America's Irrational Relationship With Reason
Copyright 2012, John Manimas Medeiros
One of the character traits that I have noticed about my American compatriots is their extremely quick and admiring acceptance of new physical science and technologies, accompanied by an equally strong pattern of ridiculing and rejecting social science and rational examinations of our social structure, and economic and political systems. American materialism is hyper-materialism. We are regularly reminded that we consume more natural resources than any other society; we are regularly reminded that we consume too much food, too much high calorie food, and our most debilitating diseases arise from the quantity and quality of what we eat, and drink. But we go on, rarely considering the possibility of real conservation of resources or consuming less, and producing less waste. Even when confronted with global climate change, we accept the arguments of the physical scientists, the chemists and technologists that every problem we have, including any social or economic or political problems, can be solved by some new technology, some new method for doing what we do. Thinking back, even school bussing was a technological solution to the problem of racism. It had some positive effects, but the social solution to the problem, which was also advocated and used, was education about race, diversity, and patterns of human behavior -- social science. Americans repel social science. Americans repel criticism of their society, their materialism, the rapaciousness of their capitalism, any reasonable critique of their Constitution or election system. Many of the same forms of political corruption that occur in other societies occur in America, but the Americans refuse to see it.
Consider how the humanists, secularists and atheists in American share a common attitude that religion is bad, to be rejected, because it is the root cause of horrible wars. Yet religion has given us our civilizations, our most reliable and sublime concepts of who we are and what are the best behaviors that fall within our capacity to control ourselves. Religion, all religion, consistently reminds us that we are a community and we live and prosper or fail and die as a community. Humans survive only as a community. The human group or tribe or clan is the smallest possible unit that can survive on Earth. The alleged "family" is too small to survive. Not only must we humans live in a community, but we must regularly mate with the members of another, separate community, because we know that inbreeding presents a great risk of deterioration due to the high occurrence of both physical and mental deficiencies that result from human mates being too similar genetically - siblings, parent and child, or cousins. This is the most likely origin of the practice among tribal societies, and monarchies, or arranged marriages of a male and female each from a different group, clan or city state. This kind of inter-tribal or inter-clan marriage has not only political goals, but was in past times arranged on the advice of a shaman or seer, or simply the elders who knew, from ancient tribal wisdom, that periods of inbreeding would lead to the decline and extinction of the tribe. This is biological fact, not a political theory.
Americans have a habit of labeling science that they don't like as a political opinion. This anti-intellectual habit is so ingrained with regard to social science (socialism) that they do it even when the facts of physical science are uncomfortable, such as climate change caused by human activity. How about war caused by human activity?
Consider again how the American humanists, secularists and atheists share the common attitude that religion is bad, to be rejected, because it is the root cause of horrible wars. How is it that those who advocate religion, faith in humankind as well as in a god, or a higher purpose, and the capacity of humans to be good and altruistic, are discredited because of the destructive uses of religion, but those who advocate cynical viewpoints, and those who actually promote war and the manufacture of weapons and the persistent argument that we are threatened with attack at any moment get little or no blame for war. When they go out to fight, they are heroes. The inventors and builders of bombs and lethal chemicals, and guns and warships and warplanes and war vehicles are all praised and paid well, regarded as the hidden heroes of our safety and security. Why don't Americans identify the weapons that kill people and destroy property as the cause of war. When we drive our cars to work every day, do we attribute the technology of the car to thoughts or to the technology that built the car? If we deem the technology of our cell phones to be the cause of our convenient communication with our families and friends, then we should deem the technologies of destruction to be the root cause of war, and not "religion." But in practice, Americans attribute all positive outcomes to better technology, and all negative outcomes, including war, to bad social ideas, and religion.
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