Monday, November 10, 2008

The Power "Family" of the Religious Right

A fascinating and disturbing interview in Guernica with religion journalist Jeff Sharlett.
One of the most interesting things about anti-intellectualism in American life is that it’s a very intellectual project. Real anti-intellectualism, the Family kind, you know, “Jesus plus nothing,” the systematic stripping away of history, of theology, of any kind of influence—that’s an intellectual project. Not for nothing does Doug Coe express some admiration for Pol Pot. In year zero, he did the same thing. Pol Pot had all the intellectuals killed. You only do that if you have an idea. That’s an extreme form of ideology that says: I can purify things.

There are two great traditions that have been written about before, which are American rationalism and American sentimentalism. What you see in the Family’s expression of power is that these are not two opposite poles, but the head and heart, the realpolitik of world power. The sentimental narrative, which is anti-intellectual—is absolutely interwoven with the rationalist Family agenda.


jenhargis said...
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jenhargis said...

The Parable of the Talents is not a difficult parable. Sharlet misrepresents the parable, so perhaps it is difficult for HIM. However, he is correct in saying that it does not apply to capitalism, but rather to faith.

I don't really think Sharlet has all his feces amalgamated, despite being clearly intelligent. I do appreciate him casting light on the Family, having never heard of them before, but to say that their theology breaks from the Christian right only ("only" being implied, not stated outright) at the point that they believe obedience is the most important thing is incorrect, in light of the fact that the Christian right does not support the theories or practices of Hitler.

I realize that he wants us to buy his book, but I have a real problem grasping that anyone would embrace Hitler, so I would have really liked to see some quotes, actual words, from the mouths of the Family members regarding this, because the closest thing that comes to a quote is not in quotation marks.

This "Family" sounds pretty creepy and on the threshhold of dangerous, a bit of a Mystic Slugworth to the powers that be.