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December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas: Obama Ad Shows You How To Argue Your Family Into Voting For Obama

Why post this before Christmas?

Ah yes, because the typical Obama voter will not see her family except on Christmas.

Remember the Reason for the Season: organizing for Obama.

There is a persistent theme running through the various liberal emotional support aids like this. We also saw Planned Parenthood offering advice on how to argue for partial birth abortion at Thanksgiving (pass the gravy, and by the way, did you know that most babies' lives are going to suck anyway?).

The theme is that the various members of this coalition actually do not have an existing group of familial supporters, and thus Obama, or Planned Parenthood, must step up in loco parentis as they say in law, to provide the motherly uplift and fatherly guidance otherwise missing from lives in search of structure and meaning.

That's not terribly surprising, of course. That is the appeal of the liberal brand of government -- paternalism for those lacking a genuine pater themselves.

A market survey group determined that the OWS demographic consisted largely of those seeking ersatz families and substitute religions:

First, that many of the rank-and-file occupiers feel isolated in their lives, and appear to lack basic community ties such as are provided by participation in clubs, churches, and strong families.... They thus attach to their political causes with something like a religious fervor. For many, a commitment to “social justice” is “not the end, but rather a means to an inflated sense of self and purpose in their own lives.” Crucially, involvement with others who agree with them provides an “overwhelming feeling of being part of a family.”

This actually brings up one of my main disputes with evangelical atheists. Many speak as if religion is the only non-rational belief system that people seize upon. (I'm using non-rational even though it's not a word to avoid negative words like "irrational.")

Whereas I see it as one of many. The atheists speak as if the only non-rational belief system is religion, if they stamp out religion, they stamp out unreason.

Not true. Throughout history religion has been displaced almost entirely by other religions, though those other religions were often unconventional, such as cults, Madame Blatvasky's insipid neopagan Atlantis-and-psionics mysticism, Hitlerian and Klanner race-lore, Marxism, cultish Gaiaism/"green" fetishism, Obamaism, Trutherism, Bircherite The World Is A Conspiracy paranoia, etc.

Many people have a strong metaphysical drive to know something about the universe and their place in it.* They ask questions which really cannot be answered, by anyone, and certainly not a scientist restricted to strict empirical inquiry, without a leap of faith.

I would be far less annoyed by the evangelical atheists if they were a little less irrational themselves, and did not fixate singlemindedly on their bugaboo of organized religion.

That fixation seems pretty irrational to me. It seems like it springs from an early-development intellectual trauma they can't get over -- at some point, in their formative years, they believed in God, then had a shattering realization that there was no God, and have been haunted by that ever since.

Which is understandable. As people's petty irrationalities are usually understandable.

But if the crusade is against unreason, then let's some more emotional and intellectual firepower directed against all the other non-rational belief systems.

Particularly those which have actually killed, enslaved, or impoverished millions in the last 50 years.

* By the way, this is another point upon which I disagree with atheists. They make it pretty plain that they think rather highly of themselves for not buying into religion.

On this point I can only generalize from my own experience. I don't consider my own lack of faith to be something I can brag on, because I know the chief reason for it is my lack of interest in the metaphysical.

That is to say, the major reason I do not seek a religion to answer big questions is that the big questions actually do not interest me.

That's not some kind of discipline I've imposed upon my mind. It's nothing I "did," like learning a foreign language. It's just a general disinterest in metaphysics.

This seems less of a determined, active intellectual stance -- at least to me, in my own experience -- than simply being born as a certain innate psychological type.

I dated a girl a long, long time ago who was consumed by the Big Questions. Not just about religion, but about art and culture and intellectual traditions. All of it.

I honestly did not understand her-- I didn't understand why she was so focused on such questions. I suppose the answers that satisfied me -- "Just because" and "There is no reason" and "It is fundamentally unknowable" -- did not satisfy her.

But I can't say she was less intellectual that myself. Pretty much the opposite. She was a dedicated intellectual type, the sort of conscious-intellectual-by-self-definition.

She was just different than I was. Not lesser, but different. At root we just had a different starting assumption about the limits of human understanding and inquiry. Her position was that these things could be known, hence it was constructive to try to know them; my position is/was they can't be known, hence it is futile to bother. Neither assumption is provable.

Which brings up another ersatz religion -- egotism, and those who insist that what works for them should work for everyone, and what interests them should interest everyone, and what animates them should animate everyone.

I think that is a more troublesome religion than many of the others.

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posted by Ace at 12:56 PM

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