Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page
Most of my friends on the Failbook are all liberals. Many of them (unfortunately, some of whom I am minutely related to by blood) are all-out socialists. Okay, I’ll admit it. One of my female cousins describes herself as a “trotskyist.” Gawd.
Today she posted one of the more ridiculous links I’ve so far seen: a petition to “forgive student loan debt.” Not surprisingly, the petition is filled with signatures from a bunch of whiners who say things like this:
# 25,391:8:22 am PST, Feb 25, (name redacted), Illinois
We went to college, we got jobs, we did it right. So how come myself and many of my fellow graduates are living in relative poverty, and will be unable to own homes or pursue higher education in the future. Shouldn’t we be rewarded for our efforts?
# 25,358:8:17 am PST, Feb 25, Julie Carmen, Colorado
I am one of the middle class that is about to graduate with an MS and will be paying off my student loans until I retire, when I should be paying off my home and investing in my retirement. I am so happy to have a higher education, but feel that I will have to work 2 full-time jobs in order to pay my bills and be able to retire.
The list goes on:
8:17 am PST, Feb 25, Marianne Szalega, Michigan
Last year my school loan went to the Federal Direct Loan program as a means of “help” for me. This program is no different than the Sallie Mae scam. I went this way instead of defaulting on my student loan (which by the way I paid back $6,000, the loan was for $5,000, and I presently owe over $12,000. How ridiculous is that! All accrued interest. Money for nothing and the education I will pay for the rest of my life was obsolete before I got out of school. (Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts was teaching analog methods while the industry went digital.) Sallie Mae would never work with me on payment amounts (they said it was because they could not legally). I sent monthly payments that I could afford anyway but that sent me to default status and they threatened collections. That’s when the bank called that guaranteed the loan in the first place, telling me that the direct loan program from the federal government was my salvation as they had a income contingent payment plan for me. Rather than default I applied for the direct loan program. Well I have only seasonal income which is not enough to make a living on so guess what? In little over a year I have accrued almost $2,000 in new interest debt. A note to President Obama, THIS IS NOT HELP. This will hang over my head in everything I do and attempt to do for the rest of my life (already over 50). I wrote to the direct loan program, the secretary of education, Mr. Bush (then president), my congresswoman, my state legislator and my governor’s office asking for forgiveness on this loan and I receive a copy of the same letter back from each office telling me that there is no way my loan could be forgiven because than other people could not get loans. Well of course not, they were working on the bail out the financial institutions who went on fabulous vacations and still is using our money without accountability. I am not in this position due to my lack of desire to work. I have tried and tried to make a living while the middle class I belong to was being sabotaged. Another thing that should happen with all this talk of re-educating middle aged workers, is a better check on the schools who will be the recipient of the money! Get rid of the schools that take the money and do not provide the education you have paid for. Better yet, President Obama, hire me to oversee this effort, I have the experience that matters, I’ve been through this, it’s part of my life. Hey, then I can pay that “school” loan and pave the way for others to get their “loans”
Nothing comes for free. Every single one of these assholes who signed this petition thinks that a reasonable solution to their own personal problems is to make billions of dollars simply disappear from the books of the banks that issued these loans. Some of them are smart enough to realize that someone has to pay the banks (namely the tax payers), but where do the tax payers get the money? The buck has to stop somewhere. Wealth (i.e. money) derives from value, and value has to be created through human effort. This is such a basic and obvious principle, but you read these posts and it’s quite clear that these people either don’t get it or choose to ignore it. Someone has to work for that money you owe on your student loans. You are the sole beneficiary of the degree that resulted from the money loaned, so why should anyone else be responsible for paying it back?
You chose to go to school, you chose to take out loans to pay for it; You didn’t ask me first. Why should I pay your bills? This one also blows my mind. This question doesn’t even cross the minds of the people who want their school loans to magically disappear. They are so short sighted that the only thing on their radar is the fact that they want more disposable income every month and if only they didn’t have student loans, they would have it. They don’t take the next step and ask the next logical question. Liberals in general have the attitude that the world should help them whenever they need it, but “what goes around comes around” is not in their vocabularies. That explains why conservatives give far more to charity than liberals ever do. It’s always one sided with them – they take, the never give.
