The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

‘Ismism’ – The Silent Killer (of intelligence)

Are you into Feminism? Or Islamism? How about Atheism? Or Pacifism? Catholicism anyone?

I have decided that what I am into is Anti-Ismism. Let me explain.

Let’s say that I am a good, patriotic Australian who believes in the war on terror and the need to root out and destroy the pernicious influence of extreme Islamism around the world (this happens to be true). Knowing that, it would probably not surprise you to hear me say something like “Islam is a dangerous and repugnant cult that hates technology and women”. Many of you are possibly nodding in agreement as you read. Such a statement would fit neatly within a certain orthodoxy, and be a predictable and acceptable component of an easily recognisable belief system, or ‘Ism’. Such a statement is also galactically stupid, mostly incorrect and breathtakingly ignorant. It is, in fact, just as stupid and ignorant as the statement: “Islam is a religion of peace that does not accept violence or the mistreatment of women.” Once again, easily recognisable, predictable and commonplace as a component of a different “Ism”.

So neither of these statements is true, yet to engage in dialogue on the issue, it seems necessary to espouse either one view or the other. It seems that the many shades of truth – its uncomfortable and intellectually taxing ambiguity – can be easily sidestepped by simply adopting the pre-fabricated armour of an “Ism”. Once we have plumped for one side or the other, we can do away with the melancholy and laborious business of independent thought and simply rifle through the Daily Telegraph or The Australian’s grab bag of stock phrases, stock factlets and stock opinions in order to meaningfully participate in political or social debate.

It always used to confuse me the way that sane, intelligent and articulate people could so consistently and frequently broadcast the same mindless, ill-considered points of view, only to be genuinely surprised when thirty five seconds of close examination brings the whole sandcastle of thoughtless generalisation crashing to the ground. I now know that it is the result not of blindness, or ignorance, or defective mental process. It arises wholly and solely from the comfortable laziness of Ismism.

Find a viewpoint that closely matches what you think you should feel, making careful note of how this viewpoint matches your friends, socio-economic status and wardrobe, and then simply adopt, adorn and parrot any data that issues from the aphorism factories appropriate to your chosen Ism.

Just don’t be surprised if, when doing this in front of me, I stab you in the eye with a pencil. As an Anti-Ismist, this will be my orthodox way of expressing the statement: “If you’re not going to use your brain for thinking, you may as well make yourself useful and store my stationery.”

Category: Asinine


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