Republican Conundrum: The Only Benchmark of Belief is Fanaticism

If belief in one and only ideal and ideology is the sine qua non of one’s identity, then how does one evaluate one’s progress or worth versus others?

If you have heard or read anything, you will understand that whatever you “gather” of what you have heard or read is not what was actually said or written – but your interpretation of that.  You interact with the world through the prisms and windows of your own prejudices and paradigms.

Now let’s go back to our question above.  If there is one ideology or book or ideal that is promoted and you have to believe in it then how do you measure your worth and ensure uniformity of that belief?  You will understand that just as a book is what you make of it, the ideology of your belief is  also what you make of it.

So, the belief of one person in an ideology is not the same as belief of another in that same ideology.  It has never been and it can never be.  That is the curse of our minds which is nothing but a ball of prejudices gathered over our lives – thanks to our upbringing, society, readings and influences.

If one ideology does not provoke the same understanding of it in everyone, then how do you:

(1) Ensure uniformity?

(2) Find distinctions?

The answer to the first is – make the hues as starkly black and white as you can.  Any presence of hues/greys will introduce interpretations and therefore further divergences within the ideological group.  That is why the aim of all the leaders of every belief system is to create stark contrasts.  “With us or Against us”.  “Believers or Non-believers”.  and the list goes on.

In stark duality lies the way to uniformity, despite the prejudicial intellect of a mind.

No human endeavor is without the urge to be better than the other.  Even two siblings fight over who is loved more by a parent.  There is a race for distinction over the other in whatever way one can make it possible.  When all else fails, the shade of one’s hair color will do as well!

So, when the drive of the belief systems is towards uniformity of minds borne out of stark contrasts, how do you ensure distinction?

The answer is a simple one.  Fanaticism.

The drive for stark contrasts fuels fanaticism, while the urge for distinction takes fanaticism to fatal extremes.

How better to swear your allegiance than to be killed and kill others for your belief that knows the world in only contrasts?  “With us or Against us”.

I can only become a better believer if my fervor is more than the other.  Leading to fanaticism.  Otherwise, its just a world of prejudiced minds full of hues being forced to a world of stark contrasts.  In a world of forced uniformity – how else can you achieve distinction?

And this has been the conundrum that most states which stitch their governance mechanism to a religion – the most potent and feared of all belief systems – face.

The world of Islam has seen this issue for many centuries now.  And, it has been the most obvious in the last 30 years or so.  As the specter of Jihad was created in Pakistan and the US along with the Saudis created the infrastructure of hatred – the mujahids were the feared warriors who defeated the Soviets.  Then came the Taliban – fueled by the hate-filled Madrasas of Pakistan, who defeated every other group of Jihadis to emerge the greatest monster unleashed in modern times.

But they were moderates compared to what was yet to come.

One very perceptive Indian politician – Bal Gangadhar Tilak – had once said “Revolutionaries of one era are moderates of another”.  Its important to say that firebrand Tilak was the first to call for India’s independence from the British.  Yet, he didn’t allow Gandhi – yes the iconic symbol of moderation! – to start his first Civil Disobedience movement (the Noncooperation movement), because… it was an “extremist step”!  Gandhi waited until Tilak died.  Two days later Gandhi went live.

After Taliban came the Al Qaeda and the many extremist Jihadi groups.  In the last 2 years however, all of these groups look decidedly moderate.  What we have now is ISIS.  They want to destroy all the others.

Republicans and the Right Wing movement

There was a time, way back in the early 2000s when George Bush was the epitome of the right wing Christian mindset and the rest of the Republican ideologies that derived from the positions that the Republican party thought suited their business interests!  Otherwise, how can a mind be so concerned about violence against a foetus calling itself “Pro-life” and also be fanatically backing guns?  Or put another way – how can someone pump in money for everything in the name of Jesus – a being who had not an iota in him that called for survival or violence – and hold him as the “Savior”, the “Greatest man” and all the rest of it, and YET be mindlessly backing guns?  The problem is that Jesus is a belief.  So is the concern for the foetus.  Such concerns and love do not spring from the consciousness, but from belief.  Jesus and the concern for the foetus is an ideology.  Given enough money and the right nudge, this belief system can make enough space for guns.. bigger and terrible guns as well.  Even wars.  Terrible wars fought based on outright lies (remember Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame?).  Torture and violence unspeakable.

