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Monday, February 19, 2007

What it takes...

"At present, when belief in the witches of Endor is displacing the Darwinian theory... people's minds appear...to be moving backwards rather than on." That's Thomas Hardy, writing in 1922, at the age of 82. He was dismissing the fantasies of fellow poets--Yeat's visions, Eliot's piety, and Pound's politics--as well as displaying his own singular atheism and rationalism. The post-WW1 era, we now know, was the birthplace of the reactionary and fascist atavism that produced the prodigious atrocities of the 20th century. That reaction is still with us, only now in the enfeebled forms of Christian and Muslim "fundamentalism." Simpletons like Bush, Cheney, and bin Laden are the benighted heirs of narcissistic pyschopaths like Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, but still capable of inflicting violence and suffering. Yet they can do so only because their fantasies still appeal to the meanest and most ignorant. The influence of such people will dwindle in direct proportion to the rate at which humans abandon religion and all its forms of wishful thinking...

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