Thursday, February 11, 2016

Conservatism & Christianity: Barrabbas & Christ

I used to see myself as both politically Conservative and religiously Catholic, until I realized that such labels themselves are problematic precisely because our minds do not work in a groove, like a bowling ball rolling in a gutter. (At least mine doesn't.) This was also before I realized that politicians were simply the public relations division of corporate America. They do not represent the will of the people, in other words, they take the "will" of their overlords and impose it on the people while finding ever more clever ways - through propaganda, Houdini-esque manipulations of language, distractions, and, when all else fails, out right lies - to convince those same people to see the "will" of their overlords as if it were really their own.

Politicians also assure the masses that, even if it is the Mayan "will" of Big Money to cut out the beating hearts of our economy, such economic evisceration always performed to provide a sacrificial dividend for us, out of love from the God of Mammon, even if (especially if) it doesn't feel like it. And it never feels like it. And where the exercise of that will creates poverty or hardship, an army of "spin doctors" convince half the population they should blame it on the political party of the other half - even though both parties are two sides of the same corporate capitalism.

Pitting people against each other is how America's Siamese-political party keeps the nation sufficiently divided, after all, through a plan of divide and conquer. This division was so powerful, in fact, that it led Jay Gould, one of America's per-eminent railway barons and "8th worst American CEO of all time, to say "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half,"  during the strikebreaking activities of the Great Southwest Railroad in 1886. Gould's "vision" of the "division of labour"  sought to make people as replaceable as cogs in a machine. The industrial revolution, in other words, turned specialists in every trade to mere spokes on a wheel. And like straw, the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds had found a way to spin that wheel like Rumpelstiltskin, and make gold.

We see this even today, of course, as John Zerzan