After Mr. Aristide, at the time a Catholic priest of the Order of the Salesians, got dressed for the momentous meeting with Mr. Clinton, “Sister Anne”–that’s Anne Auguste, his personal voodoo priestess–went into a trance. She took both hands of the president as she invoked her gods for “the boy,” before she dispatched him to the White House. After she blew a mist of an alcohol-laced solution in his face, she said: “Go now, my boy, you are ready.” A former Aristide supporter who was in attendance at the ceremony that day said, “Most of those present believed that the voodoo tricks of Sister Anne would have an effect on determining President Clinton’s attitude toward their chief. So far they think they were right.” … [Raymond Joseph, New York Sun, 4/18/03]

Joseph still doesn’t get it, though: “However, the question remains in the mind of many: Does voodoo really work? To which a philosopher responds: Perception is more important than reality.”

Which philosopher is that, and what evidence is there to support that claim?

No, Mr. Joseph, reality ultimately governs perception. That’s why there’s a difference between honesty and dishonesty; all the dishonest people in the world are impotent to make one lie true. All the fantasy of Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf couldn’t create an alternate reality or keep American tanks from rolling into Baghdad. The only thing that gives the witch doctors power is the willingness of others to play along, or, like Mr. Joseph, to play along with those who play along.

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