James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Contrarian Spirit

My latest at the Partial Observer. Excerpt:

Two decades ago Allan Bloom published The Closing of the American Mind. I never read it, but I would question the premise of the title. It appears that for most of our history, the American mind has always been closed. In any given situation, all possibilities seemed to narrow to two. Democrat or Republican. Liberal or conservative. Permissiveness or prohibition. Red state or blue. Progressive or fundamentalist. We are a nation of absolutes: what is good in some places, must be imposed everywhere. What is bad for some, must be banned everywhere. We crave ideals, not truth. We strive for moral perfection, not liberty. For only closed minds can conclude that because recreational drug use is considered dangerous and immoral, cancer patients should not be allowed to consume marijuana to control their nausea and boost their appetites.


  1. Anonymous9:32 PM PDT

    I read the article at PO. Interesting
    that you approach theology here. You of course have a point that if you ask too many questions, it causes doubt.
    Well, of course it does. I see why those of dogmatic beliefs fear questions.
    You fail to mention that if one can question god's nature, one can question whether there even IS a god.
    Occam's Razor states that one should
    avoid unnecessary hypotheticals. Well, if "god" cannot be defined, and people can't agree about god,
    maybe there is no god? George Carlin
    started out as an irish catholic and
    wound up an Atheist, since as he put
    it "they made questioners out of us,
    but they never had any good answers". Exactly. If I an not mistaken, Nock was either Atheist or
    Agnostic. There is a theory floating
    around that religions are merely propaganda designed to keep the masses distracted with petty garbage, so the elite classes could steal the world out from under them.
    John Lennon's "imagine" has as one of its hopeful premises, "no religion too". Something to consider.

  2. I like the idea of "disillusionment" where you stop accepting the "conventional wisdom" and "common sense" and realize that you have been laboring under illusions. Your article is the kind of effort that problematizes the stuff in the box and shows it as illusory, and I thank you for it.