Of course you have to pay interest. Why should a bank give you thousands of dollars for free? Your interest payments pay the people who processed your loans. They pay for the building that these people work in. They pay for the subsidized health benefits given to the employees of the bank. A bank cannot operate by giving away thousands of dollars for decades at a time and not asking for more back than they borrowed, especially when you factor in inflation, something idiots like the ones who sign this petition don’t even bother thinking about. Obama is likely to oversee 10% inflation for 4 years straight. Every time the dollar weakens the bank who isssued you the loan has just lost a lot of money because the terms of your loan have not changed but the value of what you’re paying them has. If $1000 is worth $1000 in 2005 but only worth $100 in 2010, the bank has lost $900 on your loan.
I’ll leave you with another anecdote from my liberal, socialist, retarded cousin. Keep in mind that my cousin is still an undergrad and works part time for minimum wage. Yet somehow she managed to acquire (and is proud of) a credit card with a $5,000 limit. The last time I saw her, she was spending money like water and I wondered how the hell she can afford it. I asked her. “So hey, where’d you get all this money?” and her response was: “Oh, my card’s limit was just increased by $2,000 and I just paid off the balance I had, so I have plenty of money.” In case you missed this, my cousin equated her credit card limit with actual possession of wealth. Because she could theoretically spend $5,000, in her mind, she had $5,000.
In case you ever wondered how so many Americans can find themselves in so much debt all the time, this is how. Unfortunately, I know exactly how she became what she became. Her father (who worked for the Republican party) died early, and her mother’s prudent use of the $100,000 in life insurance she got from his untimely death went to a $15,000 trip to Disney World, brand new computers, and who knows what else. If she had put that money in CODs or 501′s, my cousin would not have any college debt because it would have been paid for, and she would not be wasting her time signing dumbass petitions like this. I’m sure my uncle is rolling in his grave – not because his daughter has some debt thansk to his wife squandering his life insurance policy – but because of how clueless and retarded his two children became under the guidance of only my aunt, who is a trainwreck with money.
My point here is not only that these people lack basic life understanding about actually paying their own damn bills, but that those of us who do should not have anything to do with people like this, and we certainly shouldn’t help them. They had their cake. Now it’s time for them to eat it.
Stop voting for people who will transfer your wealth to these people. How can you be so stupid?
In other words, “I won’t dignify this with a response.” Also known as the liberal’s favorite response to practically everything.
The other day I was listening to some liberal whine about how he doesn’t understand how conservatives think. Of course he doesn’t. That’s why he’s a liberal!
He gets to a point where he plays a clip of Michael Savage explaining how autism is merely the illness d’jour and most of it boils down to the lack of a parent figure telling their children to stop crying and acting like an idiot.
I don’t want this debate to devolve into the merits of autism diagnoses but the facts are pretty clear. As Savage pointed out in the same rant, asthma used to be diagnosed en masse in children collecting state benefits. Did they have asthma? It doesn’t matter. If a doctor says they do, they do. And if a doctor says they do, they get more money every month from Uncle Sam (that means you and me, folks). When it comes down to it, doctors are people too, and their word does not dictate reality. I trust doctors as much as the next guy, but I also believe in second opinions. Trust but verify, right?
But anyway, back to the issue at hand. As the liberal plays this clip, which to me as a conservative resonates quite nicely and in fact paraphrases some of the exact same sentiments my fiancee and I have exchanged about autism, he finishes by saying something I’ve only ever heard liberals say: “I won’t dignify this with a response.”
Why not? Is it because their only response is to repeat some dumbass mantra like “autism is real lol!”?
But let’s not dwell on specifics here because like I said, bogus diagnoses is just the specifics, not the general. When someone says “I won’t dignify that with a response” to me, I immediately discount them as what they are. If you are trying to have a discourse with me, someone whose worldview is vastly different than yours, and you drop a line like that, I am left only to conclude one of the following:
- You are an elitist who has already decided that whichever worldview you currently ascribe is unfalteringly correct and are unwilling to consider anyone else’s regardless of facts;
- You don’t have a legitimate response, because none exists, but you won’t let that stop you from continuing to believe whatever it is that you currently believe (in other words, you are religiously committed to your ideas and will not give them up even when you know intellectually that they are wrong);
- You don’t have a legitimate response because you are incapable of explaining how you think in a manner which someone else could understand (and what follows, inevitably, is that you haven’t thought your own beliefs through. As anyone with teaching experience will tell you, you don’t know anything until you successfully explain it to someone else).
