Friday, July 29, 2005

Disingenuous Readers

"You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep."
-- a Navajo saying

1 Comments:

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Publius Americanus said...

I'll be self-centered and assume that's aimed at my comment that Iranian theocrats hanging teenagers wasn't shocking.

Come on. Let's be realistic for a moment. The world is a violent place. Humans are instinctively violent and vengeful. That much seems evident to me from anthropology and neuroscience.

Some very naive progressives might take the opposite assumption and say that man is inherently good and that if we could all just let go of our hang-ups the world would instantly morph into a new humanistic Eden. I don't buy that for a minute.

The world has lots of nasty human behaviors, including female genital mutilation, sex slavery, and the Western media spectacle that lulls people to sleep by telling them that they are already awake and informed so there's no need to look past appearances.

And here I will get old-fashioned for a minute: All three of the above examples are just plain evil. Evil exists in the manifest world. This is not shocking.

Compared to those evils, hanging teenagers doesn't faze me.

Taking it a step further, I am not terribly impressed by most humanistic ethical stances. That's not cheap cynicism, it's a carefully reasoned ethical stance that would take a long time to explain in detail. In the end, I tend toward traditional Western ethics, drawing heavily on Plato and Berkeley. That in itself is enough to antagonize most humanists.

Then I take it a step further and say really, really politically incorrect things, like, "Hey, there's an afterlife, so we shouldn't get too worked up about death." That's usually the kiss of death in ethical discussions with Westerners. Generally they start hyperventilating when I don't kowtow to the atheist line that material life is all we have and so it must be sacred.

Anyway this is your blog, not mine, so I won't elaborate too much here, but principled resistance to naive humanism, atheism, and modernity is not the same thing as cheap cynicism.

 

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