We all want (liberal) "revolutionary democracy". 'It can offer nothing to compare with the royal processions, the military parades, the music pregnant with associations, the flags, the innumerable emblems, by means of which patriotic sentiment can be worked up and the real presence of the motherland made manifest to every beholder. Huxley. Note: (because of this - within the present very unpredictable and 'infantile situation' GB). The principal job of any government, including the present weak and ineffective one; shown up by it's results and in the increase in popularity of the minor parties - with the particular extreme one - such as the BNP: the majority of its citizens' is to prevent it falling into the wrong hands'! BNP leader Nick Griffin has been pelted with eggs and forced to abandon a press conference outside Parliament. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8091605.stm
'The modern purity-leaguer has no qualms about money-grubbing and gormandizing: his sole preoccupation is sexual licence, particularly in other people. He is often a free-thinker, so that his campaigns against indecency propitiate no God, but are conducted because they are good in themselves. But are they? 'Apud gentiles,' says St. Thomas, `fornicatio simplex non reputabatur illicita propter corruptionem naturalis rationis: Judaei, autem ex lege divina instructi, earn illicitam reputabant.' It is only on this one point that the free-thinking smuthound accepts divine law. In all other matters he trusts to the corruption of his natural reason. He should be more logical and consistent. It is a remarkable fact that, while one may say, to all intents and purposes, whatever one likes about religion and politics, while one may publicly preach atheism and communism, one may not make public mention, except in a scientific work of the most rudimentary physiological facts. In most modern countries the only state - supported orthodoxy is a sexual orthodoxy. There is a powerful religion, or rather pseudo-religion of sexual purity. It cannot, it is true, boast of many sincerely ardent devotees. But most of the few who genuinely believe in it are fanatics. Defined in psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously overcompensates a secret doubt. The fanatics of puritanism are generally found to be overcompensating a secret prurience. Their influence in the modern world is great out of all proportion to their numbers; for few people dare, by opposing them, to run the risk of being called immoral, corrupters of youth, dissolvers of the family, and all the rest (the truly virtuous have an inexhaustible armoury of abuse on which to draw). If the smuthounds had a genuine religion to satisfy them, they would probably be less of a nuisance than they are at present. Ages of faith, if one may judge from medieval literature, were not ages of puritanism.' Huxley
Religion and Morality First, faith made otherwise decent people commit acts of unspeakable horror, showing how ordinary and everyday feelings of human kindness, and revulsion at cruelty, can be, and have been, overruled by religious belief (and dogma, secular enthusiasms, or any other, religio/political enthusiasms) Secondly, it exposes as utterly hollow the claim that religion sets an absolute and unchanging foundation for morality. Some maintain that their Man God had something new to say. Consider therefore this extract from the writings of China-man Mo Ti who lived in the Fourth Century B.C. "The mutual attacks of state on state, the mutual usurpation's of family on family, the mutual robberies of man on man, the want of kindness on the part of the sovereign and of loyalty on the part of the minister, the want of tenderness and filial duty between father and son, these, and such as these, are the things injurious to the empire. All has arisen from want of mutual love. If but that one virtue could be made universal; the Prince loving one another would have no battlefield; the Chiefs of Families would attempt no usurpation's; men would commit no robberies; rulers and ministers would be gracious and loyal; fathers and sons would be kind and filial; brothers would be harmonious and easily reconciled. Men in general loving one another; the strong would not make pray of the weak; the many would not plunder the few, the rich would not insult the poor; the noble would not be insolent to the mean, and the deceitful would not impose on the simple." I find this message more inspiring than the unproved promises of immortality and hell fire. The two largest religions, appear to me, to be: carrot and stick religions. Perhaps all are, I am not a donkey, some of the time: so I don't respond.
'Humankind's deadliest weapon is language. He is susceptible to being hypnotised by slogans as he is to infectious diseases. And when there is an epidemic, the group mind takes over. The group-mind obeys its own rules, which are different from the rules of conduct of individuals. The individual is not a killer, but the group is and by identifying with it, the individual is transformed into a killer.'
War, and supporting the/your armed services. Violence is sometimes right! You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything. He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.
