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The Welfare of Humanity is the Alibi of Tyrants

by on March 15, 2011

                Let me begin by stating that it is not ‘belief’ or even ‘spirituality’ that I’m specifically critiquing so much as notions of absolutism, universalism, utopianism, and otherworldly-ness. I will approach these in order of the listing.

                ‘Absolutism,’ can be both applied to ‘atheistic’ systems and religious systems. By absolutism, I am meaning absolute authority. With absolute authority, this eradicates such necessities as ‘context,’ ‘interpretations,’ ‘cultural/historical/political relativism’ (relative; not meaning ‘your guess is as good as mine [moral relativism crudely defined], but value judgments based on culture or time period). Absolutism can be found in God(s), its ‘representatives’ (Pope), prophets (Moses’ Law, Jesus, Joseph Smith along with others), revelations (Scriptures) along with dictators (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini) and their systems (historical necessity, dialectical materialism {Marxism and its deviations}, Nordic superiority and fascism). The only difference between these is that the former receives absolute authority through a divine creator while the other receives absolute authority through mythology (Nordic superiority), pseudo-scientific approaches (dialectical materialism, Marxism, etc.). Absolutism as listed here has literally caused the majority of strife, death, terror, and misery I argue strictly from the notions of absolute authority. We humans, I propose, are creatures of change. We like our ‘comfort’ and predictability, but we also desire change at our own desire and motivation. When taking what some crudely call ‘human nature’ and facing it with an absolute authority we get conflict. This is where the division arises in the systems aforementioned. For example, one need not be a theologian to have the ability to list at least a dozen sects of Christianity. An example on the other side is applied to the Marxists in Russia. During the buildup of power prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, there was disagreement as to how to integrate the agrarian classes, what to do with the ‘National Question’ (lands outside Russia controlled by the Czar), and other questions. This led to a schism in what was once a collected ‘absolutist’ group. When a schism occurs in an absolute system, terror ensues. The result was the Bolsheviks (translated as ‘the Majority’) and the Mensheviks (translated as the ‘Minority’). For those interested, look up what happened to Mensheviks upon victory after the Revolution. The widely available information on the purges and mock trials carried out by the Kremlin mirrors that of the schism created by Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, in which Catholics and Protestants killed one another, Protestants and Catholics and Calvinists killed Anabaptists and the list goes on. Absolutism does not work well with man.

                Universalism has many of the same arguments as absolutism but with a bit more emphasis on the neglect and arrogance towards other cultures. The Spanish treatment towards the Native Americans, the Puritans treatment towards the local Native Americans, the treatment of the Jewish people by the Romans and later Christian empires, and other examples. The feelings of xenophobia, ethnocentrism, racism, and other prejudices arise from a feeling of superiority of one’s own place/culture/language/religion, etc. The amount of artwork, literature, science, music, and other forms of expression that has been destroyed because ‘barbarians’ created them, or because the expressions go against one’s own ‘cultural norms’ are extremely vast. The treatment of philosophers, poets, artists, and scientists by Christian empires is beyond grotesque and without any justification. The treatment of Salman Rushdie and the Dutch cartoonists by those who advocate a universalized adoption of their theories are beyond grotesque and without any justification. The purges and deaths of citizens falsely accused of ‘counter-revolutionary’ activities by the Kremlin, the suppression of works of art upon threat of death and the extreme censorship that the Russian people had to fight against with the Czar is beyond grotesque and without justification.

                Along with the infamous ‘Paris Commune,’ all attempts at building a utopia has failed and the visions of otherworldly utopias and its future attendants have created too much strife for one to stomach. The Marxists and fascists attempted to build utopia on earth by the former ‘marching through history’ and realizing the fulfillment of Marxist superiority. The latter builds up images of an otherworldly utopia deemed for those ‘worthy’ of such consideration.  Both explain suffering as a ‘means to an end’ and both require absolute obedience to the leader (earthly or celestial) in order to be part of the later utopia.  The utopia ‘hoped for’ steals man away from not only the ‘now’ but from his own nature in many ways. By man transcending himself into a later paradise the present will be not only irrelevant but miniscule in comparison. From the previous statement, I feel that one does not truly live a life, he sees life as a ‘test,’ a ‘stepping stone,’ a ‘punishment,’ or some other grotesque invention to calm his weak mind.

                The otherworldly, as mentioned in the previous paragraph strikes right at the heart of utopians, absolutists, and universalists in the strictest sense. From the earliest Greeks feeling like ‘pawns of chess’ when discussing their existence in reference to the gods, the Manicheans believing in an eternal battle between a ‘GOOD’ and an ‘EVIL’ leaving man as merely victims or receivers of the outcomes, the Jews who felt that God had punished them through their exile and enslavement, the Buddhists whose first statement is ‘Life is Suffering,’ to the Scriptures that preach against wealth, worldly knowledge, pride, and others; we have countless, cross-cultural, historical events creating ‘haters of life.’ The dictators who implemented mass destruction and terror hated this world equally as the ‘faithful’ by only referencing the good as being in the future and the present as a means to reaching that future.

                In conclusion, religion (East and West) is not the only phenomenon that I am vehemently against. For the conservatives who rail against the idealism of socialists, Marxists and the like as being unrealistic in their pursuits, I place the religious and the celestial kingdoms of heaven that ‘give their life meaning’ (both Marxists and Christians will agree on being part of something bigger than themselves, fighting for something large, and accepting present tribulations for this abstract ideal) alongside. For the utopians who place all their faith in the attainment of paradise through human means, I place the religious next to them as they are both neglecting the ‘here and now’ in favor of some fantasy that destroys their individualism and reality-as-is.

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