Tag: utopianism

Imagine…

 

Since a number of us have hijacked @drbastiat‘s Grand Unifying Theory thread, I thought I’d begin a new one with this proposition:

The desire to improve human life can (and has) become a determination to perfect it. Utopianism pits the real against the ideal, and insists it is possible for the former to become the latter.

A Machine for Preventing Civil War

 

Scott Alexander, in a 2017 post at Slate Star Codex:

People talk about “liberalism” as if it’s just another word for capitalism, or libertarianism, or vague center-left-Democratic Clintonism. Liberalism is none of these things. Liberalism is a technology for preventing civil war. It was forged in the fires of Hell – the horrors of the endless seventeenth century religious wars. For a hundred years, Europe tore itself apart in some of the most brutal ways imaginable – until finally, from the burning wreckage, we drew forth this amazing piece of alien machinery. A machine that, when tuned just right, let people live together peacefully without doing the “kill people for being Protestant” thing. Popular historical strategies for dealing with differences have included: brutally enforced conformity, brutally efficient genocide, and making sure to keep the alien machine tuned really really carefully.

Book Review: ‘Strange Rites – New Religions for a Godless World’

 

Poll after poll demonstrates declines in religious observance in the United States today, especially in the Millennial age cohort. Some faiths and denominations are declining more quickly than others, with a few holding steady. Are people ceasing to believe any higher powers, or is something else at work? Tara Isabella Burton examines this issue in her new book, Strange Rites – New Religions for a Godless World, just out within the last week. Ms. Burton makes the argument that while adherence to traditionally recognized faiths (particularly Christianity) has declined precipitously, human beings still have a need to believe that the world is “enchanted” and human beings still need the community that shared rituals can offer. So even as adherence to particular faiths is declining, new religions are emerging to fill spiritual longings. Ms. Burton terms this the “Fourth Great Awakening.”

However, these new spiritual practices are at once radically different from anything that gone before, and yet radically American in their forms and ethos. They are also radically self-centered. Her basic thesis is this: the internet provides access to information on practically anything imaginable, and quickly connects like-minded people over any niche interest, allowing us to pick and choose our friends beyond the limited physical circles we have been limited to in the past, but this also allows us to concentrate ourselves, our interests, and our desires, creating a world of information and practice uniquely tuned to ourselves. In short, we can each pick and choose our own practices, rituals, and relationships, creating “remixed” faiths, and it is the “Remixed” whose worlds Ms. Burton illuminates.

This book is, in large part, about charlatans. It’s about capitalism and corporations and the new cutthroat Silicon Valley of spirituality. It’s about people who want to sell us meaning, brand our purpose, custom-product community, tailor-make rituals, and commodify our very humanity. It’s about how the Internet and consumer capitalism alike have produced experientially satiating substitutes – many, though not all of them, poor – for well-developed ethical, moral, and metaphysical systems. It’s about the denatured selfishness of self-care, and the way in which “call-out-culture,” at its worst, serves as the psychic methadone, providing us with a brief and illusory hit of moral belonging…

Child’s Play: A Short Story

 

As AOC walked into the room, people were talking excitedly and laughing. They were anticipating the meeting that would begin in a few minutes. She waved at people, shook hands and smiled warmly. Slowly people drifted to their chairs and the chatter slipped into an electrified silence.

AOC stood at the front of the room, her hands folded in front of her, looked around the room and made eye contact with several people. They smiled back and nodded to acknowledge the gravity of the moment.

Oprah: A Pawn of the Left?

 

Consider the possibility that Oprah Winfrey may actually run for president. There are plenty of reasons why she shouldn’t or wouldn’t, but let me tell you why she might, and why the Right should be concerned. I want to thank Georgi Boorman for her article in The Federalist for inspiring me to explore the following: why we should be worried if Oprah runs for president.

First, Oprah has a huge fan base. They adore her. Unlike Barack Obama, people feel as if they know her, know what kind of person she is, and admire her integrity and directness. I have to admit that I do like and admire Oprah; after all, she overcame huge odds to become one of the most successful people in the world. And she’s likeable and smart, too. Anyway, when people like a celebrity a lot, they will give credence to his or her ideas, and they especially like Oprah because she essentially says to her audience: you can do anything:

The highest honor on earth that you will ever have is the honor of being yourself. And your only job in the world is to figure out, that’s what this movie is about … people think your job is to get up and go and raise money and take care of your family. That’s an obligation that you have, but your only true job as a human being is to discover why you came, why you are here.

Member Post

 

Ida Auken is a Danish Member of Parliament and former Environment Minister. Her aspiration and vision for the future would have her (and everyone else) living a monastic and child-like existence; with no possessions, no personal privacy, and no responsibilities. Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city – or should I say, “our […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post

 

A couple hours ago, I wrote the following in response to the Orlando atrocity: It will be interesting to see how this brings out the cognitive dissonance on the Left. Where gays and the poor, oppressed Muslims fall on the pecking order of claim to “rights” and privileges has long been a contradictory collision-course obfuscated […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.