Tag Archives: Irrationality

How America exchanged free speech and debate for mob rule

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

I posted this article from The Federalist on Facebook and was surprised by the response. It’s about how the secular left managed to shut down debate by replacing rational thought and disagreement with the practice of using power to silence people who disagree with them.

The article is long, and very very good. I will try to snip enough of it here to convince you to read it. The thesis is that the secular left is trying to push their views on the masses, and succeeding, but not through rational discourse.

How are they doing pushing their agenda, then?

A lot of Americans watched in shock while cultish mobs suddenly attacked the RFRA that Pence initially defended. But the groundwork for mass hysteria like this was stealthily laid for decades, and the minefields sown.

Family breakdown led to community breakdown, which we can see in the decline of trust in society. Ignorance was cultivated in the schools through political correctness and squashing free debate. The academy’s disparaging of western civilization virtually wiped out respect for any serious study of history and civics, as well as for the Socratic method and the rules of civil discourse. Political correctness sewed confusion into the language, particularly regarding identity politics. Youth are now set to be programmed for conformity through the K-12 “Common Core” curriculum mandates.

All of that and more promotes the semantic fog that allows for mind rape. It amounts to an act of “logicide,” to borrow a term from Meerloo, whom I will continue to quote below. To kill logic and reason that might stand in their way, wannabe dictators “fabricate a hate language in order to stir up mass emotions.” Leaders in Indiana, Arkansas, and Louisiana have been unable to understand this tactic and are grossly unprepared to deal with it. So they simply surrendered. In effect, they joined the mob, further endangering everybody’s freedom.

So, a majority of Americans have been presented with the idea that to some opinions on certain topics can be easily disregarded because they are “hate” – i.e., they make a certain group of people feel bad. And if you try to have a reasoned discourse with them, their response will be non-cognitive. They will call you names, try to shame you, and then comes the coercion as a last resort. The coercion can be anything from getting you fired, to vandalism, to violence, to domestic terrorism – in the case of Floyd Lee Corkins.

It turns out that deep within the human spirit, there is some sort of need to join up with a group of people, to feel righteous, and to let go of reason and just let feelings run wild over the rights of others. This is the so-called “mob mentality” which is so possible with groups on the left.

More:

Most who protest the RFRA laws are more likely pawns than true believers. Like the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd, they tend to be atomized individuals who are drawn to the psychic thrill of being part of a mobilized mass that feeds on emotions and can feel a sense of righteousness in the stated pretext. (In the RFRA case, it’s the semantic device of “marriage equality,” but it’ll just as easily be something else tomorrow.) “The ecstatic participation in mass elation is the oldest psycho drama in the world,” wrote Meerloo.

“Crowds and Power,” by Elias Canetti, is a classic work that explores in detail the draw of the crowd for human beings. With the continued chipping away of the organic family of mother-child-father, human relationships inevitably become diluted and more subservient to a mass state. This detachment cultivates human alienation, which draws more people to answer to the call of the mass state’s mob.

Such protesters and their scores of clueless apologists in the media are also utterly detached from the reality of the meaning of laws such as an RFRA. The RFRA only clarifies that the government doesn’t get to coerce us in private thought or to dictate what we are allowed to feel, believe, think, and express. In other words, the First Amendment is not negotiable if we are to have any semblance of freedom in this country.

But the emotional stew in which we are now boiling doesn’t allow logic or reason to prevail.

I was having a chat with a Christian woman recently. We were just sort of getting to know each other and seeing what we each believed. And what was interesting to me (and this is before I read this article) is how we both 1) had a different view of what counts as good literature, good music, good drama, etc. and 2) we were very comfortable with not liking what everyone else liked. In fact, we were talking about how to get along with friends and co-workers who disagree with us on things like politics, marriage, and so on.

