Tuesday, June 17, 2008

When Reason Fails (IV): fulfil my needs ...

Continued from part III: "Morbid Obama Intoxication"

Those of us who cling to facts still stubbornly believe in right and wrong. Not the subjective morality of 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter,' but the objective kind - the true and false that can be measured along given standards, for instance thou shalt not kill unarmed civilians.

Others, who have dispensed with reality have not just thrown out epistemology - philosophy's study of human knowledge - but, for good measure - have abolished the field of ethics as well. This is done by the sheer fact of their rejection: whatever spin is put on it, in a reality vacuum there simply is no right or wrong, true or false.

This is the whole point of the relativist world view! How else can one peddle to the world a cornucopia filled to brim with - in absolute terms - nothing? Postmodernists who insist they do believe in ethics (as they happen to have matters they fiercely disapprove of - BusHitlerCheney for instance) simply don't get their own philosophy - but then, the nihilists have rejected reason by the same logic - so there's simple no angle here. Politically motivated hysteria does not constitute a moral system.

Those who cling to objective right and wrong have the occasional satisfaction of having done the right thing in the face of overwhelming impopularity, adversity, unpleasant side-effects, or cost to themselves.

The not so fortunate must resort to psychological tricks to squeeze the tiniest trickle of happiness out of live. Their refuge is the multiplication of personal feel-good factors or the cultivation of self-esteem. This alternative doesn't seem to work so well.

Agony aunts in desperation counsel to try and see life as the enemy; act against the inner compass - be lazy or run amok; avoid bench-marking; go it alone, or join a victim-group (everyone else does); pretend, escape, indulge in the blessings of postmodern life (the past was not that great either); learn to enjoy solving problems that matter, like bad-hair days. Most of all their clients desire to be loved and admired for nothing, "for who they are" - the collection of physical cells stripped of convictions.

American politicians may resort to commissioning investigations into other branches of surrogate ethics: the diplomatic popularity contest; the 44-page report “The Decline in America’s Reputation: Why?” issued this week by the House’s Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for instance.

Bridget Johnson in "Why the World Hates America" on Pajamas Media says it all: "If Israel shaped its policies on how much the country is liked by others in the world, Israel would cease to exist. That’s a hard fact. Most of us were taught way back in grammar school that doing the right thing is not always the popular thing." Johnson doesn't seem to have been in grammar school of late. This is borne out by her sound advice:

"British author and World War I vet William McFee once said, “People don’t ever seem to realize that doing what’s right is no guarantee against misfortune.” Nor is it a guarantee of pristine Zogby numbers. And it shouldn’t take hearings and reports — and I’ll be waiting for “Irrational Global Hatred for Israel: Why?” — for this Congress to realize that."

There's nothing like a good, old, Victorian reality check for building up solid self-esteem!

Postscript: This series of posts on "When Reason Fails" was supposed to be made up or two, perhaps three posts - tops. But already a fifth is on the horizon: Progress Report - Global Boiling. We must resist temptation: the subject matter warrants a dedicated blog. Even we do not have that much time ... for global madness we can refer you for the time being to the dossier on Articles, "The Controversial Dossier," or for the more or less scientific approach to the subject, "Case Closed."

- Filed on Articles in "The Political Pathology Page" -


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