Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Animal Rights Redux (updated)

I am not going to take the time right this second, but I am definitely going to address the insanity that is extreme post modernism. My earlier post made an extremist facebook page and that is where I came across this gem:



It is not that all post modernist thought is wrongheaded or bad. There are some perfectly valid discussions to be had. But taken to it's extremes you end up with sentiments like this one, left on Jason's blog - a comment that I think encapsulates animal rights insanity;

"But I am not a violent person. I simply want the violent people dead."

I am going to get to going in some depth about the nature of extremist political movements, especially post modern extremism - but I want to give it the discussion it deserves and will take a few days. I did find the video that the above clip was culled from and highly recommend that you watch it in it's entirety.

In particular, I would like you to pay close attention to the ending where Dr. Best discusses the concept of living in harmony with all living beings. This is a very good example of hitting people where they are likely to be more vulnerable. There are a very few of us, liberal or conservative, radical or down to earth, who cannot identify with that concept in some way or another. It is propaganda of the very highest order and is as effective as it is for a very important reason.

Best believes what he is saying - absolutely. There is little question in my mind that Dr. Steve Best, chair of the philosophy department at the University of Texas, El Paso, takes what he is saying as an article of Faith. When I watched the linked video, I was stirred by it - it spoke to me in a very particular fashion. Even as I was sitting here, picking out the fundamental flaws in his reasoning, angry about his overt support for terrorism - his Faith moved me.

The elements that make Dr. Best's commentary so very powerful, is the very same element that makes devoted theists - theists who truly believe what they claim to believe, so very effective as recruiters for their religion. And make no mistake. Without gods or supernatural elements, the philosophy that Best espouses is very much a religion. Given his background, I am comfortable in assuming that Best is an atheist. The difference between him and atheists such as myself, is that Best has created for himself a non-theistic religion that excepting a god, carries all the trappings of religions from the dawn of sentience. Faith, dogma, fundamentalism and absolute Belief - Dr. Best's religion has it all, even it's fanatics.

4 comments:

Becca said...

I don't say this lightly (afterall, some would argue it applies to me), but that bitch be CRAZY. MOTHERFUCKINGCRAZY.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Excuse me? If you're teaching/practicing these other "radical" philosophies like anarchism, Marxism, feminism (what's so radical about that last one anyway?), and this is NOT changing your daily habits UR DOIN IT RONG!!!!11!!!!

Likewise to that commenter at Jason's by the way.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Becca -

Yes, well you're a good sort of crazy...(and yes, I am looking in the mirror)

AA -

That is very much one of the points I was hoping would come across. It is the sign of a radical, that he is so very willing to throw other things he believes in under the bus, in the name of this one cause.

It is also a symptom of post modern extremism. I suspect this is simply a secular outlet for the same sort of mindset that encourages religious thinking. Cognitive dissonance - I haven't the least doubt that he believes strongly in everything he teaches. Fanaticism - belief must lead to complete - to radical personal transformation. Martyr complex - he had to have something that put him in direct conflict with his university administration.

Of course for the latter, he is presumably a tenured prof, given he is the department chair. So his martyr complex did not push him to endanger his career. He sure relishes that conflict though - it shines through in his smug assurance that with this - the teaching of animal rights extremism, he is finally ruffling those feathers.

Jason Thibeault said...

Per DuWayne's request privately, I threw together my thoughts on the video here: http://www.lousycanuck.ca/?p=2284

Now I have to get off the interwebs for a bit and do my damned jorb.