THE POLITICAL SURROGATE. Perhaps the most important substitute for religion is politics. Extreme nationalism presents its devotees with a god to be worshipped-the Country-together with much inspiring ritual of a mainly military kind. In most countries and for most of their inhabitants nationalism is a spasmodic faith, of which the believers are only occasionally conscious. But where the state is weak and in danger, where men are oppressed by a foreign ruler, it becomes an unflagging enthusiasm. Even in countries where there is no sense of inferiority to be compensated, where there are no immediate dangers and no oppressors, the nationalist substitute for religion is often continuously inspiring. I have met some few admirable men and women for whom unlike Nurse Cavell, patriotism was quite enough. The country was to be served and worshipped. They asked, as far as I could discover, for no other god. The only universe of which they demanded an explanation was the universe of politics. And with what a simple, unpretentious explanation even of that they were contented! Extreme democracy has as many devotees as extreme nationalism; and among those devotees there are probably more chronic enthusiasts than are to be found among the patriots. As a substitute for religion, extreme democracy is more adequate than nationalism; for it covers more ground, at any rate as a doctrine. For revolutionary democracy is a forward-looking faith. It preaches a future state-in this world, not another-when all the injustices of the present will be remedied, all the unhappinesses compensated, when the first shall be last and the last first, and there shall be crowns for all and no more weeping, and practically no more work. Moreover, it is susceptible of a much more thorough philosophical treatment than nationalism. ‘My country right or wrong’ is a sentiment which cannot be completely rationalized. The only reason that any man has for loving and serving his country is the mere accident that it happens to be his. He knows that if he had been born somewhere else the object of his worship would have been different. Not the bulldog, but the cock or the eagle would have been his totem. Not Dr. Arne, but Haydn or Rouget de Lisle, would have hymned him into ecstasy. There can be no metaphysic of patriotism; it is just a raw, unalterable fact, which must be accepted as it is. Democracy, on the other hand, does not vary from country to country; it is a universal and imperishable doctrine-for the poor are everywhere and at all times with us. The raw facts of misery, envy, and discontent can be rationalized in the most thorough-going fashion. To explain and justify the very natural desire of the poor and oppressed for freedom, wealth, and power a far-reaching system of metaphysics has been evolved. The Christian doctrines of original sin and divine grace have been denied, and all the virtues and perfections of God have been lodged in humanity-not indeed as it is now (that would be too hard to swallow), but as it will be when freed from oppression and enlightened by education. This doctrine, although manifestly false, is a genuine religious explanation of the world, in terms of which it is possible, with a little judicious manipulation, to explain all the facts of human life. Doctrinally, then, revolutionary democracy is an excellent substitute for religion. When it comes to practice, however, it is less satisfying than nationalism. For nationalism has a traditional and highly elaborate ritual of its own. Revolutionary democracy can offer nothing to compare with the royal processions, the military parades, the music pregnant with associations, the flags, the innumerable emblems, by means of which patriotic sentiment can be worked up and the real presence of the motherland made manifest to every beholder. Huxley. Note: (because of this - within the present very unpredictable and 'infantile situation' GB) principal job of any government and the majority of its citizens' is to prevent it falling into the wrong hands!
