Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

Dogma, Part 2

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Okay.  So I’ve been thinking about it.

First, I think that what Cathy wants is not North Korea, but Sweden.

And granted, I don’t find Sweden any more attractive than I find North Korea on the points that really matter to me. 

Soft totalitarianism is no more attractive to me than the hard kind.  The Scandinavian welfare states seem to me to be massive experiments in totalitarian social control.

And let’s get the definition of totalitarian straight–it’s not about gulags, it’s about allowing the state to regulate every single corner of your life.  What you eat.  What you wear.  What you think.  What your children are taught in school, and how you raise them.

And on and on and on.

In the end, I’m not going to be all right in any such place, no matter how comfortable and shiny it is, because I seem to be one of those people who simply do not fit.  Anywhere. 

But what is a more interesting question to me at the moment is what it is this guy could have done, besides what he did.

And that depends on two factors.

One of those factors is what was going on inside his head.

The other is how much control he had over the the fact of the conference at all.

In the first place, I don’t think it is at all clear that Lindsay could have decided, on behalf of the CFI, not to sponsor the conference at all.

I don’t know how we could figure this out, but CEOs are not necessarily the final word on how an organization run.  He may have not wanted to have the conference.  He may not have wanted to sponsor the conference and been overruled by  his board, for instance. 

On the subject of what was going on in his head:

Cathy F says that she objected to the implication that, since some groups of women talking about male privilege do this, then THIS group necessarily would. 

So here’s a scenario:

Let’s say Lindsay thinks that conferences like this one DO always do that.  That, even with the best will in the world, such conferences are ALWAYS hijacked by their most doctrinaire attendees.

Hold such a conference, he believes, and it will inevitably disintegrate into blizzard of catch phrases and bullying, with the rational attendees unable or unwilling to speak out for fear of being tagged as The Enemy, and The Enemy (people like him) with nothing to look forward to but an ending stream of abuse and targetted self righteousness.

In such a case, what exactly should the man do?  What would be the moral and ethical thing for him to do?

On the one hand, I sympathize with the thought.  I DO think such conferences always disintegrate into bullying and self-righteousness of any attendee who will not go along to get along.

That’s how I ended up getting kicked out of my consciousness raising group and why I have attended no political conferences on the left or on the right since 1992.

As far as I can tell, the trend to treat political ideology as dogma and to banish, abuse and as far as possible annihilate heretics has gone from being a creature of conferences to being SOP in everything from the Internet, academia, the press, the corporations…you pick ’em, we’ve got ’em.

And the poison  has certainly become part of organized secularism in a number of places. 

And it is poison.  It’s a barrier erected between the mind and reality, and reality bends for no one.

It’s despressing that it comes so often from people who tell me I should favor them because THEY rely on reason and science, while the religious people and conservatives over there just indulge in supersitition and faith.


Written by janeh

May 24th, 2013 at 9:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response to 'Dogma, Part 2'

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  1. Completely off the main topic, but I don’t think Sweden and North Korea are alternatives: I think they’re stages.
    The “successful” socialist countries are all ones that had immensely powerful non-governmental institutions before the central government gained absolute economic power. The disasters–that is, the ones the socialists are now prepared to disown–are the ones with all Thomas More’s “trees” of law, custom and local particularism swept clean away–nothing between the individual and the naked will of the state.
    Question: in the “successful” socialist states, have the non-governmental institutions–church, army, guilds, nobility, the wealthy, even local governments–become stronger or weaker over the generations? Answer: always and everywhere, weaker. When there is finally no one left to say to the central state “thus far and no farther” what will distinguish the states the socialists now like from the ones they’ve finally disowned? The benevolence of the ruling class, perhaps?
    Absolute rule is a bad idea no matter who holds power, and in the end total economic power IS absolute rule.
    I now return you to the previously scheduled topic.


    24 May 13 at 11:58 am

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