- You don’t have any respect for my worldview and therefore me, in which case I would question why we are even speaking in the first place. I would further question your commitment to liberal values like inclusiveness and understanding, but hypocrisy comes with the liberal territory.
I’m not going to claim that conservatives never say this, but when they do it is almost always something indisputable like, for example, the reality of the holocaust. When a conservative won’t dignify a response to a holocaust denier, it is a vastly different situation.
Obama’s off to a great start, isn’t he?
I know several of my coworkers are bleeding heart dyed-in-the-wool liberals. Some of them wiped away their tears at his inaguration, which they left their desks for 2 hours to watch on the television downstairs at the lounge.
Oh, how quickly they’ve turned!
On Friday, we had our monthly social hour at the end of the day. And the only thing anyone was talking about – including these people (mostly women) who were desperately in love with the prophet Barack – is how the stimulus plan is the worst legislation they have seen in their entire lives (many of which included adult life under Jimmy Carter).
Even Jack Cafferty at CNN, one of the most liberal douchebags to pen a column, has suggested that Obama will be out in 4 years.
Would John McCain have spent $800 billion of your children’s money?
At this point, I really just want to beat my head against a wall. I spell it out in plain English. I use simple words. I plead. I beg. I do everything I can to convince people that Obama – especially in conjunction with venemous duo of Pelosi and Reid – was a disaster waiting to happen.
But Obama’s an educated black man who gives pretty speeches and he’s not in the same party as George Bush, so nothing I could have said mattered. People voted entirely with their emotions.
Now the emotional high of getting Bush out of office and their beloved Obama into office has passed and they’re starting to think with their heads again.
And everyone – and I do mean everyone – is looking at congress, who, in the midst of a recession triggered by Americans assuming too much debt, many of whom ran successful campaigns on a slogan about the cost of war in Iraq, thinks the solution is assuming more debt than the New Deal and the Marshall Plan cost combined – and wonders what they’re thinking.
I wonder what you were thinking when you voted for the people who are now squandering money we don’t have.
All I can do is shake my head. These people are over fifty years old, some of them, and they still haven’t learned not to elect people who think the solution to every problem is to spend it away.
I look at these people who I know voted for Barack Obama and all I see is a little kid who stuck her hand in a mouse trap and then cried when it closed on her.
If you voted for Barack Obama, this is your stimulus bill. John McCain would have vetoed this bill if it made its way to his desk. He’s said so publicly.
Why, then, has not a single person who supported Barack Obama come forward and tried to defend this spending bill to me? It’s not even that they can’t, it’s that they won’t. They see it as the disaster the rest of us sees it, because they have common sense.
My only hope here is that in the end it doesn’t matter. People like Pat Buchanan whine incesseantly that our lack of manufacturing and trade defecits with China harken the end of America.
But when you think about it, what’s going on here? We are printing little green rectangular pieces of paper with a dead presidents on them and giving them to China in exchange for cars and cupie dolls.
Really, who’s getting the better bargain?
Sure, we “owe” China lots of money. But suppose tomorrow we decide not to pay them back? Are they going to nuke us?
Not to mention the fact that we can always pay them back. All we have to do is fire up the printing presses and print more rectangular green pieces of paper. Inflation skyrockets (which it will, under Obama, nearly certainly), but that’s as bad for China as it is for us, because the paper they got in exchange for the cars that are long driven and scrapped is now worth nothing. Who got the better deal?
So really, maybe it doesn’t matter.
But what if it does?
Let this be a lesson to you, kids. When you vote for a spend happy liberal, no matter how well he delivers an idyllic speech about hope and change – you get spending, regardless of whether or not we can afford it.
Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for an Obama voter to explain to me why the stimulus bill will increase the value of my 401k back to 2005 levels. Who was president in 2005, again?
So recently my fiancee has been passively-aggressively getting her panties in a twist because I started to play WOTLK. That’s the most recent WoW expansion for those not in the loop.
And I play a lot. Lately I’ve been playing almost every night, and most of the weekend.
That must make me an addict, right?
Okay. I’ll be the first one to admit that one of the telltale signs of an addict is denial. But let’s consider some of the other signs & symptoms. I took this from a drug/alcohol addiction site, and replaced “drugs/alcohol” with “WoW”.
(interesting note – as I started typing the word “drug” my fingers instinctively want to type “druid” – is that bad?)
