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william clegg


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Can we ever be free of the caustic influences of fundamentalism?

The fundamentalist is one who is fixated upon the rigid, strict and literal interpretations of a particular belief or practice. The fundamentalists use circular reasoning to support their rightness by believing themselves to be morally right and they are righteous in the belief of being right.

As a consequence, their righteousness of 'being morally right' then allows them to see all those who disagree as heretics and potential enemies deserving of their scorn, contempt and even violence in the most extreme cases.

Most are familiar with the religious fundamentalists that can be found in every religion ever devised and who have been behind so many of the atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion and religious rightness. .

But few people are aware of the political fundamentalists found on both the left and right of the political spectrum who keep fanning the flames of conflict in society and who, once in office go out of their way to destroy whatever good the other party might have accomplished..

The economic woes besetting the planet today are a direct result of the adherents of Milton Friedman's economic philosophy which has been summed up as "greed is good' while ignoring all the criminal and corrupt adherents that have exploited this particular belief system.

Of course, the majority of people would rather seek common ground and compromise over conflict and strife. But invariably it is the fundamentalists that want to incite conflict and who seek to inflict their narrow-minded rigidity upon the rest of us, making them no less dangerous to human populatons than any other infectious disease. .


Closing Statement from william clegg

I think Frank Bierbrauer put it best "I believe that fundamentalists of all forms will be around as long as people believe themselves either be superior or possess superior knowledge to that of others". In other words, humanity's inherent arrogance may well be its greatest failing.

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    Dec 27 2013: This conversation only seems to work if we accept the definition of fundamentalists as offered. Although, I will admit that there are fanatical fundamentalist out there as described, but they are so few in our world society.... but they are vocal and destructive to make their numbers appear far greater then they are... And there are too many criminal and corrupt people out there, who will sell their grandmothers if it gave them a gain... so, as my old professor says, "that leaves the two of us"...

    I have no problems with exploring new ideas and ways of advancing the human race. I came from a generation whose culture was to leave our descendants better off then we were. I am not sure we were all that successful, but that is another discussion. What I do believe is that our human race is capable of much more, however, there are dangers out there and we should go forward prepared to meet the unknown.
    Now there are some of us that are really fearful of the unknown. They will call out to us... "don't go there",
    " the old understandings are the only understandings"....

    Should we say that these "fundamentalists are caustic? or should we say that maybe some of these warnings on moving forward "be a valid concern" and should we be prepared to meet these concerns...
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      Dec 27 2013: I agree Mike, that it is important for us to consider information and "be prepared to meet these concerns..."

      Is being concerned and prepared the same as having a person push their own personal beliefs onto people and perhaps oppress and abuse other people because of their beliefs?

      I agree with you that there probably are not as many fundamentalists as it seems. However, a few of them tend to cause a great deal of damage....suicide bombers for example. If they have their own personal beliefs and act on them, that is one thing. If they want to end their own life, that is a choice they make for themselves. When they kill a lot of innocent bystanders, however, that is something very different, don't you think?
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        Dec 27 2013: Absolutely, there are suicidal fanatics that take others with them... I am also including those that take other's wealth, take their sense of security... anyone who reduces another's humanity.
        But this conversation is most directed to those who are "caustic" in their beliefs and "use circular reasoning to support their rightness by believing themselves to be morally right and they are righteous in the belief of being right." I am understanding that we are discussing those who say things and convince other people to do things and insist on being correct.
        I am from the old school, I have heard most all of it and I am not bothered by most "fundys"
        who are so evidently lacking in any awareness of the situation, they spout irrational nonsense. However, those who should know better but spout irrational nonsense... they sometimes get my goat.... OK, I am not up for sainthood.
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          Dec 28 2013: Mike,
          I think/feel that the only thing "fundys" are aware of, is a need to convince everyone that they are right, and as you say...spout irrational arguments to try to support their beliefs and actions.

          We can often ignore them until/unless they become caustic, by adversely impacting other people. As I said in another comment, as long as a person has a certain belief and practice that does not adversely impact other people, that is their right and their choice. Many fundamentalists, however, are not content practicing a belief on their own, and tend to insist that others embrace their beliefs as well.....that, in my perception, is when it becomes caustic in our world.
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          Dec 29 2013: Mike,

          Might I ask why you deleted all your comments on my UBI Conversation?

