Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Demagogues: American Morality by Mob Rule over Reason

Demagogue: a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

Psalm 29: If a wise person disputes with a fool, there is railing and ridicule but no resolution.

Christianity, to be precise Christianity that believes the moral commands have divine authority and are not merely customs, receives a lot of flak from a certain portion of the Western World, especially in America.  A certain segment of the population essentially denies some or all of the moral law as having authority. The portion of the moral law this group rejects is labeled as being nothing more than an innovation imposed on everybody by a small minority.  Those individuals who object to changes in the law based on this allegation are attacked as intolerant.

This allegation is that it is based on the claim: "There is nothing wrong with [X].  People who think there is something wrong with [X] are pushing their beliefs on others."

It rather reminds me of the definition of the term, Dramatic Irony:

a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.

It is irony because the claim that "There is nothing wrong with [X]" is itself a statement of belief on morality.  Moreover, the disapproval expressed against people who "push their beliefs on others" is also a statement of belief on morality.  If pushing beliefs on morality on others is wrong, then it follows that condemning people for not sharing the denial that [X] is wrong… are wrong.

If [no values should be pushed on others] is absolutely true (true in all situations, times and places), then it follows that [tolerance] is a value  that cannot be pushed on others, because tolerance is seen as a value in modern America.

However, if one wishes to deny that tolerance cannot be pushed on others, that means that some values can be insisted on for all times, places and situations.  That means the person who wants to include the values they prefer and exclude the values they dislike must show the basis of their claims as to what criteria determine absolute values from mere opinions.  Otherwise these champions of "tolerance" are being hypocritical.

In a reasonable world, when there are differences in moral views, discussion and exploration into what moral views are true, and people of good will would all seek to follow them.

But this is exactly what doesn't happen.  Instead we see an assertion that [X] (such as abortion, homosexual acts, or contraception) is morally good or at least neutral.  When that assertion is challenged, the response is not a reasoned defense, but instead an ad hominem attack which accuses the questioner as being judgmental or bigoted.

That isn't a defense of the assertion or a refutation of the challenge.  That is merely the act of a demagogue, who seeks to sway the population by appealing to desires and emotions, committing distortions to sway the audience.  The person who attempts reason is usually mocked or attacked (verbally or sometimes physically).

Now consider who acts like a demagogue?  is it a Pope who speaks about how certain acts are contrary to what God calls us to be and are harmful to us if we practice these acts?  Or is the demagogue the person who spews out slogans like "War on women!", "Homophobe!", "Right Wing Extremist!" and the like?

The people who say it is the Pope who is the demagogue are a large portion of the problem in America today.  The rest of the problem comes from the people who accept what "feels" right without asking what is true.

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