A Pagan's Blog

A Pagan's Blog


Dissolving America: The Treason of the Right

posted by Gus diZerega

In the past year there have been many murderous terrorist attacks in the United States, and all have been from the radical right. Jim Adkisson killed two Unitarian church members and wounded others because they were “liberals.” Kieth Luke, a neo-Nazi, conducted a rape and murder spree after Obama was inaugurated.  Right winger Richard Poplawski murdered several deputies in a ambush killing.  Then Joshua Cartwright, similarly worried that Obama was president and might take away his guns, killed two other deputies in Florida.    George Tiller’s murder was only the most recent in a long list of murders by “pro-life” monsters. And I imagine everyone knows the most recent act of right wing terrorism: James Von Brunn’s cold blooded murder of Stephen T. Jones at the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

About the only non-rightwinger involved in terrorism was a Muslim convert  Carlos “Corey” Bledsoe, now Abdulhakid Mujahid Mohammed,  who allegedly shot and killed Army Pvt. William Long and wounded another soldier outside
a Little Rock, Ark., mall. 

Some of us, myself included, have argued that most of this blood also lies on the hands and tongues of men and women like Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Michele Malkin.  They are the moral monsters who create and constantly reinforce a emotional and intellectual climate where others create bloodshed and terror.  But there is a problem here even deeper than murder.



Our identity as a nation is not innate, a fact of nature and biology.  Instead our identity as Americans is a cultural construct.  Like all cultural constructs, it must continually be recreated through the activities of people who regard themselves as Americans.  

More than other nations, our national identity is rooted in ideas incorporated into our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  Unlike most European nations we are not primarily an ethnic group or former tribe.  We do not share a history extending back into the distant past.  We are a people who came together to make a vision of a free society real.  This vision has never been fully realized, and the Dixie explicitly repudiated it before the Civil War, but its promise has remained our strongest source of national unity and hope for the future.  As a country, our most important reforms and achievements have been in its name, our greatest failings when we failed to live up to it.

Like termites, the right wing media has been gradually eating away at this moral and intellectual heritage for decades.  They have been teaching that other identities are more important than being an American: “Christian,” conservative, white, and so on.  In doing so they have constantly taught that Americans who do not meet their tribalistic standards are inferior.

No greater treason is possible than that of undermining the bonds of peace and respect that hold a society together, substituting hatred, distrust, fear, and violence in its place.

The traitors of the right hide their treason against our nation by constantly talking about patriotism – the same way the communists talked about worker self rule while destroying it or Republican politicians praise “bipartisanship” while violating it at every opportunity. By reversing the meaning of words and destroying dialogue  they make public debate impossible, and reduce it to yelling and shoving. 

I fear we have seen only a taste of their bestiality.  Much more will come.



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Gus diZerega

posted June 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm


I found a quote by C. S. Lewis from his book “Mere Christianity” that helps us remember there are civilized people coming from many perspectives – and all civilized people are repelled by what now dominates the right wing media. Here are Lewis’s words:
“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything—God and our friends and ourselves included—as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.” (Mere Christianity)
With thanks to Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings.
http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2009/06/fighting-words.html



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New Age Cowboy

posted June 13, 2009 at 5:07 pm


C.S. Lewis wrote about his sympathies for a Royal Air Force member who found God outside orthodoxy in “Mere Christianity”. Just wait til the religious right actually reads Mr. Lewis’ works – they’ll anathematize him too.
I grew up Evangelical. I am very familiar with the Bible. I believe that many of the biblical writers were inspired. I also believe that the right in this country is very similar to the phenomena of anti-Christ: no charity, no humility, no urge for peace, etc.
Do I advocate violence against them? Hell no!
Any person half-way in touch with reality can see the nonsense in their reasoning.
Having grown up in a family of Evangelicals, I find that loving them individually helps. When an Evangelical is involved in the more mundane details of life, they’re not necessarily thinking dogma. Meet them where you can.
My Evangelical father actually accepts my lesbian sibling and those with whom she associates.
Collectively, they are a huge threat to very survival of the human race. The only thing I can think to do is to be with each and everyone, one-on-one.
Believe me, growing up in the Evangelical movement was a complete mind-f@!k. I know that this phenomena sucks. But, in my heart, I think love is the only thing that will see us through.



