Bernie Sanders and Religion

Most people want security, personal and economic safety. They don’t want to struggle, they don’t want to suffer, they don’t want to have to risk their well-being. What most people want is certainty and order.

For this, people turn to religion. God(s) will give you security, will save you and take care of you, in the end. People flock to preachers and pastors and priests and pulpits, and the organization gives them order; it is right to do this, wrong to do that, and these things will make you happy; do not suffer, because the Higher Being, the Great Thing Above You, is going to take care of you – as long as you abide this order.

Most people inherently desire a Higher Power, a thing within which to give themselves – a thing within which to negate their will: my life is in God’s hands; this is comforting, it is an assurance that all will go well, that you will enjoy Order. If there is a Higher Power, a Benevolent Greater Will, then all one must do is accept that Order and they will be spared the suffering inherent of uncertainty. To have uncertainty is to need to exert your will, is to need to struggle so that you may create certainty. Struggle not, suffer not, this Higher Power will give you Order and Certainty. You in the pew have been saved.

And if another does not accept the order of this Higher Power? Well, then they must be converted, they must be taught to accept this Higher Power, because it is for their own good.

Most people wish for this, to be rid of the need to struggle; most people wish to be enclosed by the arms of a Greater Power that will protect, and save, and secure.

Thus, we have organized religion. And…

Those without televangelists and Ordained Hierarchy turn to bureaucrats and Almighty Government – the Higher Power will be had, life will remain in a top-down structure.

This is one of the reasons I refuse to vote for Bernie Sanders:

Because we are only humans with critically-limited intellect. No one knows what is “The Best” way to run a society; for all you know, Libertarianism works best, or Stalinism, or Corporatism, or Anarcho-Syndicalism. Because can’t be a Singular Order.

Rational arguments can be made for any Higher Power, any type of government, and all arguments have their rational adherents. But it becomes extremely difficult to make these arguments rationally on massive scales.

Because even if you use the Democracy Argument – Well, we’re a Democracy and Democracy means the majority wins – you are arguing for the oppression of a minority. Even if 70% of the population agrees with a policy, if there is a 5% minority which vehemently disagrees (larger than the LGBT population which was oppressed by DOMA), then you have a large population of people which is being oppressed.

It is just as absurd to force the order of Socialism, or Capitalism, or  Anarchy on a massive population, as it is to force the order of Catholicism, Judaism, or Scientology on a massive population.

It is absurd to force the Order of a Higher Power on a massive population (especially a population so diverse as America’s) because the universe contains Uncertainty, Disorder, Subjectivity: one person’s Heaven is another person’s Hell; because there is no singular Order, and there are myriad possibilities.

And we need to be free to pursue these subjective Higher Powers.

Let New York and New Jersey go for Democratic Socialism, let Nevada and New Mexico have Anarcho-Syndicalism; Ohio can have Corporatism, and Tennessee can go Libertarian, and West Virginia can go Tribal or something weird like that.

There are other arguments against a massive Higher Power, such as States As Laboratories, or that nothing good comes out of Massive Power over the Masses, and the argument that, out of three levels of government, only the Federal level is restricted by enumerated powers…

But, perhaps those arguments should have their own posts.

I’ll finish with a pictorial comparison:

…I don’t want your Higher Power.

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Bullshit American Exceptionalism

America is exceptional, we’re told. We’re the best at everything. We’re supposed to lead the world at everything. The point of America is that we’re supposed to have the best economy, the best technology, the best schools, the best military, the best stock market, the best standard of living.

That’s what America’s about, that’s what the role of government is. Obviously, because those are the things politicians and the media refer to as American Exceptionalism.

America isn’t supposed to be exceptional because of Democracy and Liberty. Forget about those things, will you? The whole world has those. America is only exceptional if we have the best economy and the best military. Health insurance, that’s what we’re really supposed to be great at. We lead the world, yeah of course we do, because we police the world. Availability of student loans, that’s what makes us exceptional. How many pairs of shoes did you buy last year? 5? Yeah, because you’re an American, you’re exceptional, man.

We used to be piss-and-vinegar and defiant, anti-authority cowboys and hippies and beats and congregation members, democratic ideals and a love of serving community. We used to pride ourselves on Liberty.

We all want our children to be educated, we all want medical care, economic stability; roads and electricity and neighbors that aren’t shivering starved. These aren’t mutually-exclusive to Democracy and Liberty – Democracy and Liberty allow us to create these. But by placing these needs above Democracy and Liberty, by changing the meaning of American Exceptionalism, Democracy and Liberty have been degraded and our schools suck, we can’t provide medical care, our roads are crumbling, and we’re always at war.

What happened? When did American Exceptionalism mean valuing goals other than Democracy and Liberty? those two ideals that had made us exceptional in the world?

We’ve allowed politicians and the media to redefine American Exceptionalism. I doubt this was an accident.

“You should be worried about terrorists and college tuition because this is how we make America Exceptional again.”

America isn’t about Liberty and Democracy, it’s about policing the world and making sure everyone makes monthly payments to insurance corporations.

