The Fanatic’s Ball, by The Zman

Fanatics are dangerous, especially when they get a hold of a government. From The Zman at

The great British evolutionary biologist, J. B. S. Haldane, famously said that fanaticism is man’s greatest invention. The obsessive, uncritical belief in an idea or cause is the opposite of the sober-minded and rational. The fanatic is intolerant of anything that contradicts his views, while the rational man is willing to update or even abandon his views when presented contradictory information. The fanatic sees only that which confirms his fanaticism and refuses to yield in his opinions.

The fanatic, of course, has been in the middle of every man-made social disaster since the French Revolution. It was fanatics who brought on the Reign of Terror and it was fanatics who brought on The Great Terror. Fanatics let loose by Mao in the Cultural Revolution terrorized the Chinese population. Man’s greatest invention turns out to be man’s most terrible invention. Once it is let loose, it is not easily put back on the leash, at least not until it runs out of things to smash.

This year has seen the fanatic set free to run wild in our streets. They were deliberately agitated and let loose by the petty men of the ruling class, frustrated that the people’s champion had not been vanquished. It’s hard for modern people to understand how the French radicals, for example, could have killed so many in the name of the revolution, but current events make this much easier to comprehend, even if we have not reached the bloodbath stage yet.

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