Monday, July 2, 2012

Tired of Zealots

tragicprelude_JohnBrown

This is the image of John Brown the revolutionary abolitionist, the violent crusader against slavery.  He led much of the battle in Bloody Kansas in the 1850’s when it was being decided whether Kansas would enter the Union as a Free State or a Slave State.  Many historians feel that Brown’s actions and his failed raid on Harper’s Ferry had more to do with the start of the Civil War than the Lincoln-Douglas debates.  He was soon hanged and is seen as America’s first domestic terrorist.

The above painting is hanging in the Kansas state capitol building.  I’ve seen it there in Topeka.  The Kansas Governor recently pointed to it and to Brown as an example of great individual initiative founded on principle.

You can tell it is Kansas by the tornado in the background.  That is always a dead giveaway.  But, look at John Brown’s face and eyes!  His cause is great, his methods effective – and he is crazy as a loon.

I’ll be damned if I’d want to have anything to do with the nutcase.  Zealots are a pure pain in the patoot and they will distort any argument they join, but you have to give them their due.  They will win an argument or a battle just by willingness to commit anything to the cause, even the bodies, minds and hearts of their fellow man.

I wonder: Is it possible to make that level of commitment to sanity?  The great American lab experiment is trying to figure that out.

12 comments:

  1. Zealots and their isms have no room for any view but their own. Many if not most religions are the same. No room for rational thought - only blind faith and obedience. I'd suggest it's not the faith that is blind in such a circumstance.

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    1. Agreed. Besides, the essence of true faith in anything is the willingness to question without fear of the answer.

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  2. Zealots tend to ruin a good debate. I know one and avoid conversation other than the weather.
    Blessings - Maxi

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    1. You got that one right Maxi - but unlike you I tend to tweak 'em - must be my combative nature.

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    2. I have a couple in my life that I avoid, too, Maxi. Shame, because they are bright individuals and some of what they offer is enlightening. The zealotry makes it too negative as a whole, though.

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  3. Looking at John Brown I can almost hear him bellow and am reminded of a certain Rev Ian Paisley of these parts!

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    1. GM, I can definitely see the resemblance.

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  4. Hey, you are talking about my great-great-uncle there (my maternal grandfather's mother's (Ann Brown) uncle! But he was definitely a nutcase.

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    1. They are scattered through the countryside, Roni.

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    2. Wait a second. I just realized how impressive it is to be descended - kind of sideways - from Uncle John! I'm glad to say I've NEVER seen that look in your eyes.

      I also just realized what an oxymoron Civil War is.

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