Because there is increasing evidence that America has entered one of those unfortunate periods, when public affairs become increasingly impacted by the frantic pursuits of single issue enthusiasts--men & women, tragically, but totally, lacking in any concept of context or perspective--we have launched this section as a basic resource for students at Truth Based Logic. Here, we offer articles exploring various facets & aspects, from different perspectives, on fanaticism and the mind of the fanatic. Since we have previously posted a number of articles, which would serve that purpose, we have included links to some of them, following this introduction. For clarification, we have indicated which items were posted, contemporaneous with this section, and which were previously in our data banks. The latter will also remain on the other menus, where they presently appear.
Please note, that much of this material will have been authored by other writers, now deceased, including Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, James A. Reed, Eric Hoffer, etc.. While we are in at least substantial agreement with each selection, offered, we do not accept every proposition advanced by these writers--certainly not unequivocally. Our purpose, in this section, is to stimulate thought, not propound a counter dogma; to focus attention on some of the indices of the fanatic mindset, to the end that individual Conservatives may be better prepared to recognize, contain and resist such demands for uniformity of thought, whenever and wherever that mindset raises its ugly & destructive head.
Remember, it is not necessary for a fanatic's cause to be wrong, in itself, for fanaticism to be destructive. Fanaticism, indeed, discredits its own causes even as it disrupts the social tranquility of a people. We are not considering ultimate ends, here, nor dedicated people, with merely strong opinions. We encourage dedication. We encourage firm convictions--but only ones based upon reason & experience. The fanatic, as we use the term, displays an intolerant but myopic fervor--with sense neither of proportion nor of normal social priorities. For his cause of the moment, his weapons are usually cant & slogan, not reasoned argument. Yet, make no mistake, he may be quite prepared to lie and cheat; to undermine the social values and destroy the traditional institutions of his own society; to sacrifice friends and family. His is a distortion of reality, which may appeal to the hysteria of other fanatics--and to those who seek fulfillment in group identification--but never to the higher cognitive processes of more ordered intellects.
Please note, also, that while we started out with only twelve pieces, besides this introduction, we have clearly expanded on that. Eight of the original pieces were specifically directed at aspects of fanaticism, while four dealt with allied forms of compulsion. Of the eight original items, more directly relevant, two of these were new, exclusive to this section. Of the next six, one was the May, 2005 Feature on the Terry Schiavo case. The remaining five had long been available. Again, the selections, offered here, have been chosen to illustrate different facets of the fanatic personality and focus. They are in no way limited to a particular class of issues, nor a particular species of fanatic, nor to a particular era or generation. We will continue to add new materials on fanatics and fanaticism, as time permits.