Saturday, 12 May 2012

Dogmatism and Fanaticism

Peace and Long Life

Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), Timon of Athens, Act 3, Scene 5, 1605-6.

Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945):
If the war is lost … then the nation will also perish. …
There is no need to consider the basis of even a most primitive existence [for the German people] any longer.
On the contrary, it is better to destroy even that, and to destroy it ourselves.
The nation has proved itself weak.
(Cornelius Ryan, The Last Battle, Simon & Schuster, 1966, pp 172-3)

Ioseb Jughashvili (1878 – 1953) | Stalin [Toast, 20th Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, 1937]:
We will mercilessly destroy anyone who, by his deeds or his thoughts — yes, his thoughts! — threatens the unity of the socialist state.
[Let us drink to] the complete destruction of all enemies, themselves and their kin!
(Margaret MacMillan, History's People, Text, 2015)

Cleon (died 422 BCE):
Punish [enemies] as they deserve, and teach your other allies by a striking example that the penalty of rebellion is death.
(Thucydides, The History of Peloponnesian War, Book III, 40)

Thucydides (c460 – c400 BCE):
The Helots were invited by a proclamation to pick out those of their number who claimed to have most distinguished themselves against the enemy, in order that they might receive their freedom; the object being to test them, as it was thought that the first to claim their freedom would be the most high-spirited and the most apt to rebel.
As many as two thousand were selected accordingly, who crowned themselves and went round the temples, rejoicing in their new freedom.
The Spartans, however, soon afterwards did away with them, and no one ever knew how each of them perished.
(The History of Peloponnesian War, Book IV, 80)

Kwame Appiah (1954):
Everybody in the world agrees that most people in the world have incorrect religious beliefs.
(Creed, Mistaken Identities, Part 1, 18 October 2016)

[It is] caring about what your country’s doing in the world and feeling bad when it does bad things and good when it does good things, that’s at the heart of the kind of morally appropriate patriotism …
(Country, Mistaken Identities, Part 2, BBC Reith Lectures, 25 October 2016)

Michel Eyquem (1533 – 92) [Lord of Montaigne]:
[All] polities have a god at their head, truly so in the case of the one drawn up by Moses for the people of Judaea on leaving Egypt; the rest, falsely so.
(On glory, The Essays of Michel de Montaigne, 1580, M A Screech, Translator, Penguin, 1991, p 716)

Robert Putnam (1941):
[Dozens] of studies have linked religious participation to political intolerance …
(Bowling Alone, Simon & Schuster, 2000, Note 9, p 496)

Alvin Toffler (1928 – 2016):
For those who lack an intelligent, comprehensive programme, who cannot cope with the novelties and complexities of blinding change, terrorism substitutes for thought.
Terrorism may not topple regimes, but it removes doubts.
(Future Shock, Pan, 1971, p 329)

From Latin fānāticus (“of a temple, divinely inspired, frenzied”), from fānum (“temple”).
(Wiktionary, 22 December 2012)

Odo of Châtillon (1042 – 99) | Pope Urban II (1088–1099):
Deus lo vult!
[God wills it!]
(Summons to the First Crusade, 1095)

Plato (c428 – c347 BCE):
The greatest principle of all … is that nobody, whether male or female, should ever be without a leader.
Nor should the mind of anybody be habituated to letting him do anything at all on his own initiative, neither out of zeal, nor even playfully.
But in war and in the midst of peace — to his leader he shall direct his eye, and follow him faithfully.
And even in the smallest matters he should stand under leadership.
For example, he should get up, or move, or wash, or take his meals … only if he has been told to do so …
In a word, he should teach his soul, by long habit, never to dream of acting independently, and to become utterly incapable of it.
In this way the life of all will be spent in total community.

Hermann Goring (1893 – 1946):
We love Adolf Hitler because we believe firmly and profoundly that he was sent to us by God to save Germany.
To those who follow him there is no quality that he does not possess to the greatest perfection.

Benito Mussolini (1883 – 1945) & Giovanni Gentile (1875 – 1944):
[Our movement rejects the view of man] as an individual, standing by himself, self-centered, subject to natural law, which instinctively urges him toward a life of selfish momentary pleasure …
[It] sees not only the individual but the nation and the country:
[Individuals] and generations bound together by a moral law, with common traditions and a mission which … builds up a higher life, founded on duty …
[A] life free from the limitations of time and space, in which the individual, by self-sacrifice [and] the renunciation of self-interest … can achieve that purely spiritual existence in which his value as a man consists.
(The Doctrine of Fascism, 1932)

George Santayana (1863 – 1952):
Intuitive ethics has nothing to offer in the presence of discord except an appeal to force and to ultimate physical sanction.
It can instigate, but not resolve, the battle of nations and the battle of religions.
  • the same zeal,
  • the same patriotism, [and]
  • the same readiness for martyrdom
fires adherents to rival societies, and fires them especially in view of the fact that the adversary is no less uncompromising and fierce. …
Here are two flagrant instances where pre-rational morality defeats the ends of morality.
Viewed from within, each religious or national fanaticism stands for a good; but in its outward operation it produces and becomes an evil.
(Intuitive Morality, 1903)

