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Thursday, December 23, 2004

 

Week 1: The Biggest Threat To America

So far my esteemed collegues have touched on maturity, economic definitions, applying "Third World" ideas to the US, and the American people themselves. However, there's one topic I haven't seen that could be considered an addition to the American people: stupidity.

What is stupidity, you ask? Stupidity is the sort of mob mentality flowing, unchecked, through the United States like a menstrual period with no tampon(you're welcome for that mental image, too). After 9/11, the collective mental state of the American people became a red-neck hunter-inspired "Let's kill us some foreigners(pronounced FAW-ren-erz)."

This could turn into a rant on why Iraq was a bad idea(I've had plenty of those, most involving trying desperately to reason with an unreasonable retired US Army First Sergeant), or why I hate George W Bush(I do), or why religion really could be the downfall of civilized society(that one's gonna get me flamed), but right now I'd prefer to rant on the reasons all of these things have happened: the American people's own stupidity.

See, after terrorists decided to crash some jumbo jets into the World Trade Center, Americans have been like a giant herd of sheep that just happen to know how to vote(well, half of them know how to vote). Every conservative I talk to spouts off what they've heard from George Bush or Bill O'Reilly or their equally conservative parents(I hate high school) like it came straight from the mouth of God, and when confronted with a logical, reasonable argument, they decide, instead of listening and making up their own mind for a change, to call me an idiot and/or a traitor.

I think I have a reason for this, too. Ever since television became the #1 babysitter in America, Americans have been less and less eager to think for themselves. George Bush & Co. noticed this, and while using 9/11 as a catalyst, launched a massive operation to control the thoughts and beliefs of most Americans.

I know this sounds far-fetched, and it probably didn't happen exactly as I say it, but you get the gist of it. I'm simply trying to say Americans have become mentally lazy. Why do we need to think of a way to fix Social Security when we can just get rid of it and throw it to the stock market wolves? Why do we need to demand a plan for Iraq when George Bush says everything will be OK and assures us we're fighting the good fight and winning? The conservative side is the side for people who don't like to come up with real solutions. It's the quick way out of a problem for people who are too lazy to think about a real fix. America's own stupidity has given us another 4 years of George Bush (mis)running the country, and therefore given Americas another 4 years to not worry about thinking for themselves. My question is, how bad will it have to get before we have to scrape the cobwebs out of our heads and hope we still know how to use that soft mass of gray matter?

I turn 18 in 12 days and I get it, why doesn't the rest of the country?

Comments:
...why religion really could be the downfall of civilized society(that one's gonna get me flamed)Not by me. That statement will get you a big compliment. Religion = Inability to think for yourself.

Every conservative I talk to spouts off what they've heard from George Bush or Bill O'Reilly or their equally conservative parents(I hate high school) like it came straight from the mouth of God, and when confronted with a logical, reasonable argument, they decide, instead of listening and making up their own mind for a change, to call me an idiot and/or a traitor.It's sad that difference in opinion has become an offense that is punishible by law. People disagree all the time. If everyone thought the same way, we would be just another cult, lacing up our Nike's and waiting for the comet to arrive. Name calling is just the final defense from people who know they have lost a debate. There's nothing wrong with losing a debate, or having your morals and ethics questioned by someone else. If more people we able to discuss things intelligently, we might be better off as a country. You can't be correct 100% of the time.

The conservative side is the side for people who don't like to come up with real solutions. It's the quick way out of a problem for people who are too lazy to think about a real fix.I think that we can place blame equally aross the board. The definition of conservative is "someone who is opposed to change", and the definition of liberal is "forward thinking, and open to ideas". Being a 100% liberal society would be just as bad as being a 100% conservative country. You need the two to balance each other out. Otherwise we'll either be perpetually stuck in 1950, or forever suspended in a state of constant change, and no stability.

I turn 18 in 12 days and I get it, why doesn't the rest of the country?Because they all voted on morals, and not politics.

Nice post!
 
It's been a year and a half since I got out of high school, and I am now beginning to see the truth in what Phillip Seymore Hoffman's character in Almost Famous said: "you'll see them all again on their long journey to the middle."
 
Sorry I'm so belated in getting to this. Just asking one question about one point.

CL and Eddie (I think it's Eddie that made the original post here), do you differentiate between religion and spirituality?

Public kowtowing to religious forms, without any understanding of the ideals behind them, is IMO evil. Private determination to live according to a particular set of morals and religious structures is neutral. Deep-seated belief in a deity, and worship/prayer/obedience to same, depends on the nature of the deity.

Religion, in and of itself, is no more evil than money. It's what you do with it that determines good or evil.
 
Private religion in itself isn't a bad thing. While I personally think religion is a mark of mental weakness, I'm not going to force anyone to not be religious. It's organized religion that could be the downfall of civilized society, because it's used chiefly as a tool to make it's clergy very wealthy people.
 
Morgen: Perhaps I should clarify a bit. I do see a huge difference between religion and spirituality. I have studied world religions as a hobby for a few years now, and I have a lot of personal experience with Christianity. My mother baptized me Christian when I was 9 or 10, and I got my 1st communion at 11. I went to St. Piux X private school for a few years, and I was even an altar boy for a while (insert pederast joke here). Then I got older and was able to make my own decisions, and decided that I didn't agree with what I was being told was "right". Nothing spoils you on religion faster than having your bible teacher tell you to cut your hair because long hair is a sin, while she was standing in front of a picture of... Jesus Christ, with long, flowing hair.

I am an Agnostic; if I can't prove the existence of God, then how can I disprove it? My problem isn't with spirituality, my problem is with the institutions that dole out this crap. Here's how I define the two:

Spirituality is someone who, although they may not subscribe to any particular religion, still believes in either the spirit world, the afterlife, a higher power of some kind, or even just faith in something unseen. I have no problem with that. Everyone needs something to believe in, whether it's tangible or not. If going out and using this spirituality or belief in a god to help yourself, help others and find inner peace through meditation, or peyote or prayer makes you happy, then more power to you. I personally don't believe in a god or an afterlife, but I do believe loosely in the concept of Karma, and the reaction, Vipaka. I believe in this, because it's a "golden rule" belief. Do unto others. As cynical as I appear to be, I actually do enjoy performing good deeds for others, and I believe that the act of doing so betters me as a person.

Religion is an institution with rules and regulations, just like every business out there. There are certain things you can and cannot do, and if you don't adhere to their rules, then you're doomed to an eternity of pain. Put bluntly, religion in general is just a tool of indoctrination. I also feel that a large number of organized religions are based on hatred and suffering. That, to me, is not the way to go through life. More wars are started in the name of religion than because of anything else. And even if it isn't, some followers will claim to be fighting a "Holy War", just to assure them a place in paradise. Religion is used to spread intolerance of people of other races, genders, sexual orientation, religious beliefs... the list goes on and on.

I think that taking any book, be it the Bible, Koran, The Book of Mormon or Dianetics, at any more than face value, is accepting ignorance. Believing in the Bible as a guide to help you through life is understandable, and I have no issues with that. My problem is with the zealots who attempt to take every word literally, and end up twisting the message into something completely untrue. The Bible was rewritten and translated so many times that the original message is lost. Following the Bible word for word requires a complete lack of original thought, because there are so many obviously glaring contradictions that only someone who is brainwashed would fail to see it.

I hope that answers your question, I'm pretty much agreeing with what you said.

"Religion, in and of itself, is no more evil than money. It's what you do with it that determines good or evil."
 
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