Monday, March 28, 2011


Mark Steyn wonders if the London protestors seem to be agitating for a "human right" to suspend reality:
The “nice” people bussed in from the shires struck me as some of the most stupid people I’ve ever met anywhere on the planet. One elderly lady from Yorkshire told me she was there because her grandson’s university fees were likely to go up. I was in a cranky mood because I hadn’t had my coffee. “You can protest all you like,” I said. “But this country’s broke, so all you’re doing is postponing its reacquaintanceship with reality, and ensuring that your grandson and his contemporaries are going to be stuck with the tab because you guys spent their future.” I pointed out that in her part of the world – northern England – as in Wales and Northern Ireland, the state accounts for three-quarters of the economy. And it’s still not enough for the likes of her and her pals.

She stared at me blankly. “Well, I don’t want to argue,” she said politely. “I just think it’s a disgrace.”

Steyn is on to something here and its has been true about human beings since their creator endowed them with the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Human nature tends to recoil against an unpalatble reality. That's why psychological defense mechanisms exist. They protect the 'self' and one's sense of identity from a world that tends to change (especially in the negative direction) too fast for many humans to adapt to it.

The problem is that adapt to it you must. Perhaps not instantly; but reality won't go away if you scream and whine and throw violent temper tantrums.

The little children who make up the left side of the political spectrum have never learned that reality exists separate from their own wants or desires. They still want what they want when they want it no matter what. And they are prepared to stage a temper tantrum if Mommy or Daddy--or Reality, in this case--say, "No!"

You can ignore reality, but reality will not ignore you.

The question is why are so many so determined to ignore the fiscal reality that is taking down nation after nation; state after state; individual after individual?

Why, is reality no longer something that exists outside one's wishes, whims or wants for some people?

David Solway has an idea origins of this notion; the notion that reality is somehow "a disgrace"; and it's an idea that I've been writing about frequently on this blog: it's called postmoderitis (h/t saturnus). Solway writes about this philosophical illness citing cultural relativism as a primary symptom:
....the left has extended its tolerance to various cultural enclaves within it own territory that live by a different code of conduct, one often at variance with and indeed hostile to the norms and usages that prevail among the heritage population. The aggressive program of these groups to infiltrate the mainstream and metastasize at their host’s expense is, for the left, how freedom and equality work. The invasion from within is to be encouraged under the rubric of “social justice.” In so doing, the left in its hortatory cluelessness is incrementally surrendering its own life, liberty and happiness to the depredations of an alien mindset and undermining the cultural foundations of its own taken-for-granted world. It has facilitated the wasting disease of deculturation, spurred in large measure by anthropological theories of so-called “critical advocacy.” (See Philip Carl Salzman’s Understanding Culture for a brief but valuable discussion of such theories.) Tolerating the intolerant, the postmodern left has, in effect, lapsed into a state of culture schlock, a condition which author Howard Rotberg in his book of that title has aptly labeled “tolerism.” “Postmodernitis” would be another name for it.

The hypocrisy is truly staggering. When a gay man is killed, a woman punished for being raped, a Christian firebombed or a Jew hunted down in some Islamic nation, the left has little or nothing to say.

But cultural relativism is only one symptom and not the root cause of the illness. Cultural relativism arises from a mindset that adamantly refuses to acknowledge external reality. The center of this dysfunction; the etiology of this break from objective reality is primarly due to the defects in epistemology and metaphysics that are an integral part of the postmodern philosophy of today's leftist "progressives".

Metaphysics and Epistemology are key branches of Philosophy. The first concerns itself with answering the question, "What is Existence?"; and the second with, "How do we know it?"

These are two of the most important questions in life; and almost all of the major controversies of our time boil down to one or the other. Postmodern philosopy says, Existence is anything you want it to be; and you will know it by what you feel.

Unfortunately, it is not only the Muslim/Arab world that happens to be infected with a major deficit in epistemology (thought they are in a more advanced stage of the disease); even western civilization--the bastion of reason and science-- has become horribly infested with philosophical insanities that pervert the very concepts of reality, truth, and knowledge.

Like the lady who thought reality was a "disgrace" because it didn't conform to her whims, today's progressives believe that it is perfectly appropriate to ignore reality when they don't like it.

In fact, they consider their determined opposition to reality as something courageous, as if it actually takes courage to maintain psychological denial in the face of facts; when all it takes is a profound lack of insight and a willingness to cling to magical thinking.

Postmodern philosophy, which holds that there is no objective reality--only that which resides inside your head at any given moment-- has become a lethal infection on the minds of people on the left. They no longer question their beliefs, and like immature, spoiled children, they throw a temper tantrum when they don't get their way.

They think that the gravy train will just keep on rollin' along if they protest loudly and long enough. They think that old fashioned ideas like reality, truth, and reason have nothing to do with winning the future; and that you can win the future by intensely believing in hope and change ; but for them, hope and change means more--much more--of the same. Hope and Change = Wishful Thinking and Inaction.

It's all a matter of basic philosophical principles....

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