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Kathy

posted June 13, 2009 at 5:40 pm


Didn’t the cops find books by Ann Coulter and her ilk in Adkisson’s apartment after the murders?



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Ali

posted June 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm


Gus, I completely agree with you about the nature of the Right Wing media giants sharing the ethical, social responsibility for these latest tragedies (it goes without saying, of course, that every thoughtful, grounded human being ought to be able to see through their bullsh*t and not give way to hate, let alone acts of violence, so we cannot place all the blame on them). I can empathize with your anger and disgust.
On the other hand, I think it’s important that we not demonize these men (for they are mostly men), or we run the risk of stepping into their shoes. I doubt any of your readers would take your words as a suggestion that O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity or any of the others be gunned down on their way home from work one night, and that you would be horrified if something like that happened. But trying to stir up outrage against “traitors” in the name of “real America”…? That language is so easily manipulated to serve almost any end.
I very much like the C.S. Lewis quote that you added in the comments. He is absolutely right, and so I think what we really need to be doing–rather than railing against media-enemies and focusing on their “black-ness”–is to learn how to bring goodness, honor, freedom and peace to light. We can’t beat these old angry white men at their own game, so instead we need to render them irrelevant. We need to cultivate a truly nurturing and free community in this country, in which rants of hate and fear fall on deaf ears.



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The Dissident

posted June 13, 2009 at 11:15 pm


Don’t take this the wrong way Gus,(I’m not trying to be disrespectful) but- It seems that calling our opponents “Monsters” or beastly isn’t really helpful either. I think we can all agree that what they do is deeply ignorant and wrong, and yet we also have to try harder to keep from demonizing the other side.
Jon Stewart could be a great example here, he can call people out for their ease with the truth to their face and still after the interview, shake their hands and joke with them.
What I wouldn’t give to have his powers of debating humorously without that feeling of having my back to the wall in a blood feud…



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Patchouli Sky

posted June 14, 2009 at 9:41 am


I can easily see The Dissident’s point of view. However, it seems to me that while Jon Stewart does a fine job of pointing out the extremism tactics of the right wing media, they continue on. In fact, having viewed O’Reilly’s latest ranting toward Joan Walsh (catch that on Huffington Post), it seems he is ramping up the rhetoric.
The other day Shepard Smith, a Fox News anchor, spoke about their email getting more and more “frightening”. How ironic, given that their telecasts give rise to that mindset.
Just my opinion, but I think that these media folks who continue to contribute to the extremist mentality need to be called on the carpet at every turn. They know the power that they have, and are intelligent enough to know the power of their words.



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Vesta

posted June 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm


I like the idea of defining the identity of America as a social construct. In a moment of synchronicity for me, CBS Sunday Morning had a feature today on the U.S. flag in which they pointed out that we don’t come from one tribe or have a common religion, so the flag as a symbol is more important to us as a nation than other flags perhaps are to their countries, hence our preoccupation with disrespecting “Old Glory” to an extent hard to visualize with any other flag. Try it with the Union Jack or the Tricolor. One cannot imagine another country getting that worked up, because their people have other identifying unities. In my opinion. I tied this into another of today’s posts, the one on idols: I think right wingers go too far with flag hysteria, and that they are confusing the menu with the food, the map with the territory. In the words of one of my tradition’s rituals, “the symbol is nothing — the reality is all.”



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Anton C.

posted June 15, 2009 at 7:16 pm


Let ‘em have it with both barrels, Gus! I find Ann Coulter, Dick Cheney and Michael Savage to be worse than the FoxNews bunch. At least there are some (some) checks and balances on FoxNews. Anywhere else, it is anything goes.



