Sunday, March 13, 2022

Hard to deprogram cult of government

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for February 9, 2022)

There is room in this world for many different beliefs, even those which are wrong.

Beliefs are only truly incompatible when one of them includes the belief that it's OK to force others to believe one particular thing. Or, more accurately, to force others to pretend they believe, since belief can't be imposed. Any such belief discredits itself; no valid belief has to be forced on others.

I'm fine with the beliefs of others, even beliefs I think are crazy. It's only when those believers start trying to force their beliefs on me that I have a problem with them. If they push hard enough, I'm going to push back. This is why I write-- I'm pushing back against a dangerous belief.

The most universal belief today is the belief in the legitimacy of political government. Even local churches often fly a U.S. federal flag above their Christian flag, showing which belief system they prioritize. They aren't-- yet-- being forced to fly the federal flag outside their facilities; they choose to do so. I'm sure they can find excuses for their divided loyalties and upside-down priorities, but those excuses fall flat.

If government would respect those who don't believe in it, like more civilized religions do, I would have less of an issue with it and its faithful believers.

Fortunately, government still allows you to practice other beliefs, too, if they are compatible with a belief in government. How generous.

Imagine if another church decided you had to send it your tithes even if you belonged to a different denomination. Or if one declared you would be beaten and caged if you broke any of the rules it imposed on its members even if you belonged to a church which had no such rules.

Some churches have used government to do this; getting it to impose their rules on everyone through legislation. Using government in this way is just as wrong as using it to punish someone for their race or sex or eye color.

So, government is less a religion than a cult. Getting deprogrammed is difficult when almost everyone around you is a true believer. The main disagreement you'll normally find with the cult of government is those who wish someone else were its high priest. May as well rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Believe whatever crazy thing you want, but don't burn the lifeboats or block others from using them.

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"The Russians are coming!"

When I was a kid-- back around the time I began to realize that government was the enemy of everything I valued-- I stopped believing that Russians were the problem. Yes, the Soviet government was my enemy, because it was a government, but I knew Russian people were not the same thing as the Soviet government.

I never feared "The Russians".

I hoped they recognized the same was true about me.

If America got nuked, governments were to blame, not regular people.

I have slightly expanded that blame over the years to include people who imagine political government is somehow legitimate; government-supremacists. Their support empowers the political criminals, even if only by saying the "office" is legitimate even if the goon currently occupying it isn't. 

I assume that in every place around the world, there are a lot of people who know government is a problem, who don't support anything it does, and who don't fall for the propaganda. Those people I can befriend.


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