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When Hope Tramples Truth
The New York Times ^ | March 24, 2013 | Roger Scruton

Posted on 03/25/2013 10:49:17 AM PDT by beaversmom

Excerpts:

Apollo granted to his Trojan priestess Cassandra the gift of prophecy. But because she resisted his advances he punished her by ensuring that nobody would ever believe what she said. Such has been the fate of pessimists down the ages. Those who interrupt the good cheer of their fellows with the thought that the things about which they are all agreed might go badly wrong are either dismissed as madmen or condemned as fools. ...

We have witnessed something similar in the so-called Arab Spring. “Unscrupulous optimism,” as Schopenhauer called it, led both the United States and the nations of Europe to embrace changes that have led, so far, to Islamist governments in Tunisia and Egypt, to the heightened persecution of Christians across the region, to the total destruction of Syria, to the murder of the American ambassador in Benghazi, to the destabilization of Mali and to a constant tally of death and destruction with no end in sight. ...

People interested in truth seek out those who disagree with them. They look for rival opinions, awkward facts and the grounds that might engender hesitation. Such people have a far more complicated life than the optimists, who rush forward with a sense of purpose that is not to be deflected by what they regard as the cavilings of mean-minded bigots. Here in Britain, discussions on gay marriage have been conducted as though it were entirely a matter of extending rights, and not of fundamentally altering the institution. Difficult issues, like the role of...

(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: arabspring; gaymarriage; optimism; pessimism; truth
This opinion piece from the NY Times was recommended to me by a friend. I thought it to be excellent food for thought, and I'm interested in other FReeper's opinions. Only a few highlighted excerpts allowed on FR, but please read the whole piece at link as there are other important points for consideration and hopefully comments/discussion.
1 posted on 03/25/2013 10:49:17 AM PDT by beaversmom
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To: beaversmom

Cf. “confirmation bias”


2 posted on 03/25/2013 10:53:51 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (What word begins with "O" and ends in economic collapse?)
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To: beaversmom
It is quite good.

Education, though, plays a large part in the abandonment of pessimism. Teachers claim to teach so-called "critical thinking", but they do the opposite. And, unfortunately, don't even know it.

3 posted on 03/25/2013 11:07:05 AM PDT by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment. -Ludwig von Mises)
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To: beaversmom

Optimism will get you killed.

In other words, make sure the guy that packs your chute knows what the heck he is doing.


4 posted on 03/25/2013 11:24:25 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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