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Anne Johnson

posted June 16, 2009 at 9:11 am


I think the reason we’re seeing heightened rhetoric from the conservative movement now is because it took a drubbing in the most recent election. As a previous commenter said, thoughtful people can see through this extreme hatred on both sides … because in his own way, Keith Olbermann is just as nasty, just a little more intellectual about it.
I am very concerned about the domestic terrorism. I was worried that it would escalate if Obama became president. I’m sure that, very quietly, the domestic surveillance techniques that were instituted during the Bush years will continue indefinitely.



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Troy Camplin

posted June 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm


Now, you know that Nazis and neo-Nazis are collectivists, putting them in the same camp as socialists, communists, etc. I would like to see a more sustained attack on all kinds of collectivism, whether from the Right or from the Left. Both produce horrible evils. Also, there’s not much of a real Right in this country, either. We have our terms quite confused in this country, with our “conservatives” having elements of classical liberalism and Right-wing politics and conservatism in the sense of not wanting anything to change, and our “liberals” giving at least lip service to classical liberalism in social areas, Leftism, and progressivism. Until Obama, there wasn’t really much of a real Left in this country, either. Collectivism is the great evil in the world, turning people into members of groups rather than individuals who we can and should judge on their own merits. In the end, there is no substantive difference between a Right-wing collectivist and a Left-wing collectivist except which groups they want to give preference for and which groups they want to annihilate.



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Gus diZerega

posted June 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm


Troy wants to transfer this issue to an argument about “collectivism.” But it is irrelevant to my post.
Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and the others I criticized may or may not be collectivists. I suspect at bottom they and those like them simply have a felt need to dominate others. Or perhaps to get rich and famous by sowing hate and discord. We do not have to dignify what they do by suggesting it has a principled foundation.
But Troy raises an interesting issue, although in a way I think is fundamentally mistaken. For it is true that white racists commit their crimes out of some garbled moral vision, even if those who egged them on had none.
For those readers unfamiliar with Troy’s terms, ‘collectivism’ simply means that someone regards some collective or group as more morally important than individuals, and therefore can sacrifice individuals in its name. Left wing collectivism is largely but not entirely Marxist in origin and usually focuses on “humanity” or the “working class.” Right wing collectivism is racist or based on caste, status groups, or some other group lording it over others. Nationalism can take both forms.
Basically, left-wing collectivism will sacrifice individuals in the name of emancipation for all at some time such as the ‘withering away of the State.” Right-wing collectivism sacrifices individuals to maintain or achieve relations of domination that ideally will last forever – Hitler’s 1000 Year Reich, and all that.
With this clarification, there is a big difference between right wing and left wing collectivism, though I think both are mistaken.
Left-wing collectivism justifies its views on ending exploitation. To end it, once in power, left-wing collectivists create violent oppressive regimes IN THE NAME OF MAKING WHAT THEY DO NO LONGER NECESSARY. The dead are just as dead, and the regimes never ‘wither away,’ but the justification that led many to initially support left-wing collectivists was a liberating one.
Right wing collectivists explicitly and fundamentally depend on maintaining relations of domination between some group on top and everyone else. This means they have no problem killing those they oppose when they think it useful. And kill them they do. Right wing violence in this country utterly dwarfs left-wing violence. Even in the 60s this was true.
I think this is why so many left-wing collectivists abandon left-wing regimes when they become obviously exploitive with no evidence they will change whereas hardly any right wingers do the same. Right wing collectivist regimes are doing what they were supposed to do: keep the inferior types down. Hardly any Marxist defends the former Communist world, plenty of right wing collectivists defend Hitler, the Confederacy, or apartheid South Africa.
We have NO left-wing collectivist danger in this country and we have a substantial right-wing one.



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Troy Camplin

posted June 17, 2009 at 8:34 pm


I hope you’re right with the last statement, but considering how much more murderous the Left has been historically than the Right, I won’t be throwing my hat in with them any more than I will with the Right. Collectivism is collectivism as far as I’m concerned. Same outcome. Same evil.