Rational Global Warming Skepticism and How Liberals and Conservatives Are Doing Everything Wrong

I have no valid reason to trust the US Federal Government. It is run by two demonstrably corrupt political parties and has deceived us into multiple wars, spied on us while denying it, conspired against us, destroyed college and health care (yes, I’m speaking about subsidies and loans, there are much better, non-market solutions); the War on Drugs, imperialism, free-trade acts – I have no valid reason to trust the Federal Government, and no valid reason to trust the political parties and bureaucrats who control it.

I have no reason to trust the media.

I have no reason to suspect that, in 50 years, scientific consensus will be that human activity has had a negligible effect on the Earth’s climate and that global temperatures are rising because we’re still emerging from the last big ice-age; or because the sun’s heating up; or because atmospheres on rocky planets are inherently unstable (Hey there, Venus and Mars). Scientific paradigms shift.

I have no valid reason to trust the politicians, bureaucrats, media, or scientists who tell me humans are heating the planet. But just because I am suspicious of motives and skeptical of current paradigms, doesn’t mean I can’t be concerned about the very real possibility that humans are heating the Earth’s atmosphere.

You can be skeptical of human-driven global warming and still be concerned about it. Human-driven global warming is a valid possibility and a valid concern. Just because you distrust Democrats and the Federal Government, doesn’t mean you can’t be concerned about global warming.

Hypothetical Scenario: An asteroid is hurtling towards Earth. Scientific consensus says this is bad for children and all living things, because the asteroid will decimate the planet. The dissenting opinion is that Yeah, hey, there’s totally an asteroid, but fat chance in hell it’ll actually hit us.

Not worth chancing hell. It’s valid to be skeptical of the asteroid-decimation paradigm, but irrational not to act on the very real chance that it’s true.

Why should I trust the Democratic Party’s motives behind climate change? Why is The Obama opening Alaska up for more drilling? Why is The Obama’s darling free-trade bill going to send more of our manufacturing to developing nations? Why did The Clinton’s free-trade deals export all our manufacturing? Don’t people understand the US has much stricter environmental laws than China and Taiwan? and that in the name of reducing emissions we should be keeping manufacturing here, in the US, where we can limit these emissions?

Oh, right, but Corporate America can reap ludicrous profit by exporting manufacturing…

… reasons to distrust the powerful, and to distrust their motives.

I am concerned that Earth’s dominant hegemonic power will use global warming to justify the expansion of its own power, both foreign and domestic. Never let a good crisis go to waste. I have little reason to assume the ruling class wants more power for anything but their own benefit.

I want the Federal Government to do as little as possible. I do not want the Federal Government to regulate power-plant emissions, automobile MPG’s, or lightbulbs, and every time a Liberal argues for more Federal regulation, I want to pull my hair. We need to regulate these things, and we should be regulating them at the state level.

(Manufacturing emissions should remain Federally-regulated, because in manufacturing there is a real risk of the Race To The Bottom phenomenon. If NJ tightens power-plant and car emission regulations, power-plants and car salesmen aren’t going to flee to Alabama, because NJ is still going to need cars and lights. If there is no risk of Race To The Bottom, the responsibility must remain with the states.)

Liberals have to understand that a large percentage of the US population distrusts the US Federal Government for valid (and wise) reasons, and that environmental regulations can develop much quicker at state and local levels, at least because democracy is more nimble in smaller groups.

Now for Conservatives: It doesn’t matter if you disagree with the overwhelming scientific consensus, human-driven global warming is a valid theory and a valid concern because it has yet to be disproved (if it ever will be). If there is a chance we’re destroying our atmosphere, for the sake of the entire freaking human population, you do not prevent human-species-saving actions.

Conservatives are not going to prevent environmental regulations from tightening because a large portion of our population wants tighter environmental regulations. By refusing environmental regulations at the state level, Conservatives are forcing Liberals to Federally regulate.

Conservatives, by refusing environmental regulations at the state level, are contributing to the growth of the Federal Government. Want to downsize the Federal Government? Then you need to give people the regulations they want at the state level.

Los Angeles? Where?

If Liberals would stop trying to Federally strong-arm the entire freaking country and shift their voices into passing state legislation, and if Conservatives would stop refusing environmental legislation at the state level and stop sucking-face with coal, then we could stop heating the Earth’s atmosphere without having the Federal Hegemony assume more power.

What the Federal Government Should Do:

  1. End Free-trade agreements
  2. Regulate Manufacturing Emissions
  3. Pour Billions into public research. Don’t subsidize green companies. Use that money (and a whole lot more money) to develop the technologies we need to be sustainable – solar power storage, graphene production methods, energy efficient housing, electric and self-driving cars, and of course, how to transmit energy to Earth from orbiting solar-arrays.

What States Should Do:

  1. Everything Else.
  2. And nuclear power.

What We All Should Do:

  1. Stop Consuming So Much! Everything you purchase has a CO2 cost. Value frugality over consumerism. In fact, kill consumerism. Instead of purchasing more crap whenever something breaks, use your human brain to figure out how to repair your dishwasher, your blender, your furniture, your laptop, your clothing.
  2. Buy locally. Shit that ain’t shipped from China doesn’t need oil to cross an ocean.