I was just reflecting on that as I was reading the article, and thinking to myself “in order to be a Christian, you have to have arrived at your views on issues independently or you will just abandon it whenever the majority challenges you”.  Being a rebel is central to the Christian worldview – we have to do our own homework in order to resist the culture. For her, some of that was from her family experiences and her reading and following current events. For me, some of it comes from watching debates and listening to both sides. But the point is that we are both very conscious that we don’t fit in, and we are OK with it. But I think for the majority of people today, it’s not OK for them. They really have this emotional need to fit in with the “nice” group, and part of how they remain in the “nice” group is by refusing to listen to any views that are not their own. That is literally what they are taught in university, for example. They are taught to call anyone who disagrees with them a name.

I was once told by a particularly foolish East Indian man that I was pro-life because I “hated women”. I was trying to explain to him baby development in the womb, and he cut me off, ran to each of my friends, and whispered to them that I hated women. This was a grown man doing this. A computer programmer. That is what you can expect from the secular left today when disagreements arise. I sometimes wonder what that man would have thought if I showed him plugging his ears and running around in circles telling everyone what a hater I was, as I was flipping through a biology textbook and trying to show him the pictures.

But that’s exactly what’s different today. Somehow, the left has made us want to form our views based on the feelings of some group of victims. It’s the worst thing in the world to make these special people feel bad, and we have to be “on the right side of history” (their side) without ever having a rational debate about anything. Feelings of being hurt and offended short-circuit debate now. All the Christians, including me, have had to shut down talking about these things at work, because you never know what kind of psychopath you are dealing with now, and how far they will go to sanction you. It’s sad because some of my co-workers want me to talk policy and law and current events with them. But I can’t – I never know who is listening who will be offended. And that’s exactly what the propagandists are counting on. They want their followers to be little childish barbarians who organize into mobs and threaten and coerce, as we see with the Christian businesses. And they have no shame about taking a person’s job, savings, home, etc. They are unable to see we who disagree with them as human beings, so strong is their hatred of reasoned discourse and their feeling of being “offended”. I literally cannot have a conversation with some leftists because they start to shout insults at me the minute they apprehend that I don’t agree with them on some issue.

Paul Copan explains some responses to postmodernism

Four articles from Paul Copan over at the UK site “BeThinking”. Each article responds to a different slogan that you might hear if you’re dealing with non-Christians on the street.

“That’s just your interpretation!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Gently ask, ‘Do you mean that your interpretation should be preferred over mine? If so, I’d like to know why you have chosen your interpretation over mine. You must have a good reason.’
  • Remind your friend that you are willing to give reasons for your position and that you are not simply taking a particular viewpoint arbitrarily.
  • Try to discern if people toss out this slogan because they don’t like your interpretation. Remind them that there are many truths we have to accept even if we don’t like them.
  • ‘There are no facts, only interpretations’ is a statement that is presented as a fact. If it is just an interpretation, then there is no reason to take it seriously.

More responses are here.

“You Christians are intolerant!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If you say that the Christian view is bad because it is exclusive, then you are also at that exact moment doing the very thing that you are saying is bad. You have to be exclusive to say that something is bad, since you exclude it from being good by calling it bad.
  • There is a difference, a clear difference between tolerance and truth. They are often confused. We should hold to what we believe with integrity but also support the rights of others to disagree with our viewpoint.
  • Sincerely believing something doesn’t make it true. You can be sincere, but sincerely wrong. If I get onto a plane and sincerely believe that it won’t crash then it does, then my sincerity is quite hopeless. It won’t change the facts. Our beliefs, regardless of how deeply they are held, have no effect on reality.

More responses are here.

“That’s true for you, but not for me!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If my belief is only true for me, then why isn’t your belief only true for you? Aren’t you saying you want me to believe the same thing you do?
  • You say that no belief is true for everyone, but you want everyone to believe what you do.
  • You’re making universal claims that relativism is true and absolutism is false. You can’t in the same breath say, ‘Nothing is universally true’ and ‘My view is universally true.’ Relativism falsifies itself. It claims there is one position that is true – relativism!

More responses are here.

