Monday, October 02, 2006

If not Theoconservatism, then what?

The ascendency of the Neocons in American politics begs several questions: What is this reactionary movement reacting to? If the Theocons have taken over, what have they taken over from? And what, if anything, lies in the wings to oppose this movement?

The first is pretty easy. Neocons consider our present government and society as overly secular, insufficently religious and devoid of moral compass, due to the lack of Biblical and theocratic leadership. They work for a "return" to a society and government based on religious principles, including appeal to authority and the intercession of a supernational being in the everyday affairs of humans.

The Theocans believe that the majority of Americans are religious and thus insufficiently represented in a government based on separation of church and state. They work to replace this secular state with a theocracy based on evangelical Christian religion of no specific denomnation, although the majority of Theocans and their doctrine is Roman Catholic (five members of the Supreme Court are Roman Catholic and attend a special mass at the begining of the Supreme Court season).

The last question is the most difficult and the one I struggle with the most. The obvious answer is a state based on separation of church and state so as to guarantee freedom of religion and freedom from religion for all citizens, no matter what their belief. This of course assumes, in a democratic society, that there exists no majority who believe that their brand of religion is the only brand of religion and everyone should think like they do.

What to do when a society is dominated by intolerance for those with a different belief or those who don't believe at all.

This is the danger of the state, which can be driven by any individual or group able to corral the most economic and/or political power. As long as the state exists, it is up for grabs by any and all, and the course of the state is determined by whomsoever holds the reins. In any control system, avenues of power are monopolized by those willing to use any and all means to grab and hold on to them. This leads to the inevitable anarchist conclusion that the state is inherently illegitimate and must be abolished in any free and independent society.

Anarchism is a sound philosophy that suffers from the inability of most humans to think and act rationally in their own best interest. At least in the human world as we know it, someone will always grab the reins and steer the buggy of society in a preferred direction. And someone will always follow. There seems to be no escape from the constant back and forth in this struggle for power.

As always, there are two options: struggle where we are to make change in the direction of rationality, or pack up and gather somewhere else where we can live in the society we prefer. Such intentional communities have rarely been sucessful, since they must exist in the greater millieu of a society that disagrees with them and enforces that disagreement through the authoritarian state. Remote unoccupied islands with sufficient resources are getting scarce these days, so it looks like we're stuck where we live.

It comes back then to what we have always done, living a rational life where we are, being the example, changing the world by changing ourselves. It's a long, long, lonely road, as we are few and they are so many. And they have more children than we do, because we understand the need to reduce human population hereabouts and they don't care.

We can speak out, on these electronic pages, in books, on progressive radio. In the end, we talk mostly to oursleves, because those who don't already agree with us don't listen and don't read. Appeal to authority denies the relevance of fact.

Pretty depressing, eh? It is encouraging, however to note that historically the Romans went through just the same cultural path that the united States is carving out now, bashing the neighbors and extending its empire.

And the Roman Empire fell.

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