Isaiah Berlin (1909 – 97):
Toleration is historically the product of the realisation of the irreconcilability of equally dogmatic faiths, and the practical improbability of complete victory of one over the other.
Those who wished to survive realised that they had to tolerate error.
They gradually came to see merits in diversity, and so became sceptical about definitive solutions in human affairs.
(The Originality of Machiavelli, Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas, 1979)

Emile Durkheim (1858 – 1917):
A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden — beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community … all those who adhere to them.
(The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, 1915, K E Fields, Translator, Free Press, 1995)

Jonathan Haidt:
Moral systems are interlocking sets of values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, institutions, technologies, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate self-interest and make cooperative societies possible.
(The Righteous Mind, Pantheon, 2012)

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860):
Hegel, installed from above, by the powers that be, as the certified Great Philosopher, was a flat-headed, insipid, nauseating, illiterate charlatan, who reached the pinnacle of audacity in scribbling together and dishing up the craziest mystifying nonsense. …
The extensive field of spiritual influence with which Hegel was furnished by those in power has enabled him to achieve the intellectual corruption of a whole generation.
(Works, 2nd Ed, 1888)

Heraclitus (c535 – c475 BCE):
War … proves some to be gods and others to be mere men, by turning the latter into slaves and the former into masters …

Georg Hegel (1770 – 1831)

The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth …
We must therefore worship the State as the manifestation of the Divine on earth …
The State is the march of God through the world …
(p 247)

In the perfect form of the State in which each and every element … has reached its free existence, this will is that of one actual decreeing [Individual: the monarch.]
The monarchical constitution is therefore the constitution of developed reason; and all other constitutions belong to lower grades of the development …
(pp 257-8)

Without its monarch [(Frederick William III) the Prussian people] are just a formless multitude.
(p 268)

The deeds of Great Men, of the Personalities of World History, … must not be brought into collision with irrelevant moral claims.
The Litany of private virtues, of modesty, humility, philanthropy, and forbearance, must not be raised against them.
The History of the World can, in principle, entirely ignore the circle within which morality … lies.
(p 278)

The Nation State is … the Spirit of the People itself.
The actual State is animated by this spirit, in all its particular affairs, its Wars, and its Institutions …
The self-consciousness of one particular Nation is the vehicle for the … development of the collective spirit …
(p 269)

Each particular National Genius is to be treated as only One Individual in the process of Universal History. …
Against this absolute Will the other particular national minds have no rights: that Nation dominates the World …
(p 275)

Out of this [dialectical struggle of the different National Spirits] rises the universal Spirit, the unlimited World-Spirit, pronouncing its judgement — and its judgement is the highest — upon the finite Nations of the World’s History; for the History of the World is the World’s court of justice. …
(p 277)

In civilized nations true bravery consists in the readiness to give oneself wholly to the service of the State so that the individual counts but as one among many. …
Not personal valor is significant; the important aspect lies in self-subordination to the universal. …
(p 280)

[Thus, it is through War that] the ethical health of a nation is preserved …
War protects the people from the corruption which an everlasting peace would bring upon it. …
History shows [how] Nations, torn by internal strife, win peace at home as a result of war abroad.
(p 279)

(Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, 5th Ed, 1966, Ch 12)

Karl Popper (1902 – 94)

[The] whole story of Hegel would indeed not be worth relating, were it not for its more sinister consequences, which show how easily a clown may be a ‘maker of history’.
(Ch 12, p 247)

[For Hegel] all personal relations can … be reduced to the fundamental relation of master and slave, of domination and submission.
Each must strive to assert and prove himself, and he who has not the nature, the courage, and the general capacity for preserving his independence, must be reduced to servitude.
[Likewise,] Nations must assert themselves on the Stage of History; it is their duty to attempt the domination of the World.
(Ch 11, p 225)

[The] most important principles of humanitarian and equalitarian ethics [are:]

  1. Tolerance towards all who are not intolerant and who do not propagate intolerance. …
  2. ‘Minimize suffering’ …
  3. The fight against tyranny …

(Ch 5, Note 6, pp 548-9)

It is one of the gravest mistakes if a philosophy ever offers self-evidence as an argument in favour of the truth of a sentence; yet this is done by practically all idealist philosophies.
It shows that idealist philosophies are often systems of apologetics for some dogmatic beliefs.
(Ch 11, Note 43, p 651)

Marx showed that a social system can, as such, be unjust; [and] that if the system is bad, then all the righteousness of the individuals who profit from it is a mere sham righteousness, is mere hypocrisy.
For our responsibility extends to the system, to the institutions which we allow to persist. …

