Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Historical Inevitability: Idol Worship

You know what drives me crazy? Arguments like this:

"This is the inevitable cycle of history running its course, yet again."

Or this:

"I can predict how things will look in twenty years: gay marriage will be completely legal... it’s inevitable."

Or this:

"They have no sense of historicity... Get on the right side of history."


I find it funny that in a nation that has all but embraced secularism, so many politicians, reporters and academics resort to a mystifying deification of history to defend their arguments. Whenever I see prophecies like the above quotes, I imagine something like this:

"The Judeo-Christian God is dead, but fear not! We have replaced him with the knowable God of history! In the coming days he will judge the world, and woe unto them who shall be found on his left side!"

Maybe gay marriage will be universally legal, but relying on the God of History to defend one's contextual advantage is little more than bullying. For those making these arguments, come on. Everyone knows that the only inevitable things in life are death and taxes. Furthermore, whatever happened to the investor's warning that "past performance is no indicator of future results?"

The only way that the future is "inevitable" is if people make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we truly value rationality, then let's hear it, and stop with the idol worship.

*I understand that individuals and groups opposing gay marriage also draw on religion to justify their arguments, but there are acceptably rational arguments too.

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