“If you were born in India, you’d be a Hindu!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Just because there are many different religious answers and systems doesn’t automatically mean pluralism is correct.
  • If we are culturally conditioned regarding our religious beliefs, then why should the religious pluralist think his view is less arbitrary or conditioned than the exclusivist’s?
  • If the Christian needs to justify Christianity’s claims, the pluralist’s views need just as much substantiation.

More responses are here.

And a bonus: “How do you know you’re not wrong?“.

Douglas Groothuis’ exhortation to Christians to study apologetics

Dr. Groothuis’ article lays out 6 “enemies” to the task of apologetics. I’ll look at the first 4.

Enemy #1: We don’t defend God’s existence and character to other people

If we really cared about God like we say we do, then we would care enough to defend his reputation in public. If we really loved our neighbor and believed that they need to follow Jesus in order to be reconciled with God, we would tell them that. But we don’t really care enough about God when his reputation is slammed in public. That’s what being a good friend to God and to our neighbor requires.

Groothuis writes:

Too many Christians don’t seem to care that Christianity is routinely ridiculed as outdated, irrational, and narrow-minded in our culture. They may complain that this “offends” them (just as everyone else is complaining that one thing or another “offends” them), but they do little to counteract the charges by offering a defense of the Christian world view in a variety of settings. Yet Scripture commands all Christians to have a reason for the hope that is within them and to present this with gentleness and respect to unbelievers (1 Peter 3:15).

Our attitude should be that of the Apostle Paul who was “greatly distressed” when he beheld the idolatry of sophisticated Athens. This zeal for the truth of God led him into a fruitful apologetic encounter with the thinkers gathered to debate new ideas (see Acts 17). It should for us as well. Just as God “so loved the world” that he sent Jesus to set us right with God (John 3:16), Jesus’ disciples should so love the world that they endeavor to reach the lost by presenting the Gospel and answering objections to the Christian faith (John 17:18).

Enemy #2: We separate Christianity from the reasons and evidence that ground it

Many Christians alter their theology in order to “get along” with other religions that conflict with ours. Instead of wrestling with the competing truth claims of other religions, some Christians just change the nature of our religion so that it is just our personal preference or cultural narrative, instead of being about truth. If the Bible claims that Jesus rose from the dead, we reinterpret that historically testable claim so that it’s only true for us. If the Bible says that the universe began to exist, we reinterpret that scientifically testable claim so that it is only true for us.

Groothuis says:

For some Christians, faith means belief in the absence of evidence and argument. Worse yet, for some faith means belief in spite of evidence to the contrary. The more irrational our beliefs, the better–the more “spiritual” they are… When Christians opt for irrationalism, they become just another “religious option,” and are classified along with Heaven’s Gate, the Flat Earth Society, and other intellectually impaired groups.

Enemy #3: We don’t take the time to study the reasons and evidence we have

We don’t make time for preparing a defense for our beliefs by leveraging the resources produced by Christian scholars.

Groothuis says:

Many Christians are not aware of the tremendous intellectual resources available to defend “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). This is largely because many major churches and parachurch organizations virtually ignore apologetics… Few evangelical sermons ever address the evidence for the existence of God, the resurrection of Jesus, the justice of hell, the supremacy of Christ, or the logical problems with nonChristian worldviews. Christian bestsellers, with rare exceptions, indulge in groundless apocalyptic speculations, exalt Christian celebrities (whose characters often do not fit their notoriety), and revel in how-to methods.

Enemy #4: We would rather be liked by people than be a friend to God

Somehow, we have gotten the idea that the purpose of Christianity is for us to be happy. Being popular and accepted by non-Christians makes us feel happy. Moral judgments are divisive, so we avoid making those. Exclusive salvation is divisive, so we avoid exclusivity. All of this so that our lives will be easier and happier.

