Sunday, May 11, 2014

Liberalism as Myth

There is a thread that looks at the Power of Myths - it started with an article on Why Myth Matters.
To the scientific man a myth is a curious but valueless cultural artifact from a superstitious age. The worthlessness of myth is rooted in the work of several academics from the turn of the twentieth century.

I tried to snip excerpts from the article, but couldn't without ruthlessly violating copyright - I strongly suggest you read the whole thing. 

I grew up on myths - as a kid, Superman was almost as real to me as my neighbors.  It wasn't just the popular TV show of the time - the costumes were cheesy, even to my eyes, the plots weren't as well-crafted as the comics, and the lack of color made it, in retrospect, as exciting as a Soviet documentary.

But the comics!

They engaged me.  They guided my developing sense of right and wrong, instilled my belief that the weak and poor were to be protected (which later led me to youthful Liberal ideas), and were a powerful source of moral certainty.

I don't mean to ignore other influences - my mother and father did their part, and not only sent me to Sunday School, but discussed current issues at the dinner table, allowing me to apply what I'd learned to real life.  Schools openly supported the values of the time - patriotism, belief in God, responsibility, obeying the law - all were grounded in what we now call "Juedo-Christian" values.

My influences extended beyond my neighborhood.  I went to school with children whose families had fled Nazi horrors, Soviet oppression, and the Holocaust.  I learned from them of the power of the State to cause great evil, as well as good.

And, not only that, but I imbibed the fashion sense of super-heroes, which might explain some of my more questionable clothing choices.

I read widely.  At around 12, I had finished all the books in the Children's section of my local library (I may have missed a few, but not many), and wandered into the adult section.  When I realized that no one was going to chase me out, I started taking out books from there, starting in the Z's (that section abutted the Children's section).  For a while, I worked alphabetically - wonder if I was slightly OCD?

Eventually, I would find an author I'd hear about, and read everything that person had available on the shelves.  Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Austen, whatever.  Fortunately, the fad for filling shelves with popular bestsellers, rather than classic literature, had not started, so I got a wide smattering of modern, and past, literature.  Some junk, too, but trying to check out a quasi-smutty or more adult book got you the fish-eye from the librarians.  They exercised their authority by suggesting that you wait a few years to read that one.

Imagine that!  A non-related adult exercising moral guidance!  Without being sued by the parents!

At home, my parents didn't censor my reading choices - they figured that if I could read it, I must be old enough to absorb the lessons within.  For the most part, it worked.

I liked mythic novels, which is why I've read ALL of Sherlock Holmes (the literary character, not the insipid TV character),  From that, and similar works, I absorbed the concept that even deeply flawed people could be capable of great things.

Today, Liberals sneer at myths - IF those myths are Conservative ones.  They have, however, imposed their own myths:

More Later.

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