Saturday, August 12, 2017

Nuclear Enabled Cranks

Crank noun: Unbalanced person who is overzealous in the advocacy of a private cause. 

One major difference between the two clients above: Any despotic tendencies in the guy on the left are currently moderated by the untidy, unholy but controlled row that is necessarily the routine business of a democracy. This system has to be dismantled before a despot can rule in the quietus of repression. Those who look for a morally entitled authoritarian system (as did Oliver Cromwell, for example) are ill-prepared to accept that the very "unholiness" of democracy, its compromises, its cut and thrust, its reversals, its highly partisan arguments and above all its lack of peaceful quietus which is actually its strength and a good sign that a democracy is healthy. However, like Oliver Cromwell* of old some of the American Christian right simply don't accept this outcome of human nature and look for the hegemony of a authoritarian, morally entitled system. Ditto the hardened left such as we see among some of Jeremy Corbyn's more extreme supporters. Both left and right extremes may resort to fanciful apocalyptic end of world scenarios and especially conspiracy theorism in order to convince us of the fantastic claim that the necessarily unfinished & disordered "building site" we call democracy is in fact a highly controlled state. They conclude therefore that their vision of society gives them moral licence to overthrow the current status quo.

* To be fair to Cromwell he appeared to have a sound conception of democracy, but when he saw its untidy logic at work he was repulsed and made himself a dictator, albeit an unwilling dictator. 

Conspiracy theorism is way of joining the random dots of social complexities in order to attempt to make sense of the otherwise chaotic jamboree of societal life. This is done by multiplying  myriad Machiavellian entities who run society by deception  The epistemic process of conspiracy theorism resembles joining the stars into constellations and then believing those constellations to represent something real when in fact all the constellations are is a good aid-memoir for holding complex distributions in the head with an otherwise fanciful background structure. Now, I'm not altogether against this post-facto "joining of the data dots" into sense making narratives because in world view synthesis we may have little choice but to proceed in such a fashion if we want to attempt to answer the deep questions of origins and reason (in fact currently string theory and multiverse theory are of this ilk). I'll freely admit that this is the role that my adherence to a progressive form of Christianity plays in my life; I'm very much aware that law and disorder science, based as it is on imperative algorithms, inevitably leads to a grand logical hiatus, a hiatus where human questions about purpose and consciousness may appear to be emptied of meaning. However, the dot joining activity of world view synthesis must be carried out with epistemic humility, caution, frugality and the realization that it never comes with the authority to bludgeon detractors into belief. 

Relevant links
On conspiracy theorism:
On epistemology:


dimwoo said...

Hmmm, I'm a Corbyn supporter - don't lump us in with Trump and Kim Jong Whatsisname. Corbyn is not "hard left", he's traditional Labour like we used to have before Thatcher and Blair, and of a kind that is unremarkable on the continent. Granted some minority of his supporters might want a Marxist revolution, but every movement has its extremist nutters and the right and christianity are well represented in this regard.
Taking this post in the context of the recent Charlottesville violence, you seem to be falling into the 'both sides were extremists' camp. I don't think it is at all accurate or fair to portray anti-nazi protesters as somehow the ideological doppelgangers of the truly despicable racist alt-right.

Timothy V Reeves said...

Hi Dimwoo!. Thanks for the comment.

I hope you are right about Corbyn! Is he a bit like Neil Kinnock who started off almost a Marxist but adapted his views as his career progressed? I don't think I was being unfair to Corbyn there because I was careful to say "some of Jeremy Corbyn's more extreme supporters" without necessarily implicating Corbyn who frankly I'm finding a bit of an enigma at the moment.

I would like to see Corbyn acknowledge the free market as an important and welcome component of out society; that might send the SWP packing! Perhaps he could do a Dennis Healey and condemn the "Toy town trotskyists"!

No, there was no intention of mine to do a "Trump" and claim the anti-Nazis were as extreme as the fascists. I'm not quite sure how you can read that into what I've said! If I was a protesting type I would certainly have been among the anti-nazi protesters!