Of this list, these are the ones that I do not exhibit, nor ever have, throughout playing WoW:
These are the “addictive” behaviors that I do express as they relate to WoW:
But let’s talk about these.
First, #1 is total bullshit. Every hobby that anyone enjoys serves the purpose of forgetting problems and relaxing, including sex, eating, sleeping, watching TV, etc.
#2, problems with schoolwork, is probably incidental. I played World of Warcraft during my senior year of college. I almost didn’t graduate. It’s hard to say that WoW is the cause of this. I have always been a crappy student anyway – and given all the other things that were happening (I was very depressed, I was breaking up with a longterm girlfriend, I was really sick of college, etc) there are just too many variables. In my defense, my fiancee was a worse student than I was and she never played WoW.
#3, for people who know me, is only tangentially applicable since I tend to avoid friends in the first place. It’s not that I’m anti-social, it’s more that so few people impress me enough for me to want to interact with them that I just don’t bother. So “friend” here means “talks to willingly” and I tend to talk more to people who play WoW because we have something in common to talk about that doesn’t include the weather or other bullshit idle small talk.
#4 is somewhat true. I have quit and returned to WoW twice now. But honestly, months pass in between my WoW “lapses” and it’s really more because life is boring without WoW. It’s the winter time right now. I can’t do many outdoor projects, I’m too broke to do expensive projects (did I mention that European honeymoons are expensive?) and I hate television and reading.
One sign that isn’t mentioned here, and the sign that I think is the compelling factor, is the sheer amount of time I devote to the game. I can easily play for 8, 10 hours at a time. Does that make me an addict?
Here’s the thing. It’s not that it’s WoW per se that I am so desperate to play. It’s more the fact that it is the single most enjoyable activity outside of sex, which is limited by physical factors, that I have so far encountered. It’s merely a habbit I enjoy tremendously.
Think about people who read furiously, play a lot of golf, or spend all week looking forward to spending most of Saturday out fishing. Are they addicted?
The answer is always no, even though I can’t see why these activities are less qualified as addictions than WoW, except for one thing: WoW is extremely available all the time.
You can’t just go up to the den and go fishing. You can’t slink down into the basement and go golfing. Books are short- you need a lot of them, and they’re tiring on the eyes.
Are people who sit in front on the TV after work all night less addicted to TV than I am to WoW?
Does the fact that you enjoy a wider variety of activities make you somehow a better person than someone who has found one single thing that they enjoy to do?
If your hobby of choice were as accessible as mine is, you’d probably do it as much as I do.
Now, there is one aspect of WoW that makes it somewhat “dangerous” as a hobby, and that’s the fact that it’s a social game. Compared to someone who likes to blow their weeknights watching TV, the couch potato can shut off the TV any time she wants without affecting anyone. When you play WoW, frequently you are cooperating with a group to accomplish a goal, and if you abandon them it inconveniences everyone . Thus, WoW players can sometimes get caught up in situations where they really do want to stop, but they keep playing so they don’t screw their friends.
WoW is really closer as hobbies go to something like a league team sport. Suppose you loved playing rec basketball, you could do it effectively forever, and your team was always available and ready to play right inside your house. Wouldn’t you do it as much as someone like me plays WoW? And, once you started a game with your team, would you walk off the court whenever you felt like it, or would you stay in the game until it was over?
I think the people who criticize WoW as an addiction are really just jealous that they don’t have such a perfect hobby (or any hobby). They have to go through so much more effort to achieve enjoyment.
In my case, my fiancee is all pissy because she herself doesn’t have anything to do. She expects me to entertain her or something. When I say, “Sure honey, I’ll stop playing WoW as soon as you tell me what we’re going to do together,” her answer is a blank stare. Okay, fine, then I’ll keep playing WoW.
My name is Evan, and I think WoW addiction is over blown.
I was born and raised in the same small town.
It wasn’t really that small for practical purposes. For example, my high school graduating class had over 550 kids in it. A lot of them had long bus rides, because the population density was sparse. So from that angle, there were plenty of kids I didn’t know.
Nevertheless, since it’s such a small place, the odds of meeting other human beings from my childhood neck of the woods, especially now that I live many hours away from it, is very small.
I find it amazing how much my opinion of a person instantly changes when I know they either currently live or at some point lived within, say, a 10 mile radius of where I grew up.
