At the end of that one-minute video clip from The Patriot, about the American war of independence, British commander General Cornwallis — in shock and grief — prepares to surrender and mutters: “Everything will change; everything has changed.” It nicely illustrates that when ideologies fall, as they eventually do, they fall hard. Their leaders and followers are invariably horrified and fearful of the consequences.
The history of human affairs is littered with religious and secular doctrines like the Divine right of kings, the Mandate of Heaven, Fascism, various forms of Religious nationalism, Theocracy, World communism, numerous forms of Democratic socialism, and a number of other “isms” in Wikipedia’s List of political ideologies.
Sometimes dogma dies slowly, the result of gradual changes in society. A splendid modern example can be seen as a result of Age of Enlightenment, which advocates reason over authority, and has brought us concepts like personal liberty, limited government, free enterprise, and science. While societies based on these things flourish, the practitioners of failing systems wail and moan, as they struggle to maintain their ancient power and privilege. We often amuse ourselves at the rants of creationist preachers, as they complain about their loss of influence and prestige, and we laugh at their predictions that disasters will inevitably follow their decline.
To a limited extent, we are seeing that behavior today as a result of the recent Presidential election in the US. One party, which represents, practices, and benefits from a particular form of political and economic dogma, senses that its leadership — politicians, academics, journalists, and others — are losing their grip on power. They predict cataclysmic consequences — social, economic, environmental, and even military.
There would be such consequences if the currently prevailing ideology, inherent in the Donald Trump election, were indeed theocratic and authoritarian. But we don’t think it is. It will certainly be far from perfect — but so is everything else — and in our humble opinion, we think the alternative would have been worse.
We may be wrong, of course, and we fully expect to be criticized for this post as we have for others, like Beware of All Tyrannical Dogma, and before that The Folly of Economic Creationism. But in the true spirit of science, we shall wait to see if the losing party’s predictions validate their hypothesis.
Okay, dear reader. Go ahead and disagree. Your Curmudgeon is accustomed to criticism. But keep it clean.
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