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Sissy

posted June 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm


“considering how much more murderous the Left has been historically than the Right”
Yeah. If you look at Stalin and Mao, sure. But who is committing the domestic terrorism here at home? Are you really comparing the Weather Underground’s bombings to Oklahoma City? I think the right won that competition. Have pro-choice folks made posters of Terry Randall calling for his death?
Why so reluctant to call out the right on it’s wrongs — wrongs that are taking place NOW? Why give them a pass because, in your opinion, the left has been as bad or worse in other places at other times??



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Gus diZerega

posted June 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm


Good call, Sissy.Fiting on all cylinders.
Also – it is 100% ABSURD to say “the left” or “the right” is collectivist as such. That utterly muddles clear thinking. Utterly. Their tendency to do this or similar inanities is why I no longer enjoy discussing ideas with most people on the right. They are the sloppiest thinkers I have ever encountered in my life. Well, MAYBE except for some New Agers…
There are left collectivists and right collectivists and religious collectivists – and probably other kinds as well.
But there are also leftists, rightists, and those who are religious with little interest in left or right who are NOT collectivists. In this country very few on the left are collectivists – and neither are many on the right or who are religious and uninterested in left/right issues.
To call the left ‘collectivist’ is simply a way to avoid dealing with their arguments by making an ad hominem classification. To go from “left” to “left is collectivist” to “left is collectivist and so is like the Nazis or fascists or communists” is to leave the world of rational discourse. One has become like Jonah Goldberg



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Troy Camplin

posted June 21, 2009 at 5:32 pm


Wasn’t it Hayek who said that national socialism — Nazism — is what you get when it becomes clear that Left-socialism is a failure? Also, I said that I don’t care for either the Right or the Left. To accuse me of being on the Right or of supporting the Right after all I have written is, well, sloppy reading.
Please enlighten me about Left-individualism, because it is something I have never heard of before. From what I have ever read, Leftism, beginning with its origins in the French Revolution, was collectivist in nature. Every Leftist I have ever met — present company excepted — was a collectivist. Please point me to who I should read and give me examples of truly individualistic Leftist thinkers. It seems to me, though, that if Leftism isn’t collectivist, then it really loses its identity as Leftism. Maybe it becomes something else. The same with the Right, which tends to be collectivist in a right hierarchy — royalist, if we go back to its origins. Since you are claiming there can be a truly individualistic Leftism, perhaps it would be helpful if you did a post outlining your basic political ideology. That would help me, at least, understand what it is you are talking about with Left-individualism, since I don’t have a clue as to what it is, having never read about it or encountered it.



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Gus diZerega

posted June 21, 2009 at 6:06 pm


Peter Kropotkin was a left anarchist, and hardly a collectivist. The ACLU consistently argues for the individual right to do all sorts of objectionable things. Most people who support single payer health care, such as myself, do so because it has been proven on balance to contribute to individual well-being. Almost any left-liberal in the United States today would qualify as a non-collectivist. I say ‘almost’ because perhaps somewhere there is someone using that name who does not. I just do not know who it might be.
Some people bring up the affirmative action bugbear as ‘collectivism.’ But AA can and in the US usually is justified in individualistic terms. Groups can be compensated from a non-collectivist standpoint – if the logic is to reduce or compensate for the harm done to individuals. For another example, think of class action suits and damages. Whether you or I or anyone else agrees with a policy that compensates members of a group for harm done to them is irrelevant as to whether the approach is collectivist.
Collectivists sacrifice individuals in the name of the group and to further the interests of the group. Could be a race, a social class, a religion, a nationality. At its core, collectivists think of individuals simply as resources who are more or less valuable insofar as they contribute to the group’s well being.
The core problem with collectivism, besides its amorality, is that we are all usually powerfully defined in our own eyes and in the eyes of others by our membership in many groups. I am a white middle class male Pagan American of the 60s generation for example. Think of that Yevtushenko poem I posted during poetry week. We each combine our group identites and individual experiences in unique ways. So no single group in this list has absolute precedence for me.
So when two people each arguing that one of these groups should have absolute precedence in determining my value for ‘society,’ the result in politics is violence or war.
Collectivism is the logic of membership in an organization taken to an extreme.
I identified you as being on the right because when everyone you claim who is a left-liberal you claim to be a ‘collectivist,’ well, that is a right wing slur. Nothing more. So long as you continue to see ‘collectivists’ everywhere you see left-liberals, you will be unable to understand what they are saying. I mean that very very seriously.



