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Business As Delusional
Francis Wheen on the top ten modern delusions. My favorites:

1. "God is on our side"
George W Bush thinks so, as do Tony Blair and Osama bin Laden and an alarmingly high percentage of other important figures in today's world. After September 11 2001 Blair claimed that religion was the solution not the problem, since "Jews, Muslims and Christians are all children of Abraham" - unaware that the example of Abraham was also cited by Mohammed Atta, hijacker of the one of the planes that shattered the New York skyline. RH Tawney wrote in Religion and the Rise of Capitalism that "modern social theory, like modern political theory, developed only when society was given a naturalistic instead of a religious explanation". In which case modern social and political theory would now seem to be dead.

4. We mustn't be "judgmental"
In 2002 the Guardian revealed that Christian fundamentalists had taken control of a state-funded school in Gateshead and were striving to "show the superiority" of creationist beliefs in their classes. When Jenny Tonge MP asked Tony Blair if he was happy that the Book of Genesis was now being promoted as the most reliable biology textbook, he replied: "Yes. . . In the end a more diverse school system will deliver better results for our children." This is the enfeebling consequence of unthinking cultural and intellectual relativism. If some schools start teaching that the moon is made of Swiss cheese or that the stars are God's daisy chain, no doubt that too will be officially welcomed as a healthy sign of educational diversity.

6. Astrology and similar delusions are "harmless fun"
Those who say this never explain what is either funny or harmless in promoting a con-trick which preys on ignorance and anxiety. Yet even the Observer, Britain's most venerable and enlightened Sunday newspaper, now has a horoscope page.

9. America's economic success is entirely due to private enterprise
In the 19th century, the American government promoted the formation of a national economy, the building of railroads and the development of the telegraph. More recently, the internet was created by the Pentagon. American agriculture is heavily subsidised and protected, as are the steel industry and many other sectors of the world's biggest "free-market economy". At times of economic slowdown, even under presidents who denigrate the role of government, the US will increase its deficit to finance expansionary fiscal and monetary policies. But its leaders get very cross indeed if any developing country tries to follow this example.

(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Posted by aalkon at February 7, 2004 9:23 AM

Comments

6. Astrology and similar delusions are "harmless fun"
Those who say this never explain what is either funny or harmless in promoting a con-trick which preys on ignorance and anxiety. Yet even the Observer, Britain's most venerable and enlightened Sunday newspaper, now has a horoscope page.

Sore subject with me, Amy. Every time "The Weekly Planet" elects to cut your column to make room for some special feature, they still manage to find room for that awful "Free Will Astrology" column. I ask you, what is more important: Sound advice to real people with real problems to whom many of us could probably relate? Or some bogus (and in Free Will's case, incomprehensible) pseudoscience on the best days to have an affair with your boss's wife because of how the planets happen to be aligned?

And if you don't believe me about "Free Will Astrology" being incomprehensible, look it up on the net for yourself. He let his brain wander to the stars and never brought it back to earth when he wrote his stupid horoscopes.

And I ask you, why does an astrologer need a weekly or daily column anyway? Since real science allows us to anticipate the paths of the celestial bodies, why doesn't "Will" just write a book covering the next ten years or so for each sign of the zodiac? That way, those who are actually stupid enough to believe in that garbage can shell out the fifty bucks and read it to their heart's content and let the rest of us focus on real life people with genuine issues.

Posted by: Patrick at February 7, 2004 11:07 PM

My heart always sinks in disappointment when an otherwise-eligible bachelor brings up the idiot subject of astrology. I would sooner date a stone-cold junkie than someone who refers to himself as "an air sign."

Posted by: Lena at February 9, 2004 1:56 PM