Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The King Does Not Know

If I were king of the United States (Not president because I need absolute power) I would quickly set about dismantling entire sectors of our Federal government. The devil is in the details so lets not bother with all that now. The important point is my motivation.

You see, I do not know what is best for you or our 300+ million fellow citizens. Therefore my lack of knowledge must compel me to remove as many burdens or any other interferences brought on by the Federal government as possible.

I do not know what kind of car you need, what you should feed your kids, how much money you should make, what school you should attend, which doctor to visit, or any other major or minor aspect of your life. I don't even know your name. How can a decent, benevolent King with so little knowledge tolerate such an intrusion on his citizens?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Where two or more are gathered.

Christopher Hitchens asserted that religion, or belief in God, is ultimately a totalitarian, and therefore evil, belief system. Hitchens enjoyed pointing out that bad persons will do bad things and good persons will do good things. But to get a good person to do bad things required religion.

There are two aspects of Hitchens' observation that show it to be so incomplete as to be disingenuous. First, any authoritarian pressure or peer pressure can persuade a good person to do bad things. Second, it is also possible to pressure a bad person to do good things.

As soon as an individual, 'good' or 'bad', steps into the world, the persuasion and pressure begins. Persons can be driven to the most noble or most vile of deeds. At no point in that range is religion required.