Monday, March 8, 2010

Reactionaryism is Sophomoric

Sortacatholic made a great point in the comments section to my last post. On the question of why traditional, or at least orthodox, Catholics have tended to conform to right-wing positions on the American political spectrum even when they have nothing to do with Catholicism as such:
Maybe this factionalism stems from a desire to bridge politics and 'orthodoxy'... There's no surefire way to cast ballots or boast of our so-called orthodoxy to win God's favor.
A very interesting point. Unfortunately, I think this tendency can extend to all areas of life.

Ideologues...tend to be ideologues about everything. So not just in religion questions, but in all questions (political, economic, cultural, personality, etc) they need to think there is a "right" and "wrong" answer dogmatically.

That's a childish way of thinking, of course. And it is just especially silly when they're obviously just being knee-jerk reactive. When clearly they take a position simply because the other side got the better one first.

Like, take the Global Warming thing. If believing it is fake was really a politics-neutral question...you'd expect there to be a significant portion of liberals who believed that too. But no. The only people who believe that are conservatives, and only some conservatives. And the more conservative they are, the more likely they are to hold that position. Their politics are clearly biasing them, and on a non-political question...that's never good.

Of course, I'm sure some of the liberals who believe in man-made climate-change, do so for likewise for non-scientific reasons. For just-as-political reasons; like their whole neopagan Mother Earth cult insanity. For them, it's only a coincidence that they happen to be right.

But simply reacting against that is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If conservatives had gotten "dibs" on Global Warming first...they would have touted it as a sign of social decadence and related it to a need to wean off foreign oil, while the liberals would have opposed the belief as harming Third World countries that need to industrialize.

Instead, the liberals claimed the issue first, and so it got lumped in with animal rights and hippie nature worship. And thus not believing in it gravitated towards the conservative pro-big-business attitude (in this case, oil especially) and industrial-triumphalism, or even towards the know-it-all libertarian-conspiracy-theorist end of that spectrum.

These days, sadly, it's all in the spin.


My point is that the vague reactive emotional associations between various issues (ie, "identity politics")...is no basis for actually forming real informed decisions. If (outside Faith, at least) you believe something first and then go looking for the evidence to justify that belief...that is not a good sign.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Your calling anything "sophomoric" is seriously ironic.

Xoán-Wahn said...

I don't know if only conservatives fail to believe in man-made global warming. Some liberals are now doubting, myself included, based on the latest news about the IPCC. I think it's obvious that man has affected the climate but whether the earth really is warming to the point that we will all be wiped out if we don't take immediate action is not so clear any more.

A Sinner said...

I don't know about "all wiped out" and "immediate" action, but the results of glaciers melting are still huge and something needs to be done soon.

If it can be. Maybe nothing can be done, and we're all just going to get used to a world where, for example, shipping can be done along the top of Russia, etc. I trust that the problem is big enough that eventually governments will be forced to do something, and it will all work out.

The IPCC made some stupid mistakes that only give the denialists fuel, but the science is ultimately sound. That is what I mean about this not being a political issue. Sloppiness at the IPCC doesn't tarnish the scientific consensus which is literally from tens of thousands of data sets over the years. They are not the be-all and end-all of that knowledge.

A Sinner said...

Here, I think this is a well-balanced article on the corruption of the IPCC:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/04/ipcc-major-change-needed

FrGregACCA said...

Good point, Sinner. Take abortion. By any logic, the "conservative", free market social darwinist types should be all about abortion on demand (and many of these folks, not informed by any sort of faith, are), while it should be the "liberals" who are "pro life from conception until natural death" (and some are). However, this issue came down spun as a matter of "women's rights". Go figure.

A Sinner said...

Good example, Fr Greg!

Yes, I've thought that before: if the Liberals are all compassionate and about "human rights" and not harming animals and stuff...how can they stomach hurting babies? I've even asked: will pro-choice vegetarians eat unborn veal?

And why are the war-mongering, gun-loving, sex-hating, compassionless conservatives not all for abortion? Especially on "free market" grounds?

And yet, it became about women's sexuality, which liberals want to free and conservatives want to control.

I think very few people have the right motive. It should be about the life of the baby. But even many conservatives who pay lip service to that...are, deep down, really more concerned with how the conception happened than with the baby conceived. More obsessed with the aspect that involves controlling female sexuality rather than about saving lives.