This little post about Deepak Chopra isn't going to be as impeccable and memorable as Dr. Ed Peters' post about Maureen Dowd (Note his restraint: "With a predictability that borders on banality". Borders?).
But I confess that I have certain and pointed dislike for the writing and "thought" of Chopra, who I consider to be only about a half-step up from a con artist, although it could be that he has simply taken con artistry to a New (Age) level. His book, The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore, is quite possibly the most embarrassing, confused, illogical, and ignorant "serious" book ever written about Jesus, which is really saying something.
That same book contains some slanderous comments about orthodox Christians and their political activities, including his outrageous statement that a certain Christian law student who spoke of her belief in "absolute truth" is very much like the mentality of an Islamic terrorist: "Does she see how closely she echoes the ideology of the jihadies, for whom truth is so absolute and God-given that they gladly strap themselves to suicide bombs? ... Once war becomes a clash of absolutes, there is no breathing room for mercy. Absolute truth is blind truth." (p. 229). As I wrote in my lengthy essay review of Chopra's book:
Dare I ask: Is that statement absolutely true? Because if it is, it's blind truth. And if it isn't, then it isn't true. And so it goes. Put simply, Chopra's arrogance is matched only by his stunningly gross illogic. And hypocrisy: "The point isn't to judge the religious right. Not only would such behavior not be enlightened, it would be totally counterproductive as a strategy." (232)
Fast forward to Chopra's June 16th column, "Sarah Palin, My President", on the Huff-and-Puff Post site, which has all of the usual characteristics of Chopraology: incoherent thought, vicious attacks, condescension, unfunny attempts at cleverness, and wild accusations about the potential actions of those he disagrees with. Consider this nugget, keeping in mind that Chopra has said judging the religious right would be unenlightened:
My President Palin would lead us through a national cleansing, like Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. Nothing as violent, however, not at first. Maybe she might let school kids scribble with crayons on the paintings in the Museum of Modern Art. I've never met a soccer mom who wanted a Picasso refrigerator magnet. Or she might close all the high-brow music schools and inaugurate the kind of music that gosh darn real Americans like: harmonica, the musical saw, and tapping your foot to the radio while driving a pickup. What more do we really need?
Andrew Jackson's inauguration in 1828 was disrupted when a mob burst into the White House, tracking in mud, breaking the china, and eventually turning the lawn into a drinking bout. Sarah has the style to make this an official event. The Jackson mob dropped so much cheese on the floor that it ruined the White House carpets, so my advice is for Sarah to skip the buffalo wings and hand out beer bongs. (emphasis added)
Oh, sure, I get it: all is fair in politics and there is lots of name-calling and nastiness on right-wing talk radio. But the comments above are still a bit surprising, even to those of us familiar with Chopra's many confused rants about issues political and cultural. After all, last time I checked, Sarah Palin wasn't even a working politician or a political candidate; nor does it seem likely that a woman who refused to abort a baby with Down's Syndrome is interested in somehow killing millions of Americans who disagree with her beliefs (estimates vary, but Mao was responsible for the murder of some 40 million Chinese, perhaps many more). And, really, what was the point of Chopra's essay/rant?
My partial take is that this is the product of an angry elitist whose disdain for ordinary Americans, conservative Christians, and people with convervative political beliefs is overt and obvious, in direct inverse proportion to being coherent and thoughtful. And the New Age movement, although not a cohesive body of beliefs, seems to produce a similar elitism, one that talks constantly of being "enlightened" but then argues at an elementary school level (my apologies to children everywhere). After all, it only takes fifteen seconds to explose the logical fallacies of one of Chopra's central beliefs: