Religion and politics : collectivist blood brothers part 2
3. If we look at the facts of reality, we see that, while irrationality is widespread (in no small part due to religion and politics), people by and large behave towards each other peacefully and are always ready to help each other. Religion and politics, on the other hand, are predicated on the premise that man is fundamentally corrupt/depraved and must be controlled by force. They may have begun as means to help people, but memetic evolution has transformed and twisted them in the opposite direction. Christianity, for example, has the notion of original sin - that all human beings are depraved by virtue of human nature. Like all belief systems, it must manufacture its own imaginary problem in order to provide a solution that only it can provide.
The premise of government force is that people's values are corrupted by "selfishness", which is really a code-word for "individualism" (they certainly don't mind collectives acting selfishly). Because of this "selfishness", man must be controlled by force for the "common good". How this "common good" is defined specifically depends on your political party or belief system (utilitarianism, syndicalism or victimocracy for the left, nationalism, plutocracy or police state for the right), but in all cases it is contrary to individualism. If it was individualist, then there would be no need for it to co-opt political power at all : a person does not promote peace by threatening people with guns, his own or the government's, but rather by arguing for that value and setting an example.
4. Man's corrupt nature can be redeemed by the transcendent authority. Well, this comes without saying. If you make up a problem but you don't make up the solution, you have nothing to brainwash people with except fatalism, and fatalism doesn't sell. People want solutions to their imaginary problems. So Christianity made up "Jesus" as their imaginary solution to the imaginary problem of original sin. If you believe in him, and only if you believe in him, can you be "saved". Likewise, only the widespread imposition of government and its made-up laws (which only benefit government) can save society from the imaginary evils of individualism.
5. This creates a vicious circle of failure and belief reinforcement. As the belief system inevitably fails - because it is based on evil and lies that run counter to human nature, the nature of societies, and the nature of reality - all failures are interpreted as a need for stronger belief and stronger expression of that belief in society (i.e. jam it even more in everyone's throats). This, in turn, accentuates the problems, and so on. When the amoral rules of Christianity clash with natural instincts, what are you supposed to do ? Pray harder, repress harder, go to church more. Christianity made the United States one of the most depraved developed nation in the world, so what do they propose as a solution ? More religion, cram it more into people's throats, brainwash children more and better.
We see the same dynamic in government. Most government programs do not start with a problem, but rather with the desire of one group to use political power to oppress another group. The Drug War, for example, was rooted in racism. In the United States, opium was banned to oppose Chinese opium dens, cocaine was banned to stop black "coke fiends", and marijuana was banned to oppose the influx of Mexican workers. The Drug War is simply a part of racism that broke off and became a perpetual war. Now it is being sold to the gullible statist population as helping society by threatening people into staying alive, healthy and clear-headed, simply because racism does not sell quite as much any more. This is, of course, a manufactured problem, as the most destructive drugs that exist - alcohol and tobacco - are not part of the War on Drugs' enemies.
The net effect of the Drug War has been to make our streets far less safe than they were, and to make drug addiction far more dangerous and widespread than it would be otherwise. These hardships give governments the opportunity to present themself as the solution to the problems they manufactured. They use this opportunity to expand police powers, and in the case of American imperialism attack third-world drug-producing countries, forcing drug production and consumption further and further into the black market, reinforcing the problems caused by the policy. This dynamic applies to any sustained government policy, such as the War on Poverty, the War on Terror, gun control, protectionism, monetary policy, and so on.
6. Both suffer from Special Pleading. Because the authority is assumed to be transcendent, it is not bound to the same moral rules as we are. Any action, even war and genocide, committed by this authority is justified by higher ideals (or unknown ideals, in the case of a hidden god). When made aware of the incredible extent of the atrocities of the Bible, Christians routinely whitewash God's moral status by stating that God is transcendent and therefore cannot be evaluated on the same basis as human beings. The actions believed to be committed by God - genocide, cursing the whole of mankind, sending people to eternal torture - are, even isolated, morally reprehensible in a way as hard to understand as it is to understand World War 2 or the Holocaust. Without the pretense of transcendence, even putting their moral status in doubt would be an enormity, just as discussing the moral status of Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot is considered an enormity.
Governments in developed countries are not nearly as morally repugnant as God. Nevertheless, they benefit from that transcendent status in the same exact way. We strongly condemn murder by private citizens, and yet murder by government or because of government (capital punishment, police shootings, medication withholding by the FDA, gun control, etc), organized murder (war), or slavery for organized murder (draft) are seen as "business as usual" and as something that can be rationally defended. There is no possible way to rationally defend these actions when committed by individuals, and a person who would hold these as virtuous would be considered a monster, but such immorality when done for a government is justified by the "common good" (which is to say, the twisted values of politicians).
Go to part 3.