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It is a big news day. As I write this blog, the Impeachment Vote is being carried out in the United States House of Representatives. It is a radical action; an action that seeks the root intention of the American constitutional writers, a few centuries ago.
Earlier I had heard the rationale of the Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, on China’s treatment of the Uighurs. What it is about is so-called, ‘de-radicalisation’. Since 2001 there has been the political rhetoric on the dangers of being radical. Tragically, for clear thinking, the language is twisted in knots. The problems or challenges of those who threaten violence are not radicalisation. It is a problem of violence, along with the challenges from persecution, statism, and fear-driven politics, on all sides.
One has to ask the historical question: Where does the modern thinking on tolerance, freedom from persecution, and the capacity to live with a diversity of religious and secular thought and practice, come from? It comes from the Radical Reformation (Erozain 2016; Williams 2000, see references below). It was the arguments of radicals, those who asked what the actual root beliefs of Jesus were in ‘our’ Christian religion. It was radical, unapologetically radical, best exemplified by Sebastian Castellio (1515-1563), and to where ‘the enemy’ (if such language is needed) are those who fear radical change from conventional religion and conventional statism.
We are living in radical times, but in times where statism is flexing its muscles in the despairing attempt to avoid necessary change for our own human survival. And it is the political rhetoric on the ‘radical’ which is being used by the ultra-conservative players to whip up the unthinking hysteria of the populous to prevent such change. President Trump on the ‘radical left.’ The Chinese leaders on the ‘radicalisation’ of the Uighurs. For those who have never had the opportunity to study history, politics, and philosophy widely and deeply, I say, “Wake Up, and READ scholarly works, not the propaganda of social media on all sides.” This is what overcomes fear, UNDERSTANDING.
Erdozain, Dominic. The Soul of Doubt: The Religious Roots of Unbelief From Luther to Marx, Oxford University Press, 2016.
Williams, George H. The Radical Reformation, Truman State University Press, 2000.