A Randian thinks about the Islam threat

Madmax, the Randian commenter, continues in his intense ambivalence on the subject of yours truly. On one hand, he calls me a “vicious racist crackpot,” says that I represent the ultimate danger to society, and adds for good measure that he despises me. On the other hand, he keeps posting comments, such as this one (on the subject of what to do about Islam), in which he fairly and correctly describes key positions of mine and indicates, with regret, that he has no answer to them.

How will he resolve this contradiction?

Even though Madmax detests me and everything I stand for, I’ll give him a piece of helpful advice: Check your premises. You’ll find that one of them is wrong.

- end of initial entry -

Kristor writes:

Madmax probably hasn’t finished his initiation into adulthood. He’s still wandering by himself out beyond the pale, trying to figure things out on his own. Which is a huge job. That would explain his confusion.

Which leads to a thought. When one is trying to figure things out all by oneself, any old reductionist theory that offers a way of understanding lots and lots of things—e.g., materialism, liberalism, nominalism, libertarianism, you name it—is terribly attractive, and once it has been adopted it is tremendously valuable to its adherent. The simpler the explanatory scheme, and the greater the amount of phenomena to which it is adequate, the more valuable it is, and the greater the payoff of its adoption. This is why ideologues are on the one hand so determined to hang on to their ideology despite data in contradiction thereof, and on the other so outraged at the competing alternatives that threaten its psychic hegemony.

But coping with the contrary data that the world inevitably throws in the path of the ideologue—as your analysis of Islam and the facts of Muslim culture have become a stumbling block for Madmax—is a lot of work. A more comprehensive and adequate explanatory scheme is generally a better deal, all things considered, even if it is more complex and difficult to handle. [LA replies: How dare you suggest that parsimony is not the royal road to truth? I am going to report you to the authorities and demand that they take away your license to live in modern society.]

The traditional religion of the West at its apotheosis in the theological cohort of St. Thomas Aquinas offered just such an explanatory scheme. One of the great benefits of deciding to be Christian is that one may take advantage of all the labor already invested in understanding things by the traditional Christian theologians. Christian doctrine covers everything, without giving any of it short shrift. E.g., it covers modern psychology and demonic possession.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 04, 2010 02:02 PM | Send

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