Sunday, April 30, 2006

The evil in the world

The Evil:

Not long after the election in 2004 I had a dream where I had been locked up in a mental facility. While I was there something fundamental in the moral/spiritual fabric of the universe changed. It flipped so that what used to be normal no longer existed. The basic goodness at the core of existence disappeared leaving only those things we call evil.

There was once a morality that permeated society in an Andy Griffith or Dick Van Dyke Show kind of way where people greeting each other in fellowship rather than being fearful, averting one's gaze, and clutching one's purse or children lest they be snatched. Of course these shows were idealized, sanitized versions of white suburban or rural life, but in general, even in the heyday of jazz in the heart of New Orleans there was a basic norm in the fabric of society where the very idea of children taking guns to school and killing their fellow students would have been impossible to imagine. There is something very wrong in America today. Oddly, within days of this dream I came across an online article about a soldier transfered from Iraq to Ramstein under heavy sedation with the ruse that he was psychotic for speaking out against the atrocities he saw commited by soldiers in his own unit.

This topic came up in a conversation just this morning. Three very insightful things were said to me.

1) In a cartoon of Bush a number of things were listed (lying to go war, commiting a war of naked aggression, torturing people against the Geneva Conventions, etc) but because he committed no sexual indiscretion he was not impeachable and that Clinton's indiscretion was between him and his wife and should never have become public business and certainly did not meet the test of high crimes and misdemeanors.

2) The real rot in America began when Reagan invited the Evangelicals into the Republican Party.

3) It is evil to bring an unwanted child into the world.

There is something fundamentally wrong when the whole of morality is based purely on the sexual acts of human beings. There is far more to knowing right from wrong than this alone. Being obsessed about such acts is the product of a diseased mind and threatens to overrun what remains of the fabric of our society. That this element is running amok in America today is evidence of the tattered state of our society and the diseased state of our collective mind.

Re-establishing the Good:

The place to begin is to re-establish right from wrong. Sexual behavior alone is not the measure of all morality. It is but one aspect of the totality of moral behavior and must be put back in its proper context. It does no good to insist on sexual chastity and purity when our government lies to its people to start a war of aggression, and, detains, tortures, and kills innocent people. Abortion and gay marriage as threats to our country rank pretty low against these atrocities.

And in the grand scale of rampant poverty, slave wages, exporting jobs, the denial of medical care to millions, and the malpractice of medicine for profit renders the entire "culture of life" movement morally bankrupt.

At the heart of this moral bankruptcy is the utter failure to know the difference between humanity and inhumanity. The most absolutely necessary quality that distinguishes a human being from a two-legged monster is the feeling of commiseration, the ability to put oneself in another's place and walk a mile in their shoes. Those who lack this empathy are capable of the most heinous, depraved, and evil acts imaginable, not to mention those unthinkable. Who could have ever predicted the cold efficiency of the Nazi death camps with the cries of the suffering people falling on deaf ears and dead hearts?

Anyone claiming to be the only source of universal or absolute moral truth is a cult. All cults are despotic and totalitarian by nature because they short-circuit the individual's own moral conscience and replace it with delusional dogma. How else can denying the simplest medical care to a child and expecting faith alone to effect a cure be explained? If my house were on fire I would throw water on it or get an extinguisher rather than fall on my knees and expect prayer alone to put it out. Moreover, it was through religious and racial zealotry that the greatest crimes against humanity were carried out. We can never let that happen again.

If we are to ensure that America is safe for all people of the world to live here, then we must stand up to anyone, especially the religious zealots and their cults masquerading as Christians, and put a stop to their designs to remake America and the world in their image. They put us all in mortal danger by pretending to play God and judge who is fit to live and who is not. These organizations must be recognized as a real threat to our country and utterly discredited as cults.

But first, we must be clear on knowing right from wrong based on our ability to commiserate with the sufferings of others and from that determine what is fair and humane for all.