Funny Old Fundamentalism

Posted in Philosophy on November 21, 2011 by Erebus Nekromantia

I had taken some time off – a backseat, if you will – and took the opportunity to simply observe and not partake in political debate and discussion. In this, I am noticing a commonality in Australia’s conservative politicians and lobbyists.
My thoughts are as follows.

 

Orthodoxy sacks the mind, and orthopraxy sacks everything else.

Contrary to the laughing matter the title of this article would imply, this particular instalment of ominous ramblings and intricate ponderings will focus upon the concerning mindsets of fundamentalism’s faithful subjects – the conservatives.

The waters are muddied between the definitions of fundamentalism and conservatism. On the one hand there is the property of ascetic adherence (note that the philosophy and its followers are two different entities entirely) to any specific doctrine, largely in opposition to modern adaptation or interpretation, that is fundamentalism; and on the other hand there is the element of preservation and maintenance of traditions, pertaining that ‘tradition’ on its own serves reason enough for social validity, that is conservatism.
It is apparent that the two are overlapping concepts of a whole, neither being able to exist without the other. This is in contrast to liberalism and modernism; where modes of liberalism can employ fundamentalism, such as theological or philosophical tenets stating, or compatible with, the importance of liberty and equal rights, liberalism may exist in the absence of an absolute groundwork for a system partnered with lenient observation – this is especially true due to relativism being compatible with liberalism. Modernism rejects the concept that ‘tradition’ is reason enough for its own validity altogether – this makes the concept of modernism incompatible with fundamentalism on the grounds that it is completely possible for the concept to inceptively reject itself.

There is a particular interesting difference between conservatives and liberals – the varying degree and orientation of introversion and extroversion. Whereas the liberal tends to prioritise philosophies and concerns about their own freedoms (introverted orientation) and the liberties of others (extroverted orientation), the conservative prioritises their concerns about their own mode of living. The conservative is convinced that their own position is ‘correct’ and ‘ideal’ for everyone based on the orientation of their introversion, and extrovertly concerns themselves with conforming all other parties in line with their own ideals.
A deviation from convention serves as an ample calibrator for discerning levels of conservatism. For conservatism, unlike liberalism, is more than a political philosophy; it is an assumed right over others.

The perceived justifications of the conservative’s proclaimed ideological ‘right-of-way’ vary, but the most popular motives are grounded in religiosity.
For the conservative, religion provides a proclaimed absolutism in truth whilst simultaneously discouraging criticism of its own sources and its adherents. It teaches apparent superiority for its followers above all non-believers and encourages the propagation of its faith, either via reward of eternal paradise, or saving others from the punishment of eternal torment.
Religion provides an authority incapable of being reasoned with, incapable of being criticised in person, and incapable of being prosecuted for crimes it may encourage or aid to facilitate.
For this reason, conservatives may comfortably contradict their own stances and be oblivious to their own hypocrisy, as their authority cannot personally be called to account.

It is because of the above mentioned that conservatism as a political philosophy is a threat to human dignity. The accompanying assumed right over others via unverifiable ideology in league with governing bodies is cause for concern – governments should always be answerable to their people, and not be able to dismiss criticism and enquiry on the grounds that they acted in the best interests of a given theology.
Conservatism ought be a choice of lifestyle – liberalism ought be the operating mode of government. Individuals should have the right to live as conservatively as desired, rather than inherently denying all individuals their liberties.

It is tempting (and perhaps quicker in gratification) to submit to the convenience of uncritically following and practicing a system. But it is essential to take the time – make the effort – to understand if and why such a system is effective and in the interests of human dignity; to be pragmatic.

 

From my cold quill,
Erebus Nekromantia