Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Emerson was wrong when he said "...to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,--that is genius." To believe that what is true for you is true for all men is fanaticism, and fanaticism generally does not end well.

When fanaticism boards the ship of life, the load is lightened by jettisoning common sense. This being insufficient, the next thing to go is empathy, then reason and finally human decency.

It is quite easy to get angry at moronic public officials who suspend first graders for drawing pictures of guns, or who hug a classmate. Anyone can make fun of them. We can think of them as daffy Quixotic prigs, or officious Barney Fifes. But what is essential is that they be recognized for what they are: dangerous zealots who have long lost sight of reason.

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