‘Scientific’ Marxism is dead.
[But its] feeling of social responsibility and its love for freedom must survive.
(Ch 22, p 416)

[Reason,] supported by imagination, enables us to understand that men who are far away, whom we shall never see, are like ourselves, and that their relations to one another are like our relations to those we love. …
[It is thus] by the use of thought and imagination, [that] we may become ready to help all who need our help.
(p 444)

… Western civilization owes
  • its rationalism,
  • its faith in the rational unity of man … and especially
  • its scientific outlook,
to the ancient Socratic and [early] Christian belief in
  • the brotherhood of all men
  • intellectual honesty and
  • [individual] responsibility.
(p 448)

What I have tried to show is that the choice with which we are confronted is between
  • a faith in reason and in human individuals and
  • a faith in the mystical faculties of man by which he is united to a collective;
and that this choice [corresponds with a further] choice between
  • an attitude that recognizes the unity of mankind and
  • an attitude that divides men into friends and foes, into masters and slaves.
(p 450)

[The strain of civilization] is a consequence of the breakdown of the closed [concrete tribal] society.
It is still felt even in our day, especially in times of social change.
It is the strain created by the effort which life in an open and partially abstract society continually demands from us — by the endeavour
  • to be rational,
  • to forgo at least some of our emotional social needs,
  • to look after ourselves, and
  • to accept responsibilities.
We must, I believe, bear this strain as the price to be paid for every increase
  • in knowledge,
  • in reasonableness,
  • in co-operation and … mutual help, and consequently
  • in our chances of survival and … the size of the population.
It is the price we have to pay for being human.
(Ch 10, p 168)

Once we begin to rely upon our reason, and to use our powers of criticism, once we feel the call of personal responsibilities, and with it, the responsibility of helping to advance knowledge, we cannot return to a state of implicit submission to tribal magic.
For those who have eaten of the tree of knowledge, paradise is lost.
The more we try to return to the heroic age of tribalism, the more surely do we arrive
  • at the Inquisition,
  • at the Secret Police, and
  • at a romanticized gangsterism.
Beginning with the suppression of reason and truth, we must end with the most brutal and violent destruction of all that is human.
(Ch 10, p 189)

[The] human situation with respect to knowledge is … exhilarating:
[Here] we are, with the immensely difficult task before us of getting to know the beautiful world we live in, and ourselves; and fallible though we are, we nevertheless find that our powers of understanding, surprisingly, are almost adequate for the task — more so than we ever dreamt in our wildest dreams.
We really do learn from our mistakes, by trial and error.
And at the same time we learn how little we know — as when, in climbing a mountain; every step upwards opens some new vista into the unknown, and new worlds unfold themselves of whose existence we knew nothing when we began our climb.

Thus we can learn [and] we can grow in knowledge …
[And] since we can never know [with absolute certainty,] there are no grounds here for smugness, or for conceit over the [completeness] of our knowledge.
(Addenda to Volume II, p 498)

[In Marxism] the religious element is unmistakable.
In the hour of their deepest misery and degradation, Marx’s prophecy gave the workers an inspiring belief in their mission, and in the great future which their movement was to prepare for the whole of mankind.
(Ch 21, p 402)

(The Open Society and Its Enemies, 5th Ed, 1966, Routledge 2011)

The MessiahCentral BankersThe Great Leader
The DevilBarack Obama
Julia Gillard
Enemies of the State
Divine ProvidenceThe Invisible HandDialectical MaterialismWill
ProphetsAdam Smith
Friedrich Hayek
Milton Friedman
Karl Marx
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Nietzsche
Johann Fichte
SaintsRonald Reagan
Margaret Thatcher
Vladimir Lenin
Josef Stalin
Mao Zedong
Adolf Hitler
The Holder of the KeysCredit Agencies
The ElectPlutocrats
Party Members
The FaithfulConsumers
Private Sector Workers
The DamnedThe Poor
Trade Unionists
Public Sector Workers
Bourgeois Capitalists
Race Traitors
Inferior Races
The Disabled
CrusadersCaptains of IndustryHeroes of the RevolutionSupermen
MissionariesAdvertising AgenciesState Propaganda
The Second ComingCorporate Control of the StateThe RevolutionNational Domination
The MillenniumCorporate Control of the WorldCommunist CommonwealthGlobal Domination
HeavenGated CommunitiesWorkers' ParadiseThe Thousand Year Reich

HellGhettos and Prisons
Concentration, Labor and Extermination Camps
Lost SoulsThe DestituteThe Disappeared
Conspicuous Consumption
Status Competition
Delayed gratification
Social Justice
Social Insurance
(health, injury, disability, unemployment, education, child welfare)

Anthing sanctioned by the Sacred Text or the PriesthoodProfit
Anything the Great Leader approves of
Anything prohibited by Sacred Text or the PriesthoodLoss
Anything the Great Leader disapproves of
Stock Exchanges
Shopping Malls

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