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Troy Camplin

posted June 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm


Affirmative action may not have started as specifically collectivist in nature, but it has turned into such a program. It was also a program started by Richard Nixon, for whatever it’s worth.
I tend to take a look at what people say rather than what they say they say, to look at the actual consequences of their beliefs. Yes, there are lots of people on the Left claiming to be individualists, and in the false sense identified by Hayek, they are, but if you look at the actual outcomes of what they support, we come back to collectivism. The Left in this country is primarily coalitional in nature — there is a tendency to support the rights of lots of little groups over the majority, creating a majority from that coalition. We sometimes see that coalition blow up in the Left’s face: African-Americans and Hispanics opposing gay rights initiatives, for example. Thus, I see something more like strategic collectivism — or, more accurately, postmodern collectivism — where we are not talking about all people in one group, but small groups. It makes the movement no less collectivist, just not on the grand scale of the 20th century.
I’ve always found anarchosocialism to be an oxymoron, but that’s another discussion.
But let me ask you something, since you brought up the ACLU. I am in favor of gay rights, including gay marriage and their serving openly in the military; I am in favor of drug legalization; I am in favor of preventing the federal government from passing anti-abortion laws; I am in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants and for a worker program that people can sign up for on this side of the border so that they can work to feed their families; I am against the death penalty in all cases; I am against torture of any kind; I am for legalizing prostitution. I’m sure, given time, I could think of more. Now, I would argue that my support for these things makes me a civil libertarian. My father — a Kentucky Baptist Republican — thinks that makes me a Left-liberal. It certainly prevents me from being on the Right.
Incidentally — and don’t go out of your way to misinterpret what I’m getting ready to say here — WWII Germany also had single-payer health care, so it’s not a specifically Leftist position. But I would agree with you that, in this country at least, it does put you further to the Left than most people.



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Gus diZerega

posted June 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm


You are a libertarian misusing the word collectivist. That’s better, but you are still confused about the term.
You seem to mean that if someone is wrong in your view, and on the left, they are collectivists. Not so. Sometimes people can simply be wrong. As for Kropotkin, try reading him sometime.
We are reaching diminishing returns. “Strategic collectivism’ as a term adds lots of confusion and no clarity. We political scientists have called what you seem to be describing as interest group politics for many decades. It is not collectivist and it happens all the time, from almost every conceivable political direction. But I think I see the source of your confusion – you seem to equate interest group politics with collectivism. This is simply not true. Anyone who taught you otherwise should pick another field.
Since when did I say universal health care was specifically leftist? But in this country, where ‘conservatives’ are radicals, and there is no left in the European sense outside a few campuses, ANY intelligent position is now likely to be accused of being ‘left’ by some imbecile. Conservatives of the real kind can support it as well. A ajority of American doctors aopparently do, along with a majority of Americans. Most every civilized country in the world that can afford it has some form of it now, save one.
But in the context of American politics, it is left for it evidences genuine concern with the well-being of others as being at least as important as one’s bank account, and certainly fits comfortably with a left position such as my own.



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Cheryl

posted June 22, 2009 at 4:46 pm


See, THIS is why I hate putting labels on people. I don’t understand the need to make people fit into neat little groups as though we’re classifying insect Family, Genus and Species. People are more complicated than that, don’t you think?
Or am I missing out on some life-changing revelation that occurs when you accurately “bag” somebody?



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Troy Camplin

posted June 22, 2009 at 10:21 pm


Well, not all interest groups are collectivist, if we are including African-Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnic groups as interest groups. Someone who is trying to lobby Congress to protect the spotted owl is a member of an interest group, but it not necessarily collectivist. Anyone engaging in racial politics — on either side of the aisle, whether “for” a group or against it — is collectivist in their thinking.
Now, of course you didn’t say that support for universal health care was Leftist — but most people in this country would of course recognize it as being so. Efforts as nationalization, having things over to the government, etc., are typically understood in this country to be Leftist/progressive ideas. I don’t think that any intelligent idea is necessarily seen as being Leftist — but, then, on the flip side, I don’t think single payer health care is a good idea in the least. Which is certainly no defense of the current system our government created.
You mention there being no true Left in this country — but there’s no true Right here, either, the title of your posting notwithstanding. Which is one of the reasons why I have tried to clarify these terms, using them precisely, in the European sense, precisely because they are so muddled up in this country. I have also noted that the Left-liberals in this country are in fact a mixture, as are the Right-conservatives. Both give lip service to different elements of classical liberalism, even if neither side in fact follows through on those ideals. On both sides, it seems classical liberal ideals have been almost fully jettisoned for an essentially postmodern world view. I mean, you have neoconservatives with roots in Marxism (using Marxist terms like “the end of history”) promoting what is essentially a postmodernist conservatism. The result is a “democracy for the same of democracy” push around the world, by any means necessary. Do they do it for idealistic reasons? No. They do it because in their minds democracy and capitalism have clearly won, and now it’s time to get everyone else on board. It’s both unprincipled and amoral, at best. I’m sure you see the same thing with postmodernism’s influence on the Left as well. After all, that’s where it started.
Of course, it is important to clearly define one’s definitions, which is what I am trying to do here. I think a simple dyad of Left-Right is practically useless. Too many get thrown in to one or the other who have no business being there. Like me. And, I still contend, like you — we are closer to each other ideologically than either one of us is to either the Left or the Right, no matter our differences on health coverage. We need more, not fewer, labels to clarify our thinking on these things. The American centrist muddlement of these terms does not help. And a rejection of definitions entirely is a rejection of thought itself.



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Gus diZerega

posted June 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm


This has gone on long enough.
You are refusing to read me carefully, and so I believe I am wasting my time discussing these matters.
I did NOT say there was no “true left” in this country – I earlier said I am a man of the left. I might contradict myself at times, but not that much.
I said there is no left IN THE EUROPEAN SENSE, that is, one with a collectivist past insofar as it was originally Marxist and strongly anti-capitalist. Much as you are in denial about it, almost all American political debate except that rooted in the South and its political culture is liberal in one form or another and is ‘socialist’ only by ignoring the meaning of the word historically. Until you offer a DETAILED and not simply rhetorical rebuttal (without using the word ‘collectivist’), I ask you to refrain from continuing this conversation.
For similar reasons your discussion of there being “no true Right’ is mistaken. We have a true right, it is predominately Southern in origin and explicitly repudiated the liberal principles of the American revolution. There are other forms of American right wing thought, including the individualist right of Ayn Rand and her followers. The Southern right is illiberal. Randian rightists are liberal.
It seems to me almost everything you say regarding people you disagree with ultimately refers to them as “collectivist.” And then you suggest their thought ends in mass murder. This is ad hominem argument taken to a breathtaking degree.
Your use of “classical liberal’ is also idiosyncratic, confusing to me, and I would suspect incomprehensible to most readers of this blog. Ditto you use of Hayek. I know his thought well, most readers here do not. If you are going to refer to Hayek, explain so everyone will know what you mean.
I will no longer discuss these matters with you until you use terms in a generally accepted form, or carefully define what you mean, and also pay attention to what I say.



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Troy Camplin

posted June 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm


Humans have a deep need to believe in something outside of them affecting (controlling) the world. This in part comes from the fact that humans are social mammals, and social mammals all have leaders. With our more powerful imaginations, we imagine that there are things which control the world, thus making us less responsible for what happens. We are a naturally paranoid species.
This first came about in the belief in natural spirits. Sickness was demon possession. This later was transfered to the gods, who were oftentimes in opposition to each other, so it was hard to determine what side to choose (a problem Socrates points out in “Euthyphro”). Still, they were out there, and you had to choose, or face the consequences. Sometimes you faced the consequences precisely because you chose (consider Euripides’ “Hippolytus”). This problem was solved with monotheism. There was one good God running everything, and one bad one trying to mess up his work. When people started becoming atheists, they didn’t shed this deep-seated need for something out there to appear to control them. Thus, early atheists embraced statism, and turned the state into God. Postmodern atheists, who no longer have faith in the state as God have embraced the Panopticon (as Michel Foucault predicted they would in his work by the same title). Belief in the panopticon makes one paranoid and distrustful of practically every human achievement, believing such achievements were and are part of an oppressive power structure designed (by whom?) to keep people down — particularly women and minorities (for what reason? — Who knows?). This is what happens when you have nothing to believe in, find the world utterly meaningless, and embrace nihilism.
Of course all of these religious forms accept that there must be someone out there controlling things. We need to move beyond this belief and shed our paranoia. The world is not a simple system controlled from the top-down; it is rather a set of nested, bottom-up, self-organized complex cybernetic systems. We try to impose the first on the second in our forms of government, and even try to make God out to be a control freak. To do so will be to find ourselves more in tune with nature as a whole, freer by recognizing the emergent naturalness of freedom, and thus happier.



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Troy Camplin

posted June 26, 2009 at 12:16 am


I’m saddened by this. But of course you can’t make someone teach you if they aren’t interested in doing so.
I must thank you for pointing me to Kropotkin, though. I have found him absolutely hillarious, notwithstanding the occasional insight regarding how the Left thinks.



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elgatogrey

posted January 31, 2010 at 11:00 pm


I can not believe anyone calling themselves a citizen of the US would write such nonsense. If what I read in these blogs are indicitive of any segement of the US population I am astonished such minds exist. Talk about living in ones own world. Total nonsense at the highest form.



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gus diZerega

posted February 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm


I just was tipped off at elgatogrey’s comments. I will be brief since s/he decided to share an opinion with no reason other than passion to back it up.
Over the past few months we have seen right wingers contest democratic elections, threaten armed revolution, hope for the failure of America under Obama, and so on. And on.
Maybe that does not constitute threats of war against our country and its constitution, and an implacable deep seated hostility to citizens who see the world differently than Beck, Limbaugh, and other like minded ones do, But then I’d like to know what does.
I am as always interested in your reasons, not the intensity of your beliefs.
Gus



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Anonymous

posted July 4, 2014 at 9:54 am


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Ian Torell

posted July 26, 2014 at 5:38 am


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Scott Jeanty

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More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting A Pagans Blog. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: The Latest on Pagan and Earth-Based Religions Happy Reading!!!

posted 9:39:40am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Earth Day and the Sacredness of the Earth
I think Earth Day is a particularly important moment for contemplation and commitment by us Pagans.  Often American Christian critics accuse us of “pantheism,” and in a important respect they are right.  We do find the sacred, most of us, in the earth without reference to any transcendental sp

posted 11:57:03am Apr. 20, 2012 | read full post »

Instructive examples on why interfaith work is a good idea
I deeply believe the problems in our country are more of the heart than of the head. Here are some youtubes courtesy of John Morehead of the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy on Facebook. They speak more eloquently than anything I can write that interfaith work is a good

posted 1:08:25pm Apr. 12, 2012 | read full post »

The controversy over Pink Slime - and what it means.
The controversy over pink slime is helping educate Americans to the fact that corporations are as beneficial to agriculture as they are to politics. Tom Laskawy put it pithily: “What pink slime represents is an open admission by the food industry that it is hard-pressed to produce meat that won’

posted 4:03:07pm Apr. 11, 2012 | read full post »

How the "war on religion' backfired into a war on women
Here  is a really good article by Tina DuPuy on how the Republicans got themselves into such a mess with America's more intelligent women.  Left undiscussed is how the extreme pathological masculinity of both their deity and their leaders made that slip so very easy.

posted 12:12:35pm Apr. 11, 2012 | read full post »




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