Groothuis says:

In our pluralistic culture, a “live and let live” attitude is the norm, and a capitulation to social pressure haunts evangelicalism and drains its convictions. Too many evangelicals are more concerned about being “nice” and “tolerant” than being biblical or faithful to the exclusive Gospel found in their Bibles. Not enough evangelicals are willing to present and defend their faith in challenging situations, whether at school, at work, or in other public settings. The temptation is to privatize faith, to insulate and isolate it from public life entirely. Yes, we are Christians (in our hearts), but we have difficulty engaging anyone with what we believe and why we believe it. This is nothing less than cowardice and a betrayal of what we say we believe.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Do parents have a plan to raise self-sufficient, practical children?

Let’s look at this Huffington Post article about parenting. (H/T Amy)

Introduction:

When a college freshman received a C- on her first test, she literally had a meltdown in class. Sobbing, she texted her mother who called back, demanding to talk to the professor immediately (he, of course, declined). Another mother accompanied her child on a job interview, then wondered why he didn’t get the job.

A major employer reported that during a job interview, a potential employee told him that she would have his job within 18 months. It didn’t even cross her mind that he had worked 20 years to achieve his goal.

[…][W]hy have parents shifted from teaching self-reliance to becoming hovering helicopter parents who want to protect their children at all costs?

“I think it began in the fall of 1982, when seven people died after taking extra-strength Tylenol laced with poison after it left the factory,” he says. Halloween was just around the corner, and parents began checking every item in the loot bags. Homemade brownies and cookies (usually the most coveted items) hit the garbage; unwrapped candy followed close behind.

That led to an obsession with their children’s safety in every aspect of their lives. Instead of letting them go outside to play, parents filled their kid’s spare time with organized activities, did their homework for them, resolved their conflicts at school with both friends and teachers, and handed out trophies for just showing up.

“These well-intentioned messages of ‘you’re special’ have come back to haunt us,” Elmore says. “We are consumed with protecting them instead of preparing them for the future. We haven’t let them fall, fail and fear. The problem is that if they don’t take risks early on like climbing the monkey bars and possibly falling off, they are fearful of every new endeavor at age 29.”

Psychologists and psychiatrists are seeing more and more young people having a quarter-life crisis and more cases of clinical depression. The reason? Young people tell them it’s because they haven’t yet made their first million or found the perfect mate.

Teachers, coaches and executives complain that Gen Y kids have short attention spans and rely on external, instead of internal motivation.

More:

  • We’ve told our kids to dream big – and now any small act seems insignificant. In the great scheme of things, kids can’t instantly change the world. They have to take small, first steps – which seem like no progress at all to them. Nothing short of instant fame is good enough. “It’s time we tell them that doing great things starts with accomplishing small goals,” he says.
  • We’ve told our kids that they are special – for no reason, even though they didn’t display excellent character or skill, and now they demand special treatment. The problem is that kids assumed they didn’t have to do anything special in order to be special.

I have frequently heard from Christian women who I have courted who hear my marriage plan that children should not be directed in any way toward doing hard things, studying STEM fields and getting good jobs. Although these women are not successful themselves, they are very concerned that I will make my children feel bad by steering them towards fields that are hard, but will make the kids successful. Children have to have good self-esteem, they insist. They have to be allowed to study ballet or art history in college, if they feel like it, otherwise they will rebel and become atheists. Two of the women who told me this had double-digit student loan balances and were still living at home in their 30s.

So you have a man like me, who has a BS, MS, a gapless resume and savings, being lectured by an unsuccessful woman on how to make our children successful by following her plan, which is the opposite of my plan. Why is this an attractive value proposition to a man? Kids cost over $150,000 each, and at least in my case, I expect that I would be the one paying for it because I seem to be the only one with savings as opposed to debts. But there is no humility from single Christian women, in my experience. They want me to earn the money, but they want to make the decisions. And they think that their way will work, even when it hasn’t worked in their own lives.

