Beliefs, religions, worldviews, politics, and cults

Think like sheep peopleIt feels good to believe things. It is nice to not have doubts. The world is so full of doubt. Belief systems take care of so many doubts. They make us feel secure. That said, I’m fairly certain that any type of true security is an illusion. Worldviews are quite close to beliefs in that they are like filters that we see our world through, but unlike beliefs they are theoretically changeable through rational discourse or scientific evidence.

I find it unfortunate that many people make their worldviews into beliefs. The best example is the worldview of an extreme political partisan such as a Democrat, Republican, socialist, or communist. Other examples of worldviews that often turn into beliefs include realism, idealism, conservatism, liberalism, and even atheism.

Even if people reject beliefs we still seem to have a pervasive need to attach some sort of spiritual significance to our lives. Perhaps this need exists in the human psyche because we still have more questions than answers and it makes us feel insecure. I am no exception, which is why I try to keep myself from being a believer by reserving 1% doubt about any idea. A lack of belief in ideas is what I think I need to keep from getting pulled into a cult. This is because I’m rather gullible at times, and I have been in two “cults” before. Specifically, I was a Lutheran and a Democrat. I know calling Lutherans cult members is an extremely unpopular thing to do in a Christian nation, but bear in mind that most Christian denominations consider any sufficiently different variation from their religious beliefs in another Christian group to be enough to make it a cult. For example, the church I was a part of until I was eighteen taught that the Mormon church is a cult. The idea that a political party is a cult is pushing the boundary of the word a bit, but partisanship in America has become so extreme in recent years that it is an accurate description of adherents.

I have also noticed that spirituality, beliefs, and religion have been subtlety inserted into our self-help groups and legal processes. All the chemical dependency and mental illness facilities/groups I have ever heard about encourage, if not require, people to find a religion, spiritual path, or at least a “higher power.” Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are largely voluntary and free examples of such groups. There are other programs and facilities that people are forced to pay for under the law, after getting a drunk driving ticket for example, that require such thinking too. As you might guess, it deeply disturbs me that the state in any way requires or endorses spirituality or religion.

I support everyone’s right to think whatever they want to; yet I encourage people to not believe each other, but rather believe in each other (a subtle difference). Let’s retain the wall of separation between church and state. Let’s erect a new wall between spirituality and the state. Let’s remember what the nature of a cult is. They pull people in with comforting dogma that answers unanswerable questions. They fill people’s heads with silly beliefs like the holy trinity, totally equal distribution of wealth, or trickle down economics. While believers may feel safer, get to drink some tasty Kool Aid, and wear some nice Nike shoes; in the end people usually die because of a lack of rational thought. Political believers are not an exception.

I know some of you liberals are probably disappointed in me

I recognize that many would think that if I was truly a bleeding heart liberal I would be more supportive of our President and Democratic congressmen (and women!).

Sadly, if you haven’t noticed, President Barack Obama and his herd are just the other side of the coin called the corporate party.  Of course, I had no love for President George W. Bush or his herd either.  Hell, I actually voted for Obama the first time, but as Dubya so eloquently put it “fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me.. can’t get fooled again.”

My problems with our liberal leadership are many and varied.  A true liberal doesn’t allow tanks to roll through the streets inside of their own country.  A true liberal doesn’t offer to cut Social Security as an opening move in budget negotiations (what would the equivalent be in chess – perhaps playing without any pawns).  A true liberal doesn’t allow torture.  A true liberal doesn’t circumvent due process and the rule of law to catch the bad guys.  A true liberal doesn’t give up the liberty of his people, no matter what the cost, ever.

If the citizens that considered themselves Democrats or Republicans had any spine they would stand up for what they supposedly believe in, protest, make their representatives act on their beliefs, and never vote for either party again.  Instead it is apparent that the majority of people who consider themselves either a Democrat or a Republican merely support “their man” without question (let’s take that literally too – we have never had a woman president – Pakistan has).

I wish members of both political parties could have the courage to admit that both of “their guys” screwed up our economy, infringed upon our civil liberties, violated the Geneva Conventions, and engaged in thinly veiled resource wars in the name of “democracy” and “terrorism.”  Of course, that would mean admitting that we were wrong when we supported one side or the other.  It would mean admitting that all those arguments we had with people of the other party were really just us being the unwitting patsies of the plutocracy.  It would mean that we would have to actually do something other than repeat the canned phrases that we hear on MSNBC and FOX news.  It would mean we would have to admit that the two-party system is fatally flawed.  I can see why most Americans can’t bear to do that.  It takes some real courage to admit when you have been wrong and it has hurt just about everyone you know.

I will admit it to you now.  I was wrong for at least 80% of my life.  I thought the Democrats had my back.  They didn’t.  Anybody else?

I may sound radical but let’s think about our current situation critically.  Tanks are rolling around in our streets and DEMOCRATS are JUST FINE with it.  If that doesn’t qualify the United States as a military state and an authoritarian regime I don’t know what does.  Can you imagine what Democrats would be saying if George W. Bush had allowed tanks to roll around in our streets?  This is what is called a cult of personality, you know, like the Dear Leader in North Korea has.  Patriotism is all well and good but this rally around the flag mentality has gotten completely out of hand.  Stop being motivated by fear.  Start standing up for your rights and the rights of others.  The men and women in uniform that have died for us over the last 237 years deserve that we honor them by at least not being utterly ignorant and craven cowards.

It is with these things in mind that I have decided to refer to our current President as “Dear Leader” in honor of his cult of personality and his authoritarian regime.  I will also pray to our Dear Leader, never take his name in vain, and when Passover comes I will put the blood of a member of the opposing party (whichever party that is at the time) above my door to make sure that “my guy” knows I’m with him so he doesn’t kill my firstborn son.  That said, to use our Dear Leader’s favorite cliché, “Make no mistake,” I am as disappointed in the American people as I am with our leadership.  Now, get back to the herd and go back to sheep.. er.. I mean sleep.

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom?

Video

This is a broad reaching 3 part BBC documentary about inequality, class, privilege, game theory, human nature, freedom, democracy, authoritarianism, and terrorism, in Britain and the United States.  The documentary examines economic theories, the psychiatric community, the financial industry, the revolution of statistical analysis as a means of increasing efficiency, and even capitalism itself.  I can’t tell you how much this documentary made me think.  No matter which lens you look through our world at, you’ll have a greater understanding of our societies after watching this.  It’s well worth the time.

NSFW (a few f words)