Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

The Preacher and the Slave, by Joe Hill

Long-haired preachers come out every night,
Try to tell you what's wrong and what's right,
But when asked about something to eat,
They will answer in voices so sweet:


You will eat bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky.
Work and pray, (work and pray),
Live on hay, (live on hay),
You'll get Pie in the Sky,
When you die, (that's a lie!)

And the starvation army they play,
They sing and they dance and they pray,
Till they get all your coin on the drum,
Then they tell you when you're on the bum:


If you fight hard for the good things in life,
They will tell you to stop all the strife,
Be a sheep for the bosses they say
Or to hell you are surely on the way!


Workingfolk of all countries unite;
Side by side we for freedom will fight
When the world and its wealth we have gained,
To the grafters we will sing this refrain:

Last Chorus:

You will eat, bye and bye,
When you've learned how to cook and to fry;
Chop some wood, 'twill do you good
And you'll eat in the sweet bye and bye.
(That's no lie!)

AND: What Johann Hari says:

Indeed, if you spend any time with American right-wingers -- as I have, reporting undercover on events like the National Review cruise and the Christian Coalition Solidarity Tour of Israel -- you soon find that your arguments don't center on philosophy. You have to concentrate on correcting basic factual errors about the real world.

They insist Europe has fallen to Islam, since Muslims immigrants are becoming a majority and are imposing sharia law. In reality, Muslims make up 3 percent of the population of Europe, and most of them oppose sharia law. They insist Franklin Roosevelt caused the Great Depression, and should have cut government spending. In reality, whenever he did cut spending -- as he tried periodically throughout the 1930s -- the economy began to tank. But explain this patiently -- with a thousand sources -- and they simply shriek that you are lying, and they know "in their heart" what is true. They insist gay marriage would cause the institution of the family to collapse. In reality, where it has already been introduced in Europe, heterosexual families continue just as before. On the list goes: evolution is a lie, a blastocyst is akin to a baby, torture produces actionable intelligence...

How do they train themselves to be so impervious to reality? It begins, I suspect, with religion. They are taught from a young age that it is good to have "faith" -- which is, by definition, a belief without any evidence to back it up. You don't have "faith" Australia exists, or fire burns: you have evidence. You only need "faith" to believe the untrue or unprovable. Indeed, they are taught that faith is the highest aspiration and most noble cause. Is it any surprise this then percolates into their political views? Faith-based thinking spreads and contaminates the rational.


roger said...

i like this after the previous post. same stuff.

C. Corax said...

"The mild nature and religious training of the Highlanders prevented a resort to that determined resistance and revenge which has repeatedly set bounds to the rapacity of landlords in Ireland. Their ignorance of the English language, and the want of natural leaders, made it impossible for them to make their grievances known to the outside world. They were, therefore, maltreated with impunity. The ministers generally sided with the oppressing lairds, who had the Church patronage at their disposal for themselves and their sons. The professed ministers of religion sanctioned the iniquity, "the foulest deeds were glossed over, and all the evil which could not be attributed to the natives themselves, such as severe seasons, famines, and consequent disease, was by these pious gentlemen ascribed to Providence, as a punishment for sin."