Take, for example, a recent work acquaitance who has the potential to be either a tremendous ally or a dangerous foe, depending on how things play out. He’s British. But as it turns out, he currently lives about 7 miles away from the house I grew up in. I immediately feel like I have things in common with him even though he’s 20 years older than me and was obviously born and likely spent the majority of his life in England. Nothing else has changed, but I suddenly like him a whole lot more.
Isn’t that funny?
It isn’t hard to understand why broader attitudes like nationalism develop – I think it’s just extensions of the instinctual tribalistic nature we all try to bury deep under thousands of dollars of expensive intellectualized education. This guy is suddenly part of my tribe because he lives in the forest that I used to live in. Being human is fun.
Jarhead is an awful movie about a marine serving in Desert Storm.
One of the major plot themes used to illustrate how much life sucks as a marine is that the main character’s girlfriend breaks up with him while he’s on his tour of duty, presumably to screw another man. During one of the rare opportunities he gets to call home, he calls her and she starts talking about another man - the other man – and naturally this screws with the poor marine’s head more than it’s already being screwed with by sitting in the middle of an open desert for months at a time with nothing to look at but sand and nothing to do but …. well, think.
This girl failed such an important test. Let’s break down exactly what’s wrong with this picture:
First, the nature of the situation is that a young man is going to one of the worst places on earth to serve a grueling tour of duty. He is answering the call of service that only a fraction of young man answer. Now, granted, in this particular situation it wasn’t nearly as noble as I’m portraying it – he almost went involuntarily because he had nothing better to do with this life – but that’s actually a good point. Whether he was serving involuntarily or voluntarily, he’s serving his duty.
Now, like it or not, this girl happens to be tight with a man who is about to leave for Iraq. Regardless of her true intentions, it is her duty to support him. If that means pretending they are still madly in love until his tour is over and he’s back in the States where her replacement is only one night out away, then so be it. Tough shit that if it were up to her that he’s going to war. Either break up with him before he leaves (which is dishonorable, but not nearly as bad as doing it while he’s oversees – or don’t screw around behind his back and then tell him about it while he’s on duty. The enormous control she is given by nature of the circumstance over his mindset necessarily requires that she does her part to make sure he has some happy thought – namely her – to think about while he sits in the desert and possibly dodges bombs and bullets.
Second, the fact that she lacks the common sense or decency not to talk about other men to a marine stationed overseas is mindblowing. What kind of support could this girl possibly be in life if she can’t even figure that much out?
I knew as soon as I saw this movie that my first girlfriend of five years – that evil harpy – would have failed this test in a similiar fashion. She was clueless and inconsiderate. I am positive my current woman – the girl I will be marrying in just about six months – would not fail this test. This is a major difference between a quality girl and some ho you should get rid of as soon as you’re bored with her body. If you can’t know definitively whether your current woman would succeed or fail, that’s not a good sign. Plus, it’s not like you can ask her. Faced with this hypothetical 100% of girls would say – and truly believe themselves – that they’d pass with flying colors. But I’d say better than half of them – including many of the married ones – would fail miserably when push comes to shove.
Good thing our army is all volunteer and the smart men will never test their women in this scenario.
Here are Evan’s top strategies for getting through the recession:
- Keep your job. This is critical. Layoffs happen, but do whatever you can right now to make sure you’re the last to get laid off. If you see the writing on the wall, start looking now before all the other people you work with are also applying for all the same jobs that you are.
- Save your money. If the economy is down and possibly heading lower, you could lose your job. Build up a safety net for that eventuality so that if it happens, you’re prepared.
- Do not incur any debt. Especially high interest debt. If you do get laid off, you will have a hard time paying down debt while also supporting your month-to-month expenses, which means your debt will get bigger, and so will your minimums. For now, pay out of pocket or not at all.
- Don’t stop your 401ks or your IRA contributions. Stocks are cheap right now, and they will ultimately recover. Even the financial sector which looks crap right now. Ask yourself: are investment banks really going to disappear entirely? No. The industry will survive because we need banks, bankers, and investment capital. Someone will fill that void, and if you own their stock, when they boom, you boom.
- Don’t panic. This, like all things, will pass. The economy is boom and bust. We enjoyed a nice long boom and now we’re in (hopefully) a short bust, but even if it lasts a decade, so what?
- Remember: we’re all in this together.
Disclaimer: I missed the Jimmy Carter years, so this my first “recession” and these tips are unproven.
Where is the public outcry that our new messiah Barack Obama is fear mongering?
