November 7, 2015

How to Defeat a False and Destructive World View

“I have now seen everything,” began the Facebook post from my friend Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation. The Harvard Health Policy Review had invited him and Princeton professor Robert George to write an academic article about Planned Parenthood funding. After they submitted the article the editor had some comments that put his or her worldview on display for us all.

“But intentionally killing innocent human lives is never good,” wrote Anderson and George. The editor responded, “In general, we would prefer to avoid absolutes, as they do not convey an academic tone. Could this be rephrased?”  “Bad,” they were told, “is a non-descriptive word and not appropriate for this article. Could this be rephrased?” And, “Words such as ‘killed’ and ‘innocent’ should be avoided if they are just being used for emotive effect.”

“Uh, no,” Ryan commented in his post, “they’re not being used just for emotive effect. They are being used because they are precise and accurate. They describe the reality inside Planned Parenthood clinics.”

Reading the post came on the heels of George Will’s column in this Sunday’s Washington Post. Does Iran’s anti-Semitism run too deep for deterrence? it asks. This too is a worldview question and in addressing it, Will cites a book by Yale Historian Timothy Snyder who looks at the worldview of perhaps the most famous anti-Semite in history, Adolph Hitler.

“In Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning,” writes Will, “Snyder argues that the Holocaust’s origins have been hidden in plain sight, in ideas Hitler articulated in Mein Kampf and speeches. Snyder presents a Hitler more troubling than a madman, a Hitler implementing the logic of a coherent worldview.”

Hitler believed “the law of the jungle was the only law” and that races are like separate species competing for this world’s goods much as animals do in the wild. The Jews, however, rejected this supposedly universal law, promulgating a different worldview, one that gave them the upper hand. Part of it was the notion of transcendent good and evil beyond the survival of the fittest. From Hitler’s point of view, this ethic poisoned everything and sealed the fate of the Jews. Their worldview needed to be eliminated so they needed to be exterminated.

“Ideas have consequences,” concludes Will.

Read the rest here.


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