However, my job demanded that I live in Jerusalem, and thus to suffer those periodic bouts of depression to which its citizens seemed to be prone - I called it the Jerusalem Sadness: Jerusalem Sadness is a local disease, like Baghdad Boils, due to the combined effect of the tragic beauty and inhuman atmosphere of the city. It is the haughty, desolate beauty of a walled-in mountain fortress in the desert. The angry face of Yahveh is brooding over the hot rocks, which have seen more holy murder, rape and plunder than any other place on this earth. Its inhabitants are poisoned by holiness. Josephus Flavius, who was a priest in the city and suffered from Jerusalem Sadness, has this strange phrase: “The union of what is divine and what is mortal is disagreeable.” The population of the city is a mosaic; but every portion of it is disagreeable. Perhaps the most disagreeable are the clergy, Muslim, Christian and Jewish alike. The Muslim clergy in my time used to call on the average twice a year for a holy blood bath. A peaceful Arab landlord would joke with the family of his Jewish tenants some Friday morning during the Ramadan, go to the Mosque, listen to the Imam, run home and slaughter tenant, wife and children with a kitchen knife. The Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian and other Christian clergy would come to blows over such questions as to “whether the Greeks had a right to place a ladder on the floor of the Armenian chapel for the purpose of cleaning the upper part of the chapel above the cornice in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem”; and “whether the Greeks must attach their curtain tight or in natural folds to the lower Nail No.2 at the foot of the pillar which lies south-east of the left-hand set of steps leading to the manger” (both examples are authentic, and I may add to them the regulation “that the Latins should have their curtain fall naturally down the same pillar, leaving a space of sixteen centimetres between it and that of the Greek Orthodox”). The Jewish clergy was engaged in feuds with the Muslims about rights of way to the Wailing Wall, and among themselves about the correct method of ritual slaughter; they also encouraged their orthodox disciples to protect the sanctity of the Sabbath by beating up the godless who smoked cigarettes in the streets and by throwing bricks at passing motor cars. The political atmosphere was just as poisoned. The Husseini clan murdered members of the Nashashibi clan; during the riot season they both murdered Jews; the Jewish Parties hated each other, the British, and the Arabs, in that order; the British sahibs, here called hawadjas, behaved as British sahibs used to do. There were no cafes or night clubs, no cocktail parties, and no night-life of any kind in Jerusalem. People kept to themselves, their church, clan or party. It was an austere, pharisaic town, full of hatred, distrust and phoney relics. I lived at No. 29, Street of the Prophets, at five minutes distance from the Via Dolorosa, another five from the Mosque of Omar where for a shilling you are shown the Archangel Gabriel’s footprints on the rock. I have never lived at such close quarters with divinity, and never farther removed from it. The whole unholy history of the city, from David to Herod, from Pilate to the Crusaders, from Titus to Glubb, is an illustration of the destructive power of faith, and the resulting unpleasantness of the union of the mortal and the divine. It is this awareness of defeat, driven home by the haughty silence of the desert, of dry watercourse and arid rock, which causes the Jerusalem Sadness. Sadness apart, I grew increasingly tired of Palestine. Zionism in 1929 had come to a standstill. Immigration had been reduced to a mere trickle. Nazism, which was to turn it into a flood, was still a monster being hatched in the womb of the future. I had gone to Palestine as a young enthusiast, driven by a romantic impulse. Instead of Utopia, I had found an extremely complex reality which both attracted and repelled me, but where the repellent effect, for a simple reason, gradually gained the upper hand. The reason was the Hebrew language. It was a petrified language which had been abandoned by the Jews long before the Christian era-in the days of Christ, they spoke Aramaic - and had now been revived by a tour de force. By making Hebrew its official language, the small Jewish community of Palestine seemed to have turned its back on Western civilisation. I felt that to undergo the same process would be spiritual suicide. I was a romantic fool, in love with unreason; but I knew that in a Hebrew-language environment I would always remain a stranger; and at the same time gradually lose touch with European culture. I had left Europe at the age of twenty. Now I was twentythree and had had my fill of both Arab romantics and Jewish mystique. I was longing for Europe, thirsting for Europe, pining for Europe. *Arrow in the Blue, ch. xxii. I asked the Ullsteins for a transfer, and had the good luck to be assigned to Paris. In subsequent years my interest in Zionism faded; it was reawakened, with a vengeance, thirteen years later, when the gas chambers went into action.' A.Koestler 'Bricks to Babel'. I will not cease from Mental Flight, Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem, In England’s green & pleasant Land.
'The mentality of a person who lives inside a closed system of thought can be summed up in a single formula. He can prove everything he believes and he believes everything he can prove. The closed system sharpens the faculties of the mind, like an over-efficient grindstone to a brittle edge, it produces a scholastic Talmudic, hair-splitting, brand of cleverness, which affords no protection against committing the crudest imbecilities. People with this mentality are found, particularly often, among the intelligentsia. I like to call them the clever imbeciles, an expression, which I do not consider offensive, as I was one of them. A.Koestler 'Bricks to Babel'.
Who has got the responsibility? "I was reminded of something Justice Louis Brandeis once said: that in a democracy, the most important office is the office of citizen. Barack Obama 'The Audacity Of Hope'.