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riley

riley

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The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion
Melvin Lerner

Gray's Anatomy: Selected Writings

Gray's Anatomy: Selected Writings - John Nicholas Gray I am shocked to find that I mostly agree with Gray, despite having some major issues with his Black Mass. I do not consider myself to be conservative, merely pragmatic/prudent (although I do have a slight tory streak), so I find it odd to be on the same page with a man who regularly ridicules liberalism (I call myself a liberal). Gray is clearly far more liberal than many of the torys he claims to follow. He is in an odd position: he seeks to differentiate "true" conservatism from neo-conservatism (admirable) while trying to pretend that toryism has always been about individual liberty (totally not true). But Gray is a true conservative in the sense that, although he doesn't say it outright, he seems to truly believe that it was better in the past (most apparent in his over-the-top critique of modern medicine). As with all other conservatives, in that he is wrong. The past is not better, nor worse: there may be aspects that are preferable to now but there are also aspects that would have been unbearable to us (as he does admit). I find Gray valuable for his fierce if fairly unoriginal critique of western ideologies as secular religions (it has been done better and more rigorously by others) and particularly for his critique of capitalism, which takes a position that is new to me. Where I cannot tolerate him is in his near-apocalyptic environmentalism (I may agree with many of his ideas but I don't agree with the Gaia "hypothesis" - nor do most reputable scientists - and I think that claiming environmental problems will lead to an apocalypse is falling prey to the same religious impulses he accuses ideologies of being subject to) and in his critique of modern medicine. It is one thing to say that we go to far in trying to preserve lives that no longer have quality of life. It is quite another to claim that modern medicine is dehumanizing. That is like saying that paying taxes is "wage slavery" (another consevative piece of baloney). I must say that when my life was saved by doctors at age 18, I was in no way dehumanized. Quite the contrary.