Brainy Quote of the Day

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fearing Fundamentalism...

Fundamentalism: 1. movement with strict view of doctrine: a religious or political movement based on a literal interpretation of and strict adherence to doctrine, especially as a return to former principles; 2. support for literal explanation: the belief that religious or political doctrine should be implemented literally, not interpreted or adapted

We've confused opinion with fact-based inquiry and reporting of the same; we've confused sensationalism with journalism. The arcane 50's barometer 
Nielsen ratings - not informing the citizenry - is the all-important arbiter of broadcast decisions; what news outlets put out on the web. Talk radio becomes the model of how we disseminate information. Seeing a television interview of The National Inquirer years ago - they admitted to making up stories after "a few joints and beers," yet they managed to sober up and discover John Edward's dalliances with Rielle Hunter scooping all other conventional outlets. I assume it was the same muse at the now defunct Weekly World News, hence the occasional "bat-boy" alien pieces.

Quoting historian Jarret Ruminski, PhD:

In her essential study of the modern right-wing Tea Party movement, historian Jill Lepore explains that “historical fundamentalism is marked by the belief that a particular and quite narrowly defined past — ‘the Founding’ — is ageless and sacred and to be worshipped; that certain historical texts — ‘the founding documents’ — are to be read in the same spirit with which religious fundamentalists read, for instance, the Ten Commandments,” and that “the Founding Fathers were divinely inspired.” A belief in historical fundamentalism, Lepore notes, means that “political arguments grounded in appeals to the founding documents, as sacred texts, and to the Founding Fathers, as prophets, are therefore incontrovertible.”* In other words, the Far Right, from the Tea Partiers to the militia and sovereign citizens all believe that the Founding past must be restored to reclaim the present from the tyrannical powers of big government and the globalized world order. [1]

It is the same market fundamentalism that fuels the "stock exchange as deity" worship; it is the same fundamentalism that fuels science and climate change denial to our existential peril; it is the same fundamentalism that needs the Earth and the rest of the universe to be only 6,000 years old despite the evidence contrary to that assertion and fuels ill-labeled "creation science/intelligent design"; it is the same fundamentalism that against the changes technology fosters in social interactions, minority rights, women's rights, LGBT rights that publishes digital mountainous screeds of a "return to traditional values" (using the technology responsible for that change) at sovereign, white supremacists, right-wing sites on the Internet...let that irony sink in for a moment as you look for Ozzie and Harriet's URL.

It is why there's common cause between sovereign citizens movements, The Tea Neanderthals, Answers in Genesis (vs. COSMOS); White Supremacists, States Rights Advocates, and Conspiracy Theorists: the changing demographics in America spells [for some] a social and genetic holocaust, yet not a peep about dark money in politics and how that is not democratic nor republic. These are those who think they are at the top of the pecking order by virtue of magical thinking/manifest destiny: more like a set-up unfair structure based solely (or mostly) on a lack of Melanin, and a lot lately on financial clout. That "once-upon-a-time," a particular side of town had all the good books and libraries; everyone else had hand-me-downs and rags; "separate but equal" was the boondoggle that assured a place at the apex of the polyhedron and crush of the weight of its base on the 99%.  Information back then intentionally wasn't democratized, and it sure couldn't be downloaded on a Smart Phone. When one didn't have to think about competing with global workers for the same job; that if one wasn't "college material," you could get a job at the local plant and make a decent living for yourself and any dependents, even promote over college-prepared women and minorities. Unions only could benefit the group that you belonged to, and not strive for some egalitarian utopia. That was how some thought it was, until some nefarious "other": African Americans; black-guy-in-the-White House; black helicopters; Beelzebub; coming-to-take-your-guns; Hispanics; Illuminati; immigrants; jack-booted-thugs; Latinos; LGBT; Martians; New World Order Conspiracy and Women's Rights all conspired and decided to ship this "American dream" and its goods, services and jobs overseas.

It's always something mysterious without an address (ghosts after all, are easy to typecast and harder to fight), yet NAFTA "was signed by President George H.W. Bush, Mexican President Salinas, and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1992" and "signed into law by President Bill Clinton on December 8, 1993." [2] These are easily researched points, and involve participation in the governance of a democratic republic by informing oneself; engaging in public debate and voting. In two italic emphases, I showed both parties are equally at fault. Missing from the discussion of the humanitarian crisis at the US-Mexican border is how this trade agreement contributed to the demise of Central America's middle class; the rise of the drug cartels; how it, Citizen's United and the McCutcheon decision are contributing to the demise of this country's.

democratic republic: (n) a form of government embodying democratic principles and where a monarch is not the head of state; democracy: (n) free and equal representation of people: the free and equal right of every person to participate in a system of government, often practiced by electing representatives of the people by the majority of the people; republic: (n) political system with elected representatives: a political system or form of government in which people elect representatives to exercise power for them

Politicians are more than happy to fuel this willful ignorance of basic civics as long as it benefits their serial terms in office and plush retirement benefits. Local governors are more than willing to disenfranchise a part of the electorate not likely to vote for their policies anyway, and call it "protecting the integrity of the voting process" for a chimera made up whole cloth resurrecting Jim Crow 2.0. They will memorize the talking points and manage a speech into a three-point sermon with a call-and-response whooping conclusion, thumping a holy writ covered in dust and lint neglected on their own coffee tables. They will play up the fear of "blaming the other-than-your-group" and do nothing, absolutely NOTHING substantive legislatively, other than annual pay raises and continued tax cuts for themselves.

I fear an authoritarian fundamentalism, no different than the "Creation Science" Charlatans, the Tea Party and Open Carry Neanderthals here, and the political party that plays footsies with these groups, lighting a tinderbox that will eventually ignite us into a pyre of quick global irrelevance; the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda stemming from the Arabian Peninsula are kindred spirits. A reaction to a changing globe and technology doubling capacity as it follows Moore's Law [3, 4]: the unanticipated consequence of scientific efficiency, fought vigorously by dogma, pseudoscience and superstition. "Knowledge IS power": the ability to reason, question and hold accountable the powerful, the feared Achilles heel of all authoritarian fundamentalists the world over. It reduces their potency to flaccid impotence. They need the mob, the bewildered herd, for power and relevance.

My fear is founded on the observed, steady, evidence-based erosion of our faculties at critical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving. My fear is the embracing of demagogues in high places that will legislate our futures into a new dark ages. The Dystopian novels from Margaret Atwood [5] and Octavia Butler [6] are instructive. As I said yesterday, I'd rather "life [not imitate] art."

1. That Devil History: "Gun Nuts, Militias, and American Extremism  in a Globalized World."
2. "History of NAFTA."
3. Intel: Excerpts from A Conversation With Gordon Moore - Moore's Law (PDF)
4. MIT News - Topic: Moore's Law
5. "The Handmaid's Tale," Margaret Atwood
6. "Parable of the Sower"; "Parable of the Talents," Octavia Butler

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