The End of Reason

I  haven’t written for this blog in several days, not my normal pattern, but it has not been a normal time. Since I last wrote, we have had a Congressman from South Carolina call the President of the United States a liar on national television in the middle of a speech to a joint session of Congress, and a well-promoted event in Washington that drew a crowd that wouldn’t fill the original Yankee Stadium. In addition, there have been fears expressed in high levels of government about the level of discourse and the possibility of violence.

If someone had left the country two years ago to sail around the world without any communications equipment, and just sailed into New York harbor, he wouldn’t recognize the country he was returning to.  One of the most striking things he might notice would be that there are two alternate versions of “the truth” circulating among two disparate factions of people in this country.  One fed by FOX news and talk radio, and the other by the rest of the broadcast and cable media.

If our traveler were a reasonable person, he would quickly be able to discern which source was closer to the truth, by actually watching speeches, reading bills, watching interviews and generally paying attention to the daily activities of those in positions of power.  He might also, being a reasonable man, look behind the motives of politicians to see where their money and support was coming from.  If he saw, for instance, that a Senator from a small state received a huge percentage of his campaign contributions from one industry, he might be suspicious if the Senator acted in perfect concert to the wishes of the contributor.  That is, if he was a reasonable man!

Sam Harris wrote a book a few years ago, “The End of Faith,” in which he postulated that moderate Christians were just as responsible for the excesses of the right-wing fundamentalists as the fundies were because the moderates provided legitimization, cover and support for the fundamentalists’ repressive agenda.  Because of the support of the moderate Christians, the wingers have been able to create an atmosphere in this country that is anti-intellectual and anti-reason.  To a large portion of our population, facts have no meaning, evidence has no purpose and reason has lost all powers of persuasion.

As moderate Christians give support and cover to the “most righteous among us,” our mainstream media, and indeed many of us give support and cover to the most unreasonable among us every time we compromise what we know to be true and right in order to “get along,” “be fair,” or not “create an incident.”  Like their intellectual brethren, the fundamentalist Christians, the unreasonable among us count upon our acceptance of their aversion to facts and reason.  They count upon us thinking there is some truth to our President not being eligible for his high office, they count upon us believing there are “death panels” in the health care bill but most of all, they count upon us believing that our government is headed into socialism, fascism or whatever the ism de jour happens to be today.

We MUST push back, and push back hard against all attempts to replace the rule of reason and fact with the rule of illogic and lies!  We must not compromise what we know from evidence and facts to be true just because we don’t want an argument, or are afraid of losing a friendship.  What’s going on in the country right now is too damn important to just “let it go.”

If logic, reason and facts go out the window, as they already have with the fundamentalists, we have nowhere to go but down.  Judging by the actions of the minority party in Congress, the stupid people already have somewhat more then a toe-hold.  Let it all go, and you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

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