I've been delaying this post for a while, because I wanted to
discuss this topic after covering the origins of
religion. However, here I am...
Now I've mentioned before that I believe there is a political element
to religion that many authors often ignore. Religion has been used in
the past, and is still used, as a method for keeping certain people
ignorant and others in power. No doubt kingdoms were forged through
brute force, whereas the priesthood gained power through stealth, and
there have been groups of people throughout
history, who have sought to prevent progress on the grounds of heresy. Proof that
the great religions have a vested interest in maintaining a status quo.
Of Ron Hubbard (the
"... [Hubbard] began making statements to the effect that any writer
who really wished to make money should stop writing and develop [a]
religion, or …
People being murdered is hardly a newsworthy event (except perhaps to the few involved), but
I've already noticed the US Constitution being brought
out to defend the right to bear
arms. The argument
goes that if the college students had had concealed weapons, somebody
would have averted the slaughter, Jack Bower style.
All well and good, but certainly I can't imagine the same kind of loss
of life if the murderer had only had a club at his disposal. Weapons
makers must take some responsibility.
That being said, I also can't imagine a world without firearms, and
certainly understand the strong feeling some have, in wanting to
preserve their very existence. You only have one life and it is entirely reasonable to prevent other
humans taking it!
Turning then to the US Constitution, I recently found this fascinating
text by Lysander Spooner, called No
which questions the very authority …
I'm in the process of writing a few disparate posts that are
united by a common thread: a question that I find myself asking with
greater frequency. Simply put, it is the question of the extent that
nefarious intentions have played in human history. Have people directly manipulated others so as to remain better off? The
answer on a general level must be yes. But I want to know more - and
over a few posts will ask whether the founders and spreaders of
religion and society, knew what they were doing? Have all the intentions been honourable, or
is there no such thing as an honest public servant?
If my The Selfish Gene were to have a Volume Two devoted to humans,
The Origins of Virtue is pretty much what I think it ought to look
Praise indeed. The book ends with the conclusion that part of the
problem with modern society, is bloated and unnecessary government:
If we are to recover social harmony and virtue, if we are to build
back into society the virtues that made it work for us, it is vital
that we reduce the power and scope of the state. That does not mean
a vicious war of all against all. It means devolution: devolution of
power over people's lives to parishes, computer networks, clubs,
teams, self-help groups, small businesses - everything small and
local. It means a massive disassembling of the public bureaucracy.