I just want to point out to those women who are single that “well, I wouldn’t marry you” is not an answer to these concerns. It’s not an answer to a life lived on emotions and impracticality. It’s not an answer to kids raised to do nothing except what makes them feel good. The question is, how do we make successful kids? Do we let men lead, focusing on responsibility, obligation, incremental improvements and practicality? I want a wife who will be a chief of staff to implement my plan. Not someone who doesn’t value and respect my decision making in areas where I am proven to know what I am doing. If all I am getting in this deal is rebellion, then I can just not marry at all and instead use the money for apologetics funding. I am not paying over $150,000 per child (not counting tuition) to have ineffective and uninfluential kids. And it alarms me how easily my concerns are dismissed in favor of a woman’s emotions (sometimes decorated with God-language) during courting, when we know that good parenting is sorely needed today.

Oxford University shuts down public debate on abortion

Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not
Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not

Journalist Tim Stanley writes about his ordeal in the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

An attempt to hold a reasonable debate about abortion in Oxford was called off after students threatened to disrupt it. Tim Stanley, one of the debaters, writes that the authoritarian Left has become everything it claims to hate.

I would’ve thought that the one place in Britain where you could agree to disagree amicably would be Oxford University. But I was wrong. For instance, I’ve discovered that you’re only allowed to debate abortion there if a) you’re a woman and b) you’re all for it. Any other approach to the subject is liable to attract a mob…

A few months ago I accepted an invitation by the Oxford Students for Life to debate Brendan O’Neill on the subject “This House believes Britain’s Abortion Culture Hurts Us All”. The setting was Christ Church College and around 60 people signed up to attend on Facebook. To be clear: this wasn’t a pro-life demo and the subject wasn’t whether or not women should have the right to choose abortion. Even though I was speaking for the proposition, my speech would’ve begun with noting that the motion has nothing to do with abortion rights per se and was simply a consideration of how having effective abortion on demand affects wider society. Brendan, speaking for the opposition, would’ve doubtless done a fine job and probably run rings round me. It was a fair and free debate that I half expected to lose.

But someone was outraged that we dared to discuss this issue at all. A protest group of around 300 people called “What the f**k is ‘Abortion Culture’?” appeared on Facebook that promised to “take along some non-destructive but oh so disruptive instruments to help demonstrate to the anti-choicers just what we think of their ‘debate’.” We were guilty of promoting “really sh*tty anti-choice rhetoric and probs some cissexism.” The foul language indicates how sophisticated the protesters were, while the accusation of cissexism had me reaching for my online urban dictionary. Was I being called a sissy by homophobic feminists? Mais non. Apparently a “cis” is someone who identifies with the same gender that they were born with. So that’s a thing now.

The university’s students’ union also issued a statement that took aim at Brendan and me for being so offensively attached to our God-given genitals: “The Women’s Campaign (WomCam) condemn SFL for holding this debate. It is absurd to think we should be listening to two cisgender men debate about what people with uteruses should be doing with their bodies.” Next, the Christ Church Junior Common Room (posh talk for “the committee that run the students’ bar”) passed a motion asking their college to decline to room the debate. Eventually, the college caved-in on the grounds that, “there was insufficient time between today and tomorrow to address some concerns they had about the meeting”. The pro-life society tried to find an alternative venue but everyone else said “no”. I believe that two colleges agreed only to later rescind their invitations. I was sitting in Paddington Station (in a duffel coat and hat!) ready to jump on a train to Oxford at 4.40pm when I was told that the debate was finally, totally called off.

So what do we learn from this?

We learn that feminists on the left are opposed to free speech. Once they decide something, they don’t want to have to consider alternatives or hear evidence contrary to what they feel is right for them. It doesn’t matter what is morally right or respectful of the rights of others – the selfish desire for happiness is absolute, and to help with personal responsibility. And if free speech has to go in order to prevent anyone from harassing them with pesky facts, then so much the worse for free speech.

One thing is for sure, the pro-abortion position is not adopted because of logic or evidence. Being pro-abortion is non-cognitive. It cannot be defended rationally, but survives only by mob threats and raw power. If this were not so, then the feminists would have let the debate go through and their side would have won it on the merits. But they knew they would lose a fair debate, and that’s why they shut the debate down. And yet I’m sure that they would call themselves pro-diversity and open-minded.