Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dare To Be Stupid

It's like spitting on a fish; it's like barking up a tree.
It's like saying you gotta buy one if you wanna get one free. -- "Weird Al" Yankovic

Shorter conservative thinkamator:

Instead of pestering us to explain the specific dangers of the crack, or pointing out that nothing is in fact wrong with your mother's back, just do what you're told. Those "smart" people are just trying to trick you into stepping on the crack.

Really, unless he's trying to be facetious or ironic here, for a guy who actually wrote a book on people who avoid reason and logic for fanatical, uncritical thrall to "traditional imperatives", he's just being obtuse.


Marius said...

It's funny that he mentions, with barely disguised contempt, ancient Greek sophists as some of these smart-asses who lead well-meaning people on stray paths; then he ends up pulling a piece of clumsy sophistry himself. Jackass.

Heywood J. said...

Yeah, exactly. He was so transparently indulging in exactly the sort of scatterbrained smarm he was condemning, I honestly wasn't sure at first if it was some kind of pseudo-intemellectual setup.

His Policy Review piece is a somewhat better exegesis of the "visceral code" arguments re traditional mores; even so, it's pretty decontextualized from the ancillary issues of community pressure and violent force.

It wouldn't occur to most of us (I would hope) to try to talk a Jew or a Muslim into eating a pork chop, because no one's forcibly prohibiting them from pork. They've made a choice. But a burqa carries with it much more baggage, obviously, and it is virtually guaranteed that force is at least implied, if not overtly involved.

But in Harris' a priori reasoning, rather than understanding the underpinning mores of the respective traditions (power and control with arbitrary rules), he would rather make the mossbacks of the western world feel better about their intransigence in the face of so-called intelligence.

I'm sure there's a thousand radicalized mullahs making similar arguments to their congregations -- "the western devils want to cheat you out of your ancestors' birthright -- don't listen to them!". Basically he seems to be saying that traditionalists simply cannot handle the rigors of logic and reason, therefore they should be left to indulge their mythos. Which is fine, as long as they're not imposing them.