Monday, April 10, 2023

Politics and Fanaticism


Politics and Fanaticism

Peter Schultz


            The following arose as a response to this sentence in Douglas Valentines’ book The CIA as Organized Crime: “As were the Christian missionaries of old, the modern AID worker is a highly indoctrinated fanatic.” [p. 370] And the question arose: Why?


            One of Aristotle’s puzzling assertions was that humans are political animals. One possible explanation of this puzzle is that humans seek being through politics. All humans seek being, but it is most commonly sought through politics, through political life. But what the fanatics – like some Christian missionaries, AID workers, CIA agents, politicians, or warriors – fail to  realize is that when it comes to accessing being, politics is a dead-end. Politics is in any and every form, whether it be monarchic, aristocratic, democratic, oligarchic, despotic, communistic, capitalistic, socialistic, is a dead-end. Even the best regime is a dead-end – except as a contemplative phenomenon. It is through imagination, through inspiration that humans have access to being, that is, to the truly beautiful, to the truly inspiring, to the genuinely spiritual, to genuine friendship, to love, to that which actually humanizes.

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