“Pass the stimulus or reap the consequences.” “Pass the stimulus or this country will plunge into a huge recession.” “Pass my spending bill stuffed with pork and earmarks and has been conservatively referred to as everything liberals have wanted and been unable to have for 40 years or else you’ll lose your job, your money, your wife, your TV, and your dog.”
Where is the public outcry? How is this different than President Bush insinuating that if we don’t kill a bunch of terrorists they might kill us?
You people disgust me. Hold yourselves to your own standards or don’t ever talk to me about politics again.
I don’t get what’s so hard about this.
Teenagers are sending nude pics of themselves over their phones, right?
All a cellphone provider needs to do to allow parents to prevent their daughters from sending mirror nude shots with cellphones is to allow the parent to setup the phone so that all pictures and video sent or received by their childrens’ phones are automatically CC’d to them.
Little Suzie will think twice about using her camera phone as a porn device if she knows sending the image across the wire will cause the image to appear on mom’s (and dad’s) cell phones too.
I’m a genius.
Atheists are constantly crying about how awful religion is. How it is a blight on the world. How it ruins everything. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
But it’s easy to trap an atheist into hand waving behavior to simply ask why religion, and specifically the belief in a deity is an emergent phenomenon in every single human culture ever academically known. Put another way, humans invent religions to worship Gods who may or may not exist.
Often, this is hand-waved down by atheists as the result of a group of humans who don’t know anything, like for example, what lightning is. Once that knowledge is obtained, the religion required to explain it is obsolete. Of course, this argument doesn’t work very well because it requires that we draw some line in the sand about the nature of knowledge itself. At what point do we know enough to not need a God anymore? When we understand the chemical nature of fire? When we understand the physics behind lightning? What about the physics behind the electron? Quantum particles? How about when we know definitively what happens when we die?
The simple fact of the matter is that human beings, for whatever reason, desire religion. It isn’t about worshipping a being, or a phenomenon, or tree, or anything. It’s not about the target of devotion, it’s about the devotion itself. It’s about the concept of worshipping some entity, treating it with reverence reserved only for it. It’s about creating rituals, behaviors that we only do at specific times of the year, for a specific, arbitrary purpose. It’s about believing when there’s no reason to believe. For whatever reason, this seems to scratch some kind of itch in the human psyche.
Is that a flaw that needs to be corrected? Many atheists argue that yes, it is. This unfortunately leads the debate straight into transhumanism. Can a flawed device know its own flaws? Do we really expect that we know better than millions of years of trial and error?
Even if we assume that it is a flaw, these dogmatic atheists whose goal it is to purge the world of it using only mind over matter and by pointing out how silly the Bible is are doomed to fail the same way the millions of atheists before them have failed.
Some facts about human beings – especially ones that can be described as patently instinctual – can’t simply be willed out of people. Usually, anyway. One might even argue that a person who is capable of supressing core instincts evident in the vast majority of the species is in fact defective in some way, as in not representative of the species itself. But again, that’s another debate entirely.
And as you and I observe the behavior of atheists – particularly the ones who belong to atheist organizations, even going so far as to wear little red “A” lapel pins – is itself religious behavior. This observation is not unique or original. The argument has been made, rebutted, re-rebutted, and re-re-rebutted by the atheists and anti-atheists for years already. Most atheists diffuse this claim by trying to define religion and explain how an atheist position doesn’t fit that definition. Not exactly the best tactic, especially when we agree that religion is as much behavior as it is belief. Especially when the atheist is defining both terms.
I claim that even people who purport themselves to be not religious, agnostic, or atheist do so because they don’t go to a mosque on Friday, a temple on Saturday, or a chuch on Sunday. They don’t wear wooden prayer beads and they don’t believe in many-armed elephants. In other words, they don’t subscribe to any major world religion, therefore they aren’t religious.
But all we need to do is witness many millions of Americans be moved to the point of tears by listening to a leader speak to them. The parodies of Obama as the chosen one or the messiah are not far off the mark. The behaviors this man has inspired in many of his devotees at a political rally would be indistinguishable from the behaviors of the mass of a church to an outside observer. Even though both groups think and act in very similiar ways – so similiar that it would be hard to describe them as originating from some different core psychological process – why is one considered religious and one is not? Because one worships a man with supernatural powers to raise the dead who died 2,000 years ago, but the other worships a man with supernatural powers to solve the entire planet’s social/political/economic powers who is still alive?
