Two dogmas of dogma (in the form of an antimony)

1. The “right” to belief is sufficient to have one. The patriot who believes that Marxism is the philosophical foundation of the “Axis of Evil”, the sentimentalist who believes that “music is the language of the soul”, or the dieter who believes that Arizona brand green tea is “good for you” meet all the conditions to have a belief that such things are the case. (The issue here is not that of justified belief and criteria for justification—which has been of perennial interest to analytic philosophy—but the fact of belief, to which analytic philosophy is by and large insensitive.)

Conversely, to have a belief is sufficient to have a “right” to one; and, as a corollary, democratic practice requires the mobilization of beliefs in the public sphere. It is, of course, precisely for this reason that the American Founders instituted various republican controls on such practice.

2. The purpose of education is to fight against dogma. The one who is educated believes not merely as “one” believes but has grounds for belief.

ad 1: The ideology of democracy does not presuppose equality but, rather, institutes equality: one person, one vote.

ad 2: A woman once told me that she read a “Christian study” that proved many of the rhythms of popular music were evil and morally ruinous to the soul because they were derived from voodoo.


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