Saturday, April 09, 2005

State Dogma

Mikey comments on my last post:
I did find the "sacred tenet" phrase ironic. But I thought it was the Times trying to be clever in the lead in to the story.

And good point in your last comment about dogmatic states. (Is "dogmatic state" just as ironic as "sacred government tenet"?)
I'm not sure if the irony is as strong, but if the state is chronically dogmatic - meaning that it refuses to offer logical rationale for policy - then it is surely tyrannous.

A clear example of this would be the federal crusade (led by the Bush Justice Department - grrr, grrr...) against medical marijuana use. The scientific and historical evidence is clear - marijuana has medicinal uses. You can argue about side affects, the deleterious impact to society and the like, but to claim that it is not efficacious in reducing nausea and increasing appetite (I can attest to that) for chemotherapy patients is dogmatic to say the least.

On the other hand, those opposing government policy, such as the war on Islamo-Fascism, will cynically argue that the policy is dogmatic. This argument is typically a product of... wait for it... dogma. Unable to effectively construct an argument based on facts, they reach for dogmatic slogans like "War is not the answer."

So - and I'm not claiming that Mikey was suggesting this - dogma is not limited to church and state. All human institutions employ it to one extent or another. It's up to the individual to develop one's own "dogma detector" and filter it - or not - depending upon one's own personal experience, beliefs and tastes.

And on the individual level, these internal dialogues lead to the development of one's own personal... dogma.


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