(This is the first post in a series that will discuss conservatism, fundamentalism and fundamentalist fallacies.)
Despite what Christian fundamentalists claim about literal truth written in the bible, there is no such thing as a singular, objectively correct meaning of a narrative or a text. The meaning of narrative always emerges from a subjective, interpretative process, whether or not the interpreter recognizes that an interpretive process is involved. The belief that unitary, 'objective' meanings of narrative are even possible is at the heart of the fundamentalist fallacy. The defensive naïveté behind that fallacy renders the fundamentalist blind to the profound significance of subjectivity, connotation, subtext and symbolism.
While such blindness is not confined to religious fundamentalists and conservatives, what distinguishes these types from the rest is that they boastfully advocate for myopic certainty as if it is a virtue. They exalt the simplistic, the immediate and obvious over the nuanced and subtle perception that can only emerge with, non-defensive observation and consideration.
Recently, in a shameless display of primitive arrogance, we were reminded of the Vice President's running joke about John Kerry’s ‘nuance,’ as if nuance were a vice of the stupid. Mocking Kerry for 'botching a joke', Mr. Cheney bellowed oafishly: 'I guess we didn't get the nuance,' drawing cheers from the subtlety-impaired crowd gathered for a pre-election pep rally.
It’s not that I care about any offense to Senator Kerry. Rather, I am deeply offended by one of the most powerful men on the planet proudly exhibiting his visceral disdain for subtlety and nuance. Such disdain has had grave consequences for millions of human beings. And, to think, Mrs. Cheney holds a doctorate in literature and was once the chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Shame on the Cheneys — he for his blind thuggery and she for her mercenary embrace of blind thuggery, inspite of having been graced with every imaginable opportunity to choose depth and refinement over thuggery.