Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Fundamentally Insane 

Digby offers thisfascinating link to an article outlining the parameters of fundamentalism worldwide. Short version -- The American Acamdey of Arts and Sciences studied fundamentalism, sending out their minions to examine fundies of various religions independently. Their conclusions were the same, cutting across all lines. It didn't matter if the fundies were Protestant, Catholic, Islamic, Jewish, or whatever. They all behaved exactly like... well, gorillas, in a nutshell. Alpha males good, women subservient, outsiders evil. Period.

Digby makes the rather brilliant extension that Liberals can win the cultural war by pitting themselves against Islamic fundamentalism, letting the comparison chips fall where they may and confusing the hell out of American rightwingers. IE, Islamic Fundamentalists treat their women like property; we in America would never do that. Etc.

But this reminds me of the argument made by my favorite philosopher, Robert Anton Wilson. There are two types of people; what he dubs as homo neophobus and homo neophilus; those who hate anything new and different (conservative) and those who embrace the novel (liberal). If this planet and this species is going to get anywhere at all, we've got to embrace the new, learn to not be afraid. After all, we aren't apes cowering on the savanah in fear of the lions and tigers in the dark that will come eat us. And we should not be hairless apes cowering in our condos fearing the boogie men (read: negroes) that conservatives insist will attack us in the dark.

Humankind is just another animal, but it's only when we overcome our instincts that we are truly human. Fundamentalists are incapable of overcoming their instincts, and so should be looked on as mere animals, and treated as such. Perhaps it's time to start neutering them before puberty, keeping them in cages and slapping them on the ass when they pee on the carpet. And peeing is the only thing they know. It's how animals mark their territory, and it's about all that fundies can provide to the world.

The big thing that they miss -- there is only one tribe, and it's called the human race. It doesn't matter where you're from, who your parents were, what color your skin is, who you like to schtup or which deity you pray to. If you're born walking upright and with opposable thumbs and linguistic skills, if you're born human, you're part of the group. Fundies try to divide the six billion into "Us" and "Them". True humans make no divisions, and accept everyone, from Inuit to Aborigine to European to Asian to African to whomever, as part of the tribe.

Side note -- part of the reason for the whole fundie treatment of women is sexual dimorphism, something that's apparent in post-ape species. That is, the girls are smaller than the boys. Now, look at pack animals in which there is no sexual dimorphism, i.e., dogs. What is their hierarchy? Oddly enough, in dog packs, the women are in charge; consequently, dogs are much more accepting of each other across differences. A St. Bernard can meet up with a Chihuahua and immediately accept it as another dog. Try that trick with a Fundamentalist Christian and a Fundamentalist Muslim. As they say in the south, "That dog don't hunt."

Anyway, there are two types of people. Those who love the new and interesting. And those who are total asshats. Per the study noted above, most people are apparently total asshats.

More's the pity...

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