I'm not really all that mysterious

confusing the sacred with the profane

So maybe all Republicans aren’t religious fundamentalists, but I kind of wonder if there isn’t some sort of congruence between the two mind sets—namely, the kind of ignorance and stupidity that makes you so sure that what you know is absolutely right and anyone that disagrees with you is absolutely wrong.

And it may not have been a Republican or a religious fundamentalist who gave Mayor Nagin the smackdown for calling the ruins of the WTC a “hole in the ground”, but, give me a break.

I don’t think that place is holy or sacred at all, that it should be revered so. I think Ground Zero is an abomination, and I’m glad that they’re building on top of it so that we can begin anew. That place, that event, will always be a memory of abject horror and death, of the evil that human beings can commit. And frankly, it is also a monument to the ineptitude and incompetence of the government, for failing to protect its citizens (and the 9/11 commission shows us that it was indeed preventable), and, in the aftermath, feeding the flames of fear and terror instead of reassuring the American people that terror shall have no power of us, and that we will continue to brandish and wield our freedom in the face of those who would commit such crimes against humanity. If anything, Bush and his cronies and the stupid homeland security terror-alert colors and the incompetent handling of airports for the sake of ”security theater” are all sops to the terrorists, and every day we allow these things to impinge on our freedom is another day we surrender to these evil bastards who, by the way, happen to be religious fundamentalists.

And since that day in September, I’ve recognized who the real enemy is: these toxic human beings who are religious fundamentalists. Like I’ve said before, it doesn’t matter whether they’re Christian or Islamic or Zionist or atheist. Anyone who thinks that they’re completely right, that nothing they do can be gain-said by human wisdom, anyone like this should be locked up and pumped full of anti-psychotics, at least if we can’t just outright kill them (Oh sure, killing would be wrong, but some things are less wrong than others.) These fucktards aren’t in it for anything but raw power over their fellow humans, and their devotion to their God (or non-God, as the case may be) is pure sophistry.

(To explain the workings of my personal morality, I think that anyone who kills another sentient being and thinks that they will be rewarded has got another thing coming to them, and if there is such a place as Hell, I hope they’re having a good time down there. Sure, people will bring up the justification for killing someone else in self-defense, or in defense of those you love, and, sure, anyone who has to do this is definitely not in the same classes as the murderers who slammed planes into the WTC, but to think that the act of killing, however justified, even if it means that a million other lives would be saved, to think that killing someone should be completely free of guilt, now that is base self-deception. But I digress.)

In any case, I’m almost finished with His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, and it basically comes up with the same message: religious fundamentalism is the anti-thesis of civilization, and it must be resisted, whatever brand it may be. Fundamentalists would have human beings reduced to nothing but machines, operating under rules and algorithms that make it easy for us not to have to think, and these rules have over the millenia allowed humans to oppress, violate, degrade, and kill other humans. And frankly, this is pure evil, because it is thinking and reasoning that make us human.

And I got to thinking about that old canard that the world is supposedly going to shit because people aren’t religious any more, and that they have no morality. And if they used the word “religious” the same way that I use it—meaning someone subscribing to a philosophy (for example, maybe Taoism or Buddhism or secular humanism) that promotes goodness and connectedness and belonging and all the positive things that make us human and allow civilization to work—if they meant these things instead of by-the-book Christianity or word-for-word Islam or any other rote algorithm that precludes thought, then I might agree with them, because, yes, the world is full of thoughtless people who never consider their action’s effects on others. But what I really think is that the reason why the world is going to shit is because Western society has allowed the principles of capitalism to outweigh morality.

What I find interesting about early American history is that society was not all about laissez-faire capitalism (as if that really exists anywhere.) The early American economy (both pre- and post-revolutionary) tended to run on a moral economy, meaning, that, sure, you could make a profit, but you shouldn’t gouge your fellow human beings who were depending on your product to survive. Prices and wages were negotiated so that citizens could actually live decent lives. (OK, so there was also slavery, but there is no such place as utopia) Contrast that to the world we live in, where anything goes when it comes to making a dollar, and screw the people who can’t afford to live decent lives, they’re just lazy or some such idiotic slogan like that that is completely devoid of thought. And people will refuse to condemn companies like Exxon and Walmart for baldly exploiting their workers and the environment and making record profits for their CEOs and shareholders, never mind the damage that they are causing, and people fail to see that this kind of lifestyle is unsustainable.

Something will eventually break and throw everything into chaos, and there has surely got to be a better way to run the system. Surely sustainability ought to be a goal of any business.

And people will also say that regulation is evil and it’s better to let business owners do whatever they want, but this is pure bullshit, because anyone with half a brain knows that even in our supposedly capitalist country, the government pretty much decides who gets to make money and who gets crushed. I mean, all you have to do is say “Halliburton” and “Enron” and follow where all the dollars are going. And how this is different from a communist economy driven by a centralized bureaucracy, I really don’t know, except maybe the U.S.S.R. didn’t have to waste money on P.R. and marketing.

And, sure, people will bring up extreme counter-examples: what if I have to lie, cheat, and steal in order to feed my kids? C’mon. We all know there are plenty of ways to make honest cash, even if it is pretty much diddly-squat. For someone to surrender their morality in order to have creature-comforts earns no sympathy from me.

And I’m not advocating espousing communism, getting rid of the stock market, or doing away with money. All I’m saying is: everything you do has consequences, some of them good, and some of them evil, and in a capitalistic country like ours, the choices of what you buy and which companies you support become an expression of your own morality. Lying, cheating, exploiting the weak and powerless, destroying the environment, and fomenting war so you have someone to sell your bombs to (to choose a few choice examples) are wrong no matter what, even if it turns a profit and makes the shareholders happy, and it’s really disgusting that our society can actually make excuses for companies that do these things.

And, despite my raving rants at times, I’m no extremist. If anything, I’m all for moderation. And given that the government already has to interfere in order for our economy to even work, then they should interfere in ways that advocate for sustainability. While a complete implementation of a moral economy at the scale of the globe is clearly impossible in this lifetime, at least people should aim high. If you want people to do good, the best way is to set an example.

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