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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ear to the Ground


Out of curiosity, I listened to Andrew Sullivan's interview with Charlie Rose.

While I share his love for Americans as a good hearted people, I question how much his unbounded optimism is somewhat forgivable 'advertising' and how much is truth telling.

Here's what I've been thinking about and looking into. I'm still at the fact gathering stage, but it's alarming. And, until I have an over-arching opinion on the matter, firm enough to share, I'll just say to Andrew (and to Rachel Maddow), count how many times you find yourself exasperating that people are getting away with 'things that simply don't make sense or are plainly contradictory'. If it's on the rise, then that's an indicator that lamenting the lack of rationalism is part of a 'medicine' fit for an old paradigm, one that went out with the stabilizing influence of the "main stream media", perhaps.

Here's what's on my mind:

"A former Roman Catholic priest, [James] Carroll also warns about a rising tide of Christian fundamentalism around the world.

"My own conviction is that a crucial 21st Century problem is going to be Christian fundamentalism," he says. "Its global growth is an unnoticed story in the United States. Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia are now absolutely on fire with zealous belief in the saving power of Jesus, in the most intolerant of ways. A religious ideology that affirms the salvific power of violence is taking hold. It denigrates people who are not part of the saved community, permitting discrimination, and ultimately violence. Hundreds of millions of people are embracing this kind of Christianity."

As a student of history, it would be a mistake, I think, to be lulled by a belief that Americans will 'come around' or that 'things will balance out', as much as one would like to believe it. It is too much in my mind right now that Germany was one of the most literate, educated, 'sophisticated', artistic, and, in some ways, integrated of countries, before it got delivered to barbarism, in the space of what, ten short years or so, with a big push from serious economic stress...