Sep
27
2009
0

“Creation” and Troubles in America

There was a recent post to Derren Brown’s blog reporting that the new film about Darwin, “Creation,” was being shunned by American distributors. (It has since been picked up by Newmarket… and I think I would like to see this film. :))

On the blog and especially on the facebook post sharing this post, there were a TON of comments to the effect of, “Stupid Americans.”

I was debating with myself whether I should post a response on the blog, on facebook, or even if I should post anything at all. I decided that I would at least start a post on my own blog… mostly in part because what I have to say has very little to do with the movie in question, but also because I would rather have a discussion here than bungee in elsewhere and stir up a shitstorm.

The epithet, “Stupid Americans,” has always bothered me. I used to think (and the temptation is still there to do so) that it bothered me because of the “Americans” bit. After all, I am an American (though through absolutely no choice of my own), and for a very long time I would identify myself with that, for better or for worse.

However, I think that it was the “stupid” part of the phrase that bothered me more, because “Americans” is just a label but “stupid” is the part that’s meant to be insulting.

This might seem blindingly obvious, but please bear with me. 🙂

Why would the expression, “Stupid Americans,” bother me so much? It’s not like I chose to be born in the United States, and certainly when I was a child it was impossible for me to choose to leave. Even as an adult, it is exceedingly difficult, and it’s not like it is easy to assimilate into another culture, no matter how much of its comedy you watch on television. So, I really am stuck here, and even if I did relocate, it’s not like I would escape others who are keen on labeling entire groups of people however they like. (After all, there are those who hate ex-pats.)

No, it’s the “stupid” part that bothers me so much.

Why is that?

Well, in this particular case, “stupid” is referring to the abundance of religious belief and fervor in the United States.

However, “stupid” simply does not apply.

People do not become Christians because they are stupid.

People become stupid because they are Christians.

In order to believe in Christianity, you have to have your capacity for processing reality severely crippled. You have to be able to believe in an entirely anti-reality concept such as “god,” but still be able to function in the world.

Even then, it’s not fair to call it stupidity. Civilized people do not sneer at a paraplegic and call him “lazy” for being unable to get out of his wheelchair.

People who are religious are mentally crippled and deserve the sympathy to the extent that they deserve.

This does not, of course, excuse them for inflicting their handicap on children, especially with the access to information we have available today. Even if a religious parent did not wish to alter their belief, they are definitely aware of other religions, and especially of non-belief. It is indefensible to tell a child that God is absolutely real when there are so many resources available to parents to present differing viewpoints, at the very least.

Still, “stupid” does not apply. It is not through a lack of intelligence that religious people believe what they do. It is through having their brains damaged by being inflicted with unrealities as if they were absolutely true.

Religion is not a reasoned position; this is why presenting evidence and a strong logical case against religion fails to convince so many people.

One last thing, and then I’ll be finished.

The vast majority of people who are throwing around the epithet, “Stupid Americans,” are almost guaranteed to be holding beliefs just as irrational and just as dangerous and damaging as religion.

This is because almost everybody in the entire world today believes that violence is the best tool to use to solve social problems. This is not generally the case in their personal lives, but in society at large, they champion and cheer violence being used to further their goals.

This belief is the fundamental curse of humanity; it is the cause of war and devastation and economic crises and all manner of violence in the world that is entirely avoidable.

The reason people believe this is because, as children, they are made to believe that even though violence is bad for an individual, it somehow becomes good when used by a group. This is a complete contradiction, because members of the group are individuals themselves, and it is this unreality inflicted on children that damages their ability to process reality…

Hence, even if “Stupid Americans” wasn’t an invalid and cruel thing to say, it would merely be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Jul
08
2009
0

“Eternal Vigilance,” or, the Argument from Exhaustion

In a recent debate between Michael Badnarik and Stefan Molyneux, Badnarik commented that anarchy wouldn’t work because (paraphrased) people lack the killer instinct. One must be eternally vigilant against the hordes of marauders just itching to destroy one’s life and livelihood.

A comment by a FDR poster completely collapses this “argument”:

I wonder, are we currently being “eternally vigilant” for any signs of slavery coming back into society or is this no longer a concern? It’s just time that makes these problems appear worse. In the midst of a statist world there is much hand-wringing and brow furrowing over the idea of anarchy whereas when it does finally start turning around (I dunno, a few hundred years from now) people will look back at our time and think, “Cripes, can you believe how paranoid those people were back then about a government!?”

The reason slavery hasn’t returned to society is because people recognize that the ownership of human beings is completely immoral. This has not penetrated our social consciousness to the degree that it is commonly understood that we exist as tax livestock, but there is no chance of slavery being accepted as moral.

This is what will cause statism to be rejected: a recognition that the initiation of violence to solve social problems is completely immoral.

Once we put this into practice, vigilance against statism will no more be required than vigilance against slavery is today.

Dec
18
2008
0

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