It’s that it’s an impassioned plea to jettison everything about religion immediately, because institutions don’t matter and only raw truth-seeking is important.
If I imagine myself entering that debate today, I’d be more likely to take the opposite side. Ask me what changed my mind, and I’ll shrug, tell you that I guess my priorities shifted.
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It’s not just that it’s badly written, or that it uses an ill-advised Nazi analogy.
I could model this as two different processes – a real wisdom-related process that ends exactly where I am now, plus a false rose-colored-glasses-related process that ends with your crotchety great-uncle talking about how things have been going downhill since the war – but that’s a lot of special pleading.
I remember when I was twenty, I thought the only reason adults were less utopian than I was, was because of their hidebound rose-colored self-serving biases.
But traumatize someone enough and they’ll reliably pick up some new cognitive styles; it’s much easier to give someone hypervigilance than it is to cure them.
Imagine someone reading enough newspapers that they hear all of the worst and scariest things, and maybe start thinking that the country is 50% Nazis and 50% violent antifa.
Is the resulting pessimism and paranoia really wisdom?