The Pope reaches my city, New York, today—fresh from communing with like-minded socialist leaders in Cuba and DC and ignoring Cuban dissidents.
We have, as a species, wasted millennia arguing over which religious or governmental faction is best suited to guide humanity, and whether religion is better or worse than government, centuries interrupted only by the occasional nitwit insisting all those factions are wonderful in their own ways. In truth, of course, they’re all terrible.
So much useless energy is wasted fighting over which of these little tribes is worse than other ones, all because so few people lack the courage to reject them all at the same time. When you’ve sunk to having arguments over whether Pope Francis is a communist, a quasi-fascist Peronista, or just a garden-variety liberal anti-capitalist, maybe you should just start ignoring the guy and his organization until they go out of business. Why let them wield such influence?
As the punks and Margaret Sanger liked to say, “No gods, no masters.” And let’s not fight about whether Sanger or the punks were awful as well. Everyone is, of course.
Picking just one faction to attack inevitably looks bigoted, even if the target deserves it. Ann Coulter denounced atheists at length in her book Godless—but now also takes to Twitter to echo the Founders’ suspicions about the loyalties of Catholics. Does anyone imagine she will end this streak by forming a new friendly, sustainable coalition? It sounds more like she’s on the road to a much-needed vacation and cooling-off period. If so, I hope in isolation she comes to the realization that individuality is best, and that all the tribal warfare inhibits it.
Even when people try to “rise above” the fray—rather than running from it—they often end up floating around in some silly space without enough oxygen to the brain. Some of the “intelligent design” advocates pride themselves on having no particular religious denomination—but that probably won’t stop them saying something ignorant and ridiculous about, for example, the news this week that some bugs have articulate gears in their joints.
We science adherents would say that’s just a reminder that gears are efficient and that they will tend to happen after billions of years of evolutionary competition. The ID fans will probably proclaim it as obvious evidence of the Designer’s handiwork. Ben Carson has reportedly denounced evolutionary theory as a tool of Satan and thinks the Big Bang is an implausible tale, so he might agree. But then, aren’t the ID folk just a slightly more sophisticated version of those dazed-seeming people who see “evidence” for God in every robin or sunrise?
Let us be frank: Few remotely sane people believe there is a God, or any other paranormal/supernatural phenomena, and large, disturbing cognitive failings are usually revealed by any protracted conversation with religious people. Yet, and this is key, that doesn’t mean that you can become sane merely by ditching religion. Look at Lena Dunham, who has proudly turned to astrology (the predictive powers of which have never once been statistically proven) or even Bill Maher, who for all his condescending patter goes in for holistic medicine and anti-vaccination claims big-time.
It’s not enough to pick sides. All of these idiots, all of them, must be left behind and you must think—cautiously, rationally, with some help from others’ research but above all skeptically—for yourself.
—Todd Seavey can be found on Twitter, Blogger, and Facebook, daily on Splice Today, and soon on bookshelves with the volume Libertarianism for Beginners.