          I hope that you're not being erased from TED for some strange reason.
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        Dec 28 2013: Colleen,
        I see fundamentalism as something diminishing or destroying liberty. A fundamentalist gives one no choice. He may offer good food on a plate but hold a gun to your head to make you eat it instead of wishing compassionately that you will like and accept it.
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          Dec 28 2013: That is my belief as well Pabitra, which is why I do not embrace the idea that what fundamentalists do is sometimes good or helpful in our world. One can accept a belief and practice for him/herself, but when one starts to insist that everyone needs to believe and practice the same thing, it adversely impacts other people.
        • Dec 28 2013: I see fundamentalism as something that gives one a choice with the alternative being a no choice. He may offer good food on a plate and say it you eat it you will live but if you refuse to eat it you will die... it's not that they hold a gun to your head to make you eat it or will kill you if you refuse to eat it.... it is that unless you eat the good food you will be unable to live... for some strange reason some choose to refuse to eat hoping to live without the good food.

          Of course a similar situation could be created using the inverse set up; where someone offers bad food telling you that it is uncertain if you will die from the food on the table... of course they omit the part that lets you know that if you refuse to eat it you will live but if you choose to eat it you will die. Note that it sure is uncertain if you will die from the food on the table... for it is unsure if you will eat it or not... for some strange reason some will eat it wishing to live only to discover they made the wrong choice...

          BTW I embrace the idea that what SOME fundamentalists do is sometimes good or helpful in our world where as some here choose to embrace the fixed idea that ALL fundamentalists actions are outside what be considered good or helpful in our world. Curious thing is that rather than my absolute subjectivists stand being accepted some insist on their fixed ideas being the way for everyone to believe and practice... and to top it off projecting unto me what more appropriately applies to themselves... Some have a closed mindset while claiming they are open. Personally I would prefer an open mindset towards what be good with a closed mindset towards what be bad... though in practice the mindset that always ensures and transforms for good beneficial experiences seems a simpler way to go. Considering its difficult to distinguish win-lose apart it's simpler to just play to win and win every time...
    • Dec 27 2013: Mike,

      When they call out "don't go there"... one needs to know where 'there' be .-)...
      if it be a good place then do go there...
      if it be a bad place then don't go there...

      One also need to know who 'they' be... and what they actually know...

      As you sort of pointed : proceed prepared to meet the what's out there in such a way as to always ensure moving forward towards being better off.

      BTW sometimes the way to proceed forward involves (heeding the warnings) turning around and actually going the right way... yea sometimes we better heed the statement and "don't go there" where as sometimes we better ignorer the statement and do go there...

      If you asked me I would say don't go down the suicide bomber ways... some choices, as some possibilities, are meant to remain forever as mere options never to be acted upon. BTW note that every choice one makes for themselves affects those around ... so make good choices and have positive effects on those around!
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      Dec 27 2013: Please, let us not fixate upon the religious fundys because I believe the economic and political fundys do far, far more damage and are far more pernicious to community and nation these days.

      In any event I am pretty sure the Christian fundys who perpetrated their vile prejudices and sanctified tortures on whole populations for over a thousand years make today's look bombers look pretty tame in comparison.

      The most Seductive Oppression Merit Award - SOMA, I just made it up :) - may very well go the fundy economists/priests of far more recent history. Markets are no more free than human beings. Both are oppressed and controlled by "those who believe they know better" and "those who believe they ARE better" on a daily basis. But we have to take our hats off to them for being able to herd us up into such nice tidy - and mostly civil - market and labour divisions all competing with each other for the shiny baubles and ever more carrots as we are lead through the deep dark valleys of recessions and up over the fleeting peaks of light and prosperity time and time again. .

      But for the Lifetime Achievement Universally Granted Historically _ LAUGH, I know I am being silly but its the holidays - has to go to the political fundys - once again who believe they know better" and "those who believe they ARE better" - and who have, throughout the history of humanity, consistently been able to establish and impose their top-down hierarchies of Machiavellian power and control over whole populations for eons. From God bestowed Monarchies and their associated aristocracies to modern day political parties and the god-complexed corporate elite, only the names and faces have changed, but the agendas and the controls have remained the same. Namely using the carrot of "useful" employment and comfortable lifestyle, tempered with the stick of being destitute to then draw down our labour with only a modicum of grumbling resistance to worry about.
      • Dec 27 2013: William,

        SOMA LAUGH INDULGENCE has to go to the Individuals Needing Direction Under Loving Guidance Enforcement Now Commencing Education... (I know I am playing along with the silliness you put into the pot)...

        Indeed lets keep and open mind regarding the fundys extending and reaching into all sort of professions that have traditionally operated behind the scenes.

        Initially I was going to point out that the way to transcend the dualistic carrot-stick involves an individual's 'commitment'. That is an unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs, attitudes, and values which serve to guide individual determinations, desires and actions along the fulfillment of a purposeful existence in collaboration with others. Then I sort of got sidetracked with playing along the silliness while also seeking something useful... one thing lead to another and voila voila ... now days individuals are relying more and more on self-employment...

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