PM, writes:

>> 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.

>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.

Certainly; but I think in all these cases style overides substance. In
a supernaturally-oriented religion would be more able to hide in the nooks and
crannnies of our ignorance. However, most of them, particularly the
faiths of the Book (Islam-Judaism-Christianity), are tied to texts riddled
with contradictions, false claims, etc. The Bible is more patently false than
the Communist Manifesto.

>Also, for ideologies, such as fascism and communism, based on violence
>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.

I would have to agree with that view, though not the goal. I wouldn't call
anti-rationality. I would reserve the term anti-rational for actors that
attempted to reduce rational calculation and increase the importance of myth.

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