The Cold War has been over, or so we’re told, for over a dozen years now. Why then is it that our political discourse sometimes still sounds like Marx vs. Gladstone? Eric S. Raymond examines the history of ideological warfare, from its roots in the Cold War, to the modern manifestation in the seeming clash of civilizations between Islam and the West.
The essay does wax a bit … pretentious, if I may. But all the name-dropping (in terms of philosophers, writers, and memes) is exactly the sort that ivory tower types might be most excited by.
The essay also seems to adopt what Richard Hofstadter has called the “paranoid style”. Now, I’m not big on conspiracy theory or religion, which share some traits. Still, the temptation to adopt conspiracy theory is a basic human impulse, and in this vein, one could do worse than to read what Raymond has to say. You don’t have to agree with his conclusions, but what he states should be interesting, and a thought-provoking examination of the source of your beliefs.
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]