I was rereading through the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals last night and I really became angry with them.It’s not that I mind progressive liberal bullshit, I mean, I know where those idea have been ever since the days of the Magna Carta and the nobles wanting a piece of the king’s pie. What I find so deceitful it the need to make language so neutral as to make it meaningless. I hate what is really an attempt, even if it is an unconscious one, to defraud others into thinking you mean one thing while doing another. Reading these 17 goals one might have thought it was Jesus speaking on the mound. But too many miss the point, he was not speaking of an earthly kingdom but rather his own spiritual one. Now some may try and place some political interpretation on the words such as, Jesus was a communist, or he was a bleeding heart liberal while Daddy was the angry moralist. One can come up with any number and manner of thought on that subject. But the case remains that for the great religions of our world, and by that I mean those religions that have had the greatest influence on humanity: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, and to a lesser extent, Shintoism. These religions deal with two concepts of belief. The first is an afterlife, such as a heaven or even reincarnation to that sense of perfection beyond the pale of life on earth. The second, which is so often missed by those on the left of the political center is that religion deals with morality, the right behavior by one to others. It offers a code to live by, sometimes a rather simplistic code and sometimes an extremely complicated one that forgets the whole point of moral behavior. A moral code can be something as simple as “Live and let live.”
The progressive liberal takes that Live and let live ideal one step further than he should. For him, it becomes, “Live correctly and let others live correctly.” Only he misconstrues the verb “let” to mean “make”. Language is both a blessing to humanity and a dark curse. Once you have read George Orwell’s 1984, you have a sense that politically correct language, gender neutral language, and all other forms of such “correctness” are degrading into his example of Newspeak. Language that is meaningless and obscure. The first step Orwell saw in obtaining control of language was to disorient the public from the normal dependency of time and day and place to the new time (all clocks had the hour 13) and date (dates were changed so rapidly that one was never sure what month it was, let alone what year, and place where the names and even the shapes are changed frequently. We carry our memories with us and when someone else can screw with your memories you lose your sense of identity. We see this done in revisionist history were the power at the moment attempts to rewrite the collective memory by rewriting the collective history. Thus all references such as flags as symbols of the old south and all talk of the states rights struggles that continued up to the time of Kennedy are slowly being erased because somehow any mention is the least upsetting to a few members of society and the new morality demands lies instead of truths. We must eliminate all offensive words and phrases, only polite and respectful speech will be allowed. We may not judge people by their sexual practices, the physical beauty or lack of it in their bodies. All cultures are equal and some, as long as they are white, are more equal. All religions must be respected except if they offend someone else or are of a foreign nature or culture. the list goes on ad nauseum. But it all says one thing, that we are stupid people (meaning incapable of learning from our mistakes) who do not wish to think for ourselves and are willing to trust a supreme authority.
Not that we should extol the virtues of those moral right conservatives whose manta is “Unlimited freedom”. It’s not that religion plays too large a part in their political and social thinking but that theocracy does. Why have so many ordinary and decent people allowed themselves to believe that attention to religious authority is freedom? I have never met a minister, a parson, a priest, or any other religious leader who did not view his appointment to leader as an appointment to authority in all manners of religion and moral authority. I view the Pope, the Imans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and all the other religious leaders, even the Dali Lama, as the Great Satans of the world. They all know what is best for us and aren’t shy about trying to force their beliefs upon the rest of us. The irony is that a religious is a very personal one. I mean, it’s about you as an individual and your god. There is no one else involved, just you and him or she or it or whatever. And who the hell are you to tell me exactly what, where, when, and why to believe down to the last jot and iota? I much prefer a disorganized religion to one that is well organized.
But this thing about freedom gets to be annoying. People, there really is not such thing as freedom, not in the classic individual sense. Rugged individualism is really not freedom, it is exclusion from the rest of society and whether we like it or not we are members of society since there are very few wild frontiers left to inhabit. Human society is built on cooperation and group membership, the two go hand in hand. How more simple can I make it for you? That is the meaning of life. We are born into a group, our family, and we have no choice in the matter, then we spend our lives joining and discarding groups until we die, and death is the only thing that truly individual about us. Sing about love and kumbaya all you want, but this is it. This is all the meaning you will ever get out of your lives. Freedom is about responsibility because we don’t exercise it in a vacuum. It involves other people whose lives we may or may not touch. I am free to abandon my wife and children as I am free to live with them, love them, and give them what substanance I can. Freedom is choice. And that means that if a woman wants to have some measure of “freedom” over her body, it means she wants the responsibility to do with it what she wants and that involves the freedom to make choices. If she wants to have an abortion what right do you have to tell her no, she can’t have one? Why do you insist on trying to take her freedom away? I mean, if she want to be a member of your groups and share your values and goals, then yes, you have the right to tell her that abortion is not one of your values and goals and maybe she would be happier in another group. But that is where it must end.
That is the problem with these two groups of belief systems, and I call them belief systems because that is exactly what they are, what they do. Before the last great war the universities and colleges in America were dominated by the conservative groups and often times those who were obviously liberal but not necessarily progressive, were denied tenure or even teaching positions. After the last great war we see to positions changes and it is the conservative who is denied tenure and teaching positions. The only exceptions to this general rule is in those areas of science and applied science where your political belief doesn’t mean a damn thing to an atom or a geological fault line. Chemistry is still chemistry no matter your politics. It’s nice to know that there are still somethings in life you can’t bullshit. No progressive liberal or moral conservative will ever be able to make 2 + 2 = 5, or any other number but 4. No way, no how. It’s not that these people on both sides aren’t good people, for they are. They care passionately about their fellow man. They seek to do good as they know the meaning of good. Thier collective sin is that they stopped thinking for themselves, assuming that they ever did think for themselves. They rely on authority to do their thinking for them. They believe in unicorns and eat rainbow stew and drink sparkling bubble up and live on opposite sides of the big rock candy mountain. And they are willing to do unspeakable atrocities in the name of their beliefs they hold so righteously. Sometimes I think I’d rather be a hermit than live in these societies of idiots.