The people who worship Barack Obama – and I use that word literally – are as totally clueless about world issues and how to solve them than Israelites were about human anatomy and how to heal it during the time of Christ. It is widely known that comas were frequently mistaken for death before the advent of modern medicine. Suppose Christ had merely been coincidentally present when a man thought for dead awoke from his coma. Christ would be praised as a great healer and attributed supernatural powers, don’t you agree?
Now suppose Barack Obama oversees a stock rally that drives the Dow up 4,000 points. I don’t know about you, but I’m not an economist. Off the top of my head, I would have no clue how to drive that kind of success. And if you asked me, I certainly wouldn’t be able to tell you the exact actions taken by Barack Obama to cause this to happen. And I would guess that very few Americans could, including possibly Barack Obama himself. But I promise you that if this happens – and Barack Obama presides over a total reversal of the economy – even if not a single soul in America can explain how it was done – he will be revered as a genius and overwhelmingly elected. In fact, I’d be willing to bet the word “miraculous” would be used more than once in headlines and on the evening news.
The similiarities are striking. But that’s America, and as Americans we don’t like to imagine ourselves “stooping” to the level of worshipping our leaders. But anyone intellectual enough to still be reading this post knows all about Joe Stalin, Mao, and Kim Jong-il. The latter is still alive and his personality cult is so extensive that his people are not shy about using the word “god” to describe him. If you search for some DPRK propoganda on YouTube, you can come across some clips of state-controlled DPRK films. If the subtitles are to be believed, one of the lines in one of the songs is, “We live with our general as our god.”
Even if we all agree that Obama receives worship from a big cut of his supporters, what’s the big deal, right? I may not like the socialism Obama is pushing, but I would still rather have Barack Obama as my president than any other current world leader. When I compare him to someone like Kim Jong-Il, if it meant I had to worship Barack on Sundays to keep him in and the Dear Leader out, I’d be on my knees.
Here’s the problem with real gods: they’re real. When you worship what really boils down to a series of ideas – the ideas Christ preached – those ideas can’t change. Those ideas can’t consume more Courvossier than the rest of the world combined while their people starve. Those ideas themselves can’t directly affect how much money you have in your bank account. Those ideas themselves can’t fail to evacuate a city in time to save its citizens from a really nasty hurricane. Those ideas themselves were born in perfect 20/20 hindsight.
The North Korean people will starve to death in the fields and be tortured by guards in reeducation camps because their Dear Leader is their god and they worship him as such. He can do no wrong. If they are suffering, they are doing so because it is the will of the Dear Leader. The Dear Leader can do whatever he wants with impunity because he is God. There is no standard of judgment common both to his citizens and to himself.
The Christian God doesn’t do anything except inspire the people who listen to His ideas to (hopefully) become better people. Yes, we’ve heard the littanies of sins committed in the name of God. But let’s suppose for a minute God never existed and these men who committed these attrocities in His name still did. Are we really expected to believe that these men wouldn’t have committed them anyway? Of course not. God was merely their excuse. They could have used a million others or done without one entirely. If they aren’t murdering in God’s name, they’re murdering in their fuedal lord’s, or their state’s, or hell, even their own.
I believe many atheists rail against the idea of worshipping a God for whom there is no evidence. It’s not scientific. They might as well believe in ghosts and fairies, too, right? This is a very understandable viewpoint. But I believe that the concept of an intangible god is the best kind of god there is. Even if a man sins in his intangible god’s name, we can’t hang his god but we can hang him. And because god is intangible, he’s not around to testify before the jury that he did in fact order our sinner to sin. An intangible god allows us to scratch our human itch to worship while still allowing us to function at the human level – chiefly, to hold sinners accountable for their sins. A tangible god like Kim Jong-Il isn’t accountable to anyone except the people who don’t worship him. Fortunately for us, Kim Jong-Il controls only 25 million poor North Koreans. But what happens if a tangible god controls 6 billion?
I’m a human being, and I’m not afraid to admit that I, and everyone I know, comes with our instincts largely intact. I am not afraid to live the human experience, and if that means having irrational beliefs and having an irrational need to worship something – like a god or an idea – then so be it.
But if we’re going to worship something, I’ll take the intangible god every day of the week and twice on Sundays. The fact that God can’t be proven is one of his greatest strengths.