There are two basic problems with fanatics. First is the extremism of their beliefs, an extremism that they are fully convinced is anything but extreme. Second is their belief that everyone should be forced to follow all of their beliefs to the chapter, verse, and letter.

I don’t have a problem with other people’s beliefs – with three provisos: (1) no one gets hurt, physically or psychologically; (2) any adult is free to leave at any time; (3) no one is forced to conform to their beliefs, beyond the “normal” requirements of non-criminality, normal requirements being those agreed to by virtually all societies.

The attack on Israel by Hamas, or for that matter, the Nazis’ attack on western European civilization illustrates a great problem, and that is to stop the attack of a fanatical culture, you have to destroy it. Hamas continues to declare that they will never stop until Israel is destroyed. Israel attempted to contain Hamas within Gaza, and we’ve just seen how that turned out. Hitler refused to stop until Germany was flattened, and his death camps were killing those he claimed were “undesirables” almost to the moment when allied troops arrived.

There’s effectively no compromise with fanatics, and more reasonable people often have great difficulty understanding that the only thing that restrains fanatics is force. Within a society, the force of law may work, at least until the fanatics declare that they won’t respect the law in some fashion or another or until they take over the government and impose their beliefs on everyone else.

But this leads to the problem of those opposing the fanatics having to use massive force against the fanatics, with exactly what’s happening in Gaza… or what happened in Europe during WWII.

And, frankly, I don’t see this changing.

Here in the U.S., the far right is insisting on imposing a strict evangelical Christian set of beliefs on a nation where the majority of Americans don’t share their views, and they’re using laws and lies to do so, because they fervently believe that their way is the only “true way.” That’s why the House of Representatives is essentially paralyzed – because fanatics won’t compromise – unless forced to do so.

4 thoughts on “Fanatics”

  1. Mayhem says:

    You forgot to include Netenyahu and Israel itself under your list of fanatics – the Israeli military indoctrinates their young populace to a belief that no compromise is possible and that they are in an existential fight at all times. This gets magnified by the ultras and the settlers and the leadership themselves who disregard any laws that restrict their behaviour in the occupied territories.

    There is absolutely a near majority of moderate Israelis who are appalled by the violence on both sides. However they aren’t in power and haven’t been for decades.

    1. Derek says:

      I mean historically, Israel *has* been fighting an existential fight for a majority of their history. This doesn’t justify their settlers, settling on military occupied / disputed territory is insane to me… So the fanatical settlers ought to be brought back to Israel proper.

      But it remains that fanatics like Hamas, and Iran that supports them, want to see Israel driven into the sea.

      A two state solution is the only answer, but that’s impossible if one of those states is ruled by an organization that targets civilians explicitly, and uses their own civilians as human shields…

  2. Tom says:

    The Hill had an opinion on the necessity of the US Supreme Court:

    So I Googled ‘the necessity of the US Supreme Court’ and got a lot of government and constitutional data. My interest was perked by another article from The Hill:

    The worst decision by the US Supreme Court was that of 1857 ruling in Dred Scott v. Sanford. The 7-2 opinion held that slaves were property and that African Americans — whether enslaved or free — could not be U.S. citizens. The decision was based in part on findings such as “perpetual and impassable barrier was intended to be erected between the white race and the one which they had reduced to slavery”.

    So I looked at the composition of the court at the time and struck some things I did not know about US politics of the first part of the 19th century:

    Chief Justice Taney and three other justices were all placed on the court by President Jackson. Seven of the justices were of the ‘Democratic’ Party. One ‘democrat’ John McLean and one ‘Know Nothing’ Party Benjamin Robbins Curtis dissented the majority decision.
    In this period there were no distinct parties on the national level, all Presidents portrayed themselves as “Republicans” – The great parties of the era were thus created to attain victory for men rather than measures.

    Britannica states: President ‘Jackson was the embodiment of popular democracy. His very weaknesses, such as a nearly uncontrollable temper, were political strengths. Opponents branded him an enemy of property and order … he was in fact a wealthy man of conservative social beliefs, man of affairs in Tennessee, he appeared to have no known political principles of any sort.’

    Democrats opposed a weak executive, a new Bank of the United States, a high tariff, distribution of land revenues to the states, relief legislation to mitigate the effects of the depression, and federal reapportionment of House seats. At the same time that the pursuit of the dollar was becoming so frenzied that some observers called it the country’s true religion, tens of thousands of Americans joined an array of movements dedicated to spiritual and secular uplift.

    I found it most interesting in view of our present condition in the US that – There is not yet agreement as to why a rage for reform erupted in the antebellum decades. A few of the explanations cited, none of them conclusive, include an outburst of Protestant Evangelicalism, a reform spirit that swept across the Anglo-American community, a delayed reaction to the perfectionist teachings of the Enlightenment, and the worldwide revolution in communications (the telegraph) that was a feature of 19th-century capitalism.

    Even if these opinions are only partially correct it seems as if we are indeed heading toward another and more devastating display of force of arms for lack of our response to force of law. AI to the rescue?

  3. Darcherd says:

    In my opinion, the current situation in Israel and Gaza is the result of the rulers of both places having cynically manipulated and used their citizens as pawns in their attempts to cling to power. Until those citizens decide they have had enough and rise up to throw the bastards out, I fear very little will change or get resolved.

    “Fanatic: Someone who can’t change their mind and won’t change the subject”

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