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Idiotarian explained

Posted by Richard on July 24, 2005

Thanks to David Aitken for pointing out Joe Katzman’s wonderful description of the history and meaning of "idiotarian" and "anti-idiotarian" at Winds of Change. It’s a must read. 

Katzman links to Eric S. Raymond’s Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto, and it’s even more of a must read. It’s new to me, and I’m just blown away. I finished it with tears rolling down my cheeks. If you only follow one link from my blog, ever, let it be that one. Here’s a sample (emphasis added):

WHEREAS, the Left has failed us by succumbing to reflexive anti-Americanism…

WHEREAS, the Right has failed us by pushing ‘anti-terrorist’ measures … prejudicial to the central liberties of a free society…

WHEREAS, even many of the Libertarians from whom we expected more intelligence have retreated into a petulant isolationism…

WE THEREFORE ASSERT the following convictions as the premises of the anti-idiotarian position:

  1. THAT Western civilization is threatened with the specter of mass death perpetrated by … terrorists …

  2. THAT the terrorists and their state sponsors have declared and are pursuing a war not against the vices of Western civilization but against its core virtues

  3. THAT no adjustments of American or Western foreign policy, or concessions to the Palestinians, or actions taken against globalization, or efforts to alleviate world poverty, are of more than incidental interest to these terrorists;

After laying out the premises, the manifesto declares and affirms a number of things, among them (emphasis added): :  

WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Left — the moral blindness that refuses to recognize that free markets, individual liberty, and experimental science have made the West a fundamentally better place than any culture in which jihad, ‘honor killings’, and female genital mutilation are daily practices approved by a stultifying religion.

WE REJECT the idiotarianism of the Right — whether it manifests as head-in-the-sand isolationism or as a  Christian-chauvinist political agenda that echoes the religious absolutism of our enemies.

WE ARE MEMBERS OF A CIVILIZATION, and we hold that civilization to be worth defending. …

The Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto spells out all the convictions I arrived at and conclusions I reached in the period between 9/11 and the Iraq invasion, when I, as a libertarian, felt compelled to do some serious learning and thinking. It does so with language that’s elegant and powerful. Please read it. And thank you, Eric.

I am, of course, adding the AIM (Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto) logo/link to my sidebar.

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