Moral Certainty, and Other Fictions

The shadowy group of adolescently sanctimonious hackers known collectively as Anonymous struck at the Vatican the other day, forcing several sites to shut down. In a statement, the group said:

“Anonymous decided today to besiege your site in response to the doctrine, to the liturgies, to the absurd and anachronistic concepts that your for-profit organization spreads around the world.”

This is a philosophy which says: I know unambiguously what’s right and that I will use that consciousness to enforce my greater/better/moral vision upon you. Exactly what the world needs, I’d say. A small group of the self-appointed and self-righteous deciding what content ought to be made available (or not, as the case may be) for the rest of us.

After months of Republican primaries, it’s a principle of behavior the American electorate should be completely accustomed to by now.

Several (all?) Republican presidential candidates have insisted that their particular Biblical interpretations are not only self-evidently accurate, but are also the only possible and appropriate foundations of American public policy. Further, these candidates have expressed the desire to use the full powers available to them, once elected, to coerce behavior they find personally acceptable out of our fellow citizens.

That’s not American, not democratic, and not even civil.

These candidates have a lot in common with the group Anonymous: they believe uncritically in the correctness of their visions and in their right to make the rest of us believe uncritically in them too.

[P.S. – I’m not going to post anything new for the next few days. Don’t take it personally; other pursuits demand my full attention. See you again soon.]

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