This is a quote from Dave on Greg's post at Bloodhound.
"But, my general point is that “true believers” whether it of socialism, capitalism, democracy, or any other ism are always proved to be wrong because rigid ideology seems to require of them to think they are right and others are wrong and to give the others “evil” intent as you have done. There are some members of the environmental movement who fit this bill too, but I learned a long time ago to stay away from those folks because they were.. well boring… and ineffective at acomplishing goals. You might not agree with the goals of the environmental movement, nor its methods, but you do your movement no good by imputing evil in others who think differently.
And it is generally agreed in the movement that the biggest polluter is and has been the federal government. So there is room for agreement."
What is the opposite of a "true believer"? A false believer? A partial believer? Once something has been established with facts, one is justified in believing. The person using a relativist argument hardly ever really thinks all ideas are equally valid, this would be nonsense, but rather the person uses relativism as a technique to weaken the opponents argument in an attempt to have his argument prevail in spite of facts.
When up against an opponent armed with facts and evidence, the person who attempts to have his arument prevail on emotional appeal, because facts are against him, must place the opponent armed with facts and evidence in the light of "true believer", "zealot", "rigid" to create doubt. This never works because free thinkers can judge by the facts who is wrong and who is right.
Just by using the term "true believer" as a disparaging attack, the person using the relativist technique has admitted defeat. Otherwise the person would use facts of his own to show his idea is factually correct and that his opponent is factually incorrect. On matters of faith there is room for open disagreement where each side can present their articles of faith admitting they have no proof, yet maintaining they stand by this faith and recognize the other person's stance on their faith.
But on matters with historical evidence and facts used to decide the correct "belief", there is nothing wrong with this belief being believed truly. You believe it because it's proven to be true. It would be ridiculous to say here are the facts and historical evidence but I will only partially believe this to be true so that I don't become a true believer and offend your beliefs which aren't based on facts. No course of action could be taken toward progress if we could never decide something to be true based on facts and to truly believe in a correct, factually-sound way to proceed. To do otherwise is "evil" because it destroys reason and potentially puts humans at risk. We survive by the use of reason, not feel-good compromises that make us vulnerable to dangerous realities we should be combatting while fighting imaginary demons that waste our resources. Progress, by the use of reason, has taken us away from the wasted and dangerous practice of witch-hunting and fighting unsubstantiated evils cooked up by witch doctors to produce fear and maintain the witch doctor's power status. We can now judge the facts through scientific methods and the use of reason.
People living in fear of imagined dangers seek protection. What better way for political parties to build a power base than to be the compassionate protectors -- protection against foreigners, against evil corporations, against the rich and mighty, against pornographers, against baby-killers, against baby-savers, against dangerous ideas, against religious zealots, against "them", against gun-owners, against homophobes, against homosexuals, against white men, against minorities, whatever, left and right, the political parties love to protect and expand their voting base. They appeal to emotions, both base and noble, to spread fear of too much freedom. Too much freedom in their minds leads to chaos and losss of control -- it's in government's nature to control, it's what they do -- it's up to us to use reason and limit the government's control to what we actually need them to do -- protect the borders, police to protect innocent citizens from crime and decide disputes in courts of law.