The buffet of ideological components predicated on belief do not sit with each other at the level of consciousness.  The reason why such a thing happens is because the passion for belief created by numbing of the hues of the minds into stark contrasts – also freezes the inherent life of consciousness.

Once the fervor of belief and freezing of ideologies was set in motion – most put in place by money and many by even baser elements of the human mind – the new tools of promotion and communication afforded by the internet and the monies that came with it – created an even more potent cloud of Fanaticism.

From Bush to Ted Cruz and Tea Party to now Trump, is the snow balling of the components in the ideological menu of Republican right wing.  Pro-life, guns, wars, no government, no immigration, no social security..  etc.

Trump is reaping what Reagan sowed.

The ideological components which used Jesus as a convenient platform now have a life of their own.  Trump is as far from Jesus as the Earth is from the farthest star in the Universe, but who cares?  He has all the rest of the ideological components pat down.  Jesus can wait.

A party which paid dearly for having prejudices against the Hispanic immigrants aired so openly and brazenly in the media and otherwise, Trump pushes its chances further down.  If Tea Party’s fanaticism did Mitt Romney in the last time, this time Trump has taken the prejudices to another level on the scale.  And, the masses brought up on the ideolgical cocktail of those “components” are lapping up.  The guy is leading!

Trump is trumping reason and any sense that may have still been left in the party’s constituency.  And with that Republicans have become their own caricatures.

Revolutionaries of one era are the moderates of another, as Tilak once said.  And, Ted Cruz is the moderate of today.  If that doesn’t present a conundrum damning enough, one doesn’t know what will?

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  • HARRY

    Love the approach , I think there’s a lot more to it then that. Wink. :)

    • paul

      “than” that

      Wink

      • HARRY

        Paul, are we talking about the same language that is made from bit of German, French, Italian and Latin. I, know but ask me if I give a sh*t.

  • paul

    Desh, your insights are timely and accurate, but your English is not good enough for this forum and detracts from the important points you are attempting to make (“… is the snow balling of the entrees that were served in the buffet of the ideological menu of Republican right wing.”). Please have a native speaker proof this excellent piece and re-post.

    • http://drishti.co/ Desh Kapoor

      The mistake is noted. As far as the language is concerned – I don’t think the grammar or the vocab is the issue, it was the example that used buffet components incorrectly. As far as “native speakers” advise is concerned, I find that racist and patronizing. Reminds one of the twitter hullabaloo when Indian-Americans win Spelling Bee. :)

      • paul

        Racist. Well of course!

        If this were a piece on some aspect of mathematics and you’d added 2+4 and gotten 5, would pointing that out have been racist, too?

        I have fully endorsed your ideas and viewpoints. I think they’re important, especially at this point in American history when stupidity reigns in large parts of the USA. Because I think those ideas are important, I have some reservations about the their transmissibility to the average American reader in the English you employed. You and Archana have misconstrued this as an insult. It was not.

        • http://drishti.co/ Desh Kapoor

          Paul – comment well taken although I disagree that the language was bad except for one example, which I corrected thanks to your suggestion.

          The pointing that out was not a problem, linking a language to a geography was. I am a native speaker of Hindi and Punjabi, but I know there will be many in Turkmenistan, for example, who can write/speak it much better. And that is despite the fact that I am not that bad in it myself. So, this “Native Speaker” bit isn’t useful is what I wanted to point out.

          • paul

            Desh, you are fortunate Anis Shivani didn’t see this piece before I did – and it STILL needs an editor. One example: “That is the curse of our minds which is nothing but a ball of prejudices gathered over our lives – thanks to our upbringing, society, readings and influences.”

            A competent editor would have removed “nothing but a ball of prejudices” because #1 it’s not true (obviously our minds are so much more than “a ball of prejudices”), and #2, even as purposeful hyperbole it makes you sound like an Indiana Republican. There are far better ways to get that pt. across.

            FIND AN EDITOR WHO IS NOT AFRAID OF OFFENDING YOU – especially, my god, before publishing in an international journal. What were you thinking?

            As for decoupling language from geography, I leave you with this from the introduction to Jung’s THE UNDISCOVERED SELF: “As for Jung’s introductory chapter entitled, ‘Approaching the Unconscious,’ Freeman [Jung’s editor] recently observed that ‘Jung made my job ten times more difficult than it otherwise would have been, because he insisted on writing his part in English. Now, his English was very good colloquial English for speaking, but he couldn’t write English … It was written in a sort of Germanic English, like a German spy in a B film. Having to edit that really was absolute murder.'”

            IOW don’t feel like the lone ranger out there. You obviously have a great deal to offer, but the institutional powers-that-be in this otherwise and ironically ignorant mess of a country will absolutely disregard you if your language is not more precise.

        • http://drishti.co/ Archana Kapoor

          No hard feelings Paul! Cheers!

    • http://drishti.co/ Archana Kapoor

      I don’t see anything wrong with the English here! Yes, what I do see is some typos made due to the excitement of thoughts forming words and the passion about the subject :-)
      An excellent piece Desh, something that only you can weave so logically and accurately… :-) Cheers!

  • http://ashishvision.wordpress.com Ashish Kumar

    Thought provoking read… Its true and sad too that there are many groups and organization who are playing in the name of religion and creating the feeling of hatred among people…
    Profound article…

  • Uncle Dave

    “And with that Republicans have become their own caricatures.”

    hmmm… That is pretty clever :-)

  • jrb16915

    Clearly the republicans with 17 presidential candidates with views ranging from Rand Paul’s anti-militaristic view to Chris Christie’s autocratic views, who is led in the polls by a guy who was a Democrat 10 years ago, demonstrates a lot less diverse viewpoints, than the 4 democrat candidate’s who all share a single point of view on virtually every issue.

    Or maybe that fact that the GOP has a business woman, a business man, and a two medical doctors among it candidate provides a less diverse background than the democrats who have 4 career politicians running for office.

    The article fails every measure of reasonableness.

    • http://drishti.co/ Desh Kapoor

      I am not talking about the vocation but the issues which one takes. What are the issues which have “galvanized the base”? Only a handful. And that is the tragedy, if you can see it.

      • jrb16915

        I am pretty familiar with all of the candidates stances on at least a dozen issues. For example all four democrat candidates support the right to kill babies in the womb for any reason or even a whim. If you don’t understand the depth of hostility required to hold that position that is truly tragic.

        • https://myththepoint.wordpress.com Denis E.

          CNN headline: 11-year-old rape victim denied abortion gives birth in Paraguay.

          How cute. The 11-year-old mother has a REAL baby to play with! None of those store bought ones for her!

          • http://thebigliest.com The Bigliest

            And in the US, as soon as the baby was born the Republicans would be demanding she take her 11-year-old deadbeat ass to work because this ain’t no damn welfare state! No sir! Food stamps? Hell no! Can’t afford it! Healthcare? We ain’t COMMIES!

            We’re pro-life, baby. But once you’re born? You’re on your own, sport. Good luck with that and, hell, if you live long enough maybe we’ll send you to the Middle East to kill some brown people for oil!

          • https://myththepoint.wordpress.com Denis E.

            Rather than calling them “pro-lifers’ they are just pro-birthers. After birth, they slap the baby’s ass and say, “Good luck, kid. You’re on your own!”

  • TJ

    A relativistic position. The most valid point made in the article is this:

    Bal Gangadhar Tilak – had once said “Revolutionaries of one era are moderates of another”.

    Democrats were the fanatics in the mid twentieth century as evidenced by the wise-cracks made by stars such as Bob Hope in the movies of that era. It seems by neglecting to mention the fanaticism of today’s democrats, the author would view them as the moderates, and today’s republicans that cling to the ideals of 60 years ago are viewed as the radicals.

    The point is, the same arguments made in this article could apply to either party, using different examples of course. I think the more important issue to address is the polarization of society that arises from the desire for distinction rather than the fanaticism of one side or the other.

    • David Hennessey

      Really? Bob Hope’s movies define the Democratic Party? Which comedian shall we quote to learn about Republican political thought?
      Your argument assumes that there is some correct middle ground which becomes radical on the left or can also be extreme on the right but If the left is right, it is the middle ground no matter how far left it is. If Nazism is correct, then there is no radical right, there is just the rightness of the Reich.

      You must know the correct position or you can’t know what is extreme, fundamentalists think they are at dead center, there are enemies on all sides. where is your Golden Mean?
      The desire for distinction is easy to solve, agree with me and we’ll both be right:) Yeah, that is your problem,isn’t it? You won’t quit polarizing us by refusing to agree with us and since you are wrong, we can’t agree with you. That’s the way life works.

      Eventually, you will agree with me or your descendants will, I’m patient.

      • TJ

        What? Bob Hope made wise cracks about the Democratic Party, indicating he supported Republicans. There’s the first thing you misread. Secondly, his position was the middle ground back then and today would be considered far right. That is a fact. Your position, whatever it is, may someday be considered right, left, or middle depending on the shifting culture. I was merely pointing this out in agreement with the author’s quote of Bal Gangadhar Tikal. Furthermore, I did not state a position left or right, but implied that fanaticism is not a phenomenon exclusive to the right. While, the political spectrum may shift left or right (relativism), it is also expanding (polarization). I believe there are objective truths that can sometimes appear to be left and sometimes right. I’m sure there are many things you and I may agree and disagree on. There was nothing in my response suggesting I am unwilling to discuss those things. Take another look at yours and decide who is polarizing.

    • http://drishti.co/ Desh Kapoor

      Valid points. I agree that the battle lines have been drawn up pretty ferociously these days. From where I see, and I don’t have the baggage / benefit of years before Bush – but since then the religious fanaticism has created some interesting combinations of ideological issues.

      • TJ

        Yes, and seemingly contradictory. I get your point. But the polarization resulting from all this prevents us from understanding each other or even trying to, thereby obscuring positions or truths that shouldn’t necessarily be pigeonholed as left or right.

        • http://drishti.co/ Desh Kapoor

          Yes, they shouldn’t be and that is where the work of belief systems and ideologies come in. Every social group based on belief reduces the many views/opinions to a few “We vs Them” arguments. Look at God/Satan, Believer/Non-Believer etc.

  • paul

    On the other hand TJ & jrb16915, so far as I am able to discern, every single Republican candidate believes that abortion should be outlawed even if:

    #1 – the life of the mother is in danger

    #2 – the pregnancy is the result of rape

    #3 – the pregnancy is the result of incest

    In other words, exactly what the writer is saying, extremism: a young woman could be raped by her drunk father and be compelled to give birth, even to a genetically damaged child fathered by a first-degree relative.

    All this despite the Republicans, in jrb16915’s words, having “two medical doctors among it[s] candidate[s]”. Really? And these were men who took the Hippocratic oath?

    Does this sound like a competent political party to you? Does this sound in any way “relativistic” to anything other than the Three Stooges?

    All moot. They’ve already lost. Todd Akin, Missouri. Look him up.

    • https://myththepoint.wordpress.com Denis E.

      Here is a headline tonight on CNN- 11-year-old rape victim denied abortion gives birth in Paraguay.

    • TJ

      Absolutely relativistic. The democrats not only deny that Planned Parenthood are selling baby body parts, they deny that baby hearts, livers, and brains are even body parts. They’ve become fanatics over their ideology. I did not deny republicans may be fanatics, but merely pointed out democrats are also fanatics, but from a different perspective. Therefore, while the author’s argument was not unsound, it was unobjective. Furthermore, you and I are polarized. My point is made perfectly and my argument is completely realistic and objective. The best you managed to do was repeat the biased assertion of the author. Is there a favourite stooge you’d like to imagine yourself bested by? I’m partial to Curly myself, woob, woob, woob, woob, woob!

      • paul

        Hmmm…. Apparently I missed that broad Democratic consensus on fetal tissue (“democrats not only deny ….). Perhaps you heard this on Fox News?

        What is NOT in doubt, however, is the public unanimity of ALL Republican candidates on the absolute prohibition of abortion.

        The irony here is that its all show & BS. The right wing depends on both abortion and easily available guns as devices by which our various American underclasses control their own numbers – so while spouting Jesus from one side of their mouths, they’re whispering directions to the abortion clinic or gun store from the other. This is the very tip-top height of hypocrisy, isn’t it? It’s a lie, it’s immoral, and it’s pure straight-up American Republicanism. God bless America!

      • ugluk2

        Yes, there are fanatics on the left too and I agree with you that on the pro- choice side the loudest voices refuse to acknowledge any problem with abortion at all, which is crazy. But that doesn’t change the fact that the political right just keeps getting more and more extreme.

  • Guthrum

    Has anyone thought about why Trump is running ? Maybe there is more to it.

  • overthere

    tj must be a paid circle jerk facilitator that works the usual false premises of the status quo.