Thursday, March 27, 2008

March of the zealots

Every so often an article appears that just captures the essence of the times. So it is with this piece by John Brignell.

Describing the void that exists at the heart of contemporary politics
, Brignell discusses the cult of the zealot and the plague of single issue fanatics who have emerged out of the vacuousness, to become the dominant social phenomenon afflicting society. He outlines the range of ecomyths that zealots utilize to further their agenda, the effects of their strident advocacy and the imperative for the citizenry to re-affirm their democratic control over the institutions of society.

Brignell writes:

The common factors in these campaigns of zealotry are:

bullet Creation and maintenance of a myth
bullet Ignoring all evidence countering the myth
bullet Ad hominem attacks on opponents
bullet Encouraging authoritarian governments to impose taxes and reduce individual freedom
bullet Promotion of limits and constraints that are simply invented without reason
bullet Collusion by the establishment media
bullet Damage to science and its methods
bullet Elimination of things that make life bearable
bullet Making some people very rich while impoverishing the lives of almost everyone else.

They will not be satisfied until they have you shivering in a cave, sipping thin gruel.

The greatest of these movements, rich in all the above characteristics, is the eco-theological one, which has morphed into the anti-carbon crusade.

Excellent, excellent summation of the choice people face between stasist control over, versus dynamist empowerment of, their lives. We do have a choice. But to abstain from acting is to leave the field to zealots and fanatics: never a smart move.