Lindsay Perigo: Charlatans With Political Power
In my list of personal heroes on SOLO's Capturing the Spirit page I included the name of Malcolm Muggeridge. The page had been up barely a week before some indignant person was demanding to know how I could rank such a dreadful religionist among the people I look up to. That's easy. During my formative years Muggeridge's television series Let Me Speak was among my greatest pleasures. Each week Muggeridge, the Grand Inquisitor, would line up a group of adherents to a particular world view & quiz them politely but mercilessly about their beliefs. Nuns & priests, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Humanists, atheists, communists, conservatives, Moral Rearmers .... you name them, Muggeridge would wheel them in for the treatment. It was superb television & incomparable intellectual stimulation. Eager adolescent, thirsty for ideas, that I was, I drank this in. Had Muggeridge gone on to become a flat earther - which, in a sense he did - after this I could have forgiven him, so grateful was I for this weekly cerebral orgasm.
Two weeks ago I would have said you'd never see the like of Let Me Speak on television today. Then I discovered another BBC programme screening every Sunday night called Living with the Enemy. The concept is ingenious. People of diametrically opposed views (ostensibly) are persuaded to live with each other for a week, & the conversations among them are filmed. The first one I saw pitted a Marxist - actually, he called himself an anarcho-Marxist - against a Tory aristocrat. Unfortunately, the latter's opposition to the former was based on God, King & Country nonsense, & the Marxist made mincemeat of him. Then, last night, they had a member of the Sceptics Society checking in to a New Age "health farm" specialising in crystals, psychic surgery, rebirthing, channelling & all the rest of that fashionable mumbo-jumbo. Its owners claimed that one chose one's parents & one's illnesses - & whether or not the illnesses would be fatal. They believed in aliens, & disbelieved in science. This time, the Forces of Good prevailed. The Sceptic won hands down. She exposed the procedures & personae of her hosts to be fraudulent. She exposed them as charlatans, creaming off huge amounts of money from the gullible & the vulnerable.
Beside myself with mirth as I was initially, I had a discomforting thought. At the moment, no one is FORCED to buy into this rubbish, &, by & large, the nincompoops who do fully deserve what they get. But what if the charlatans who ran this resort had political power? At that point the realisation dawned that precisely such charlatans are well on their way to ACQUIRING political power, in New Zealand & around the world. They routinely rail against "globalisation" but their own ambition is to turn the entire globe into one great Amish commune, militantly dank, diseased & destitute. In this New Age when gullibility is rampant, I reflected - so rampant that even Objectivists can embrace Nathan Pritikin ... why, these Neanderthals are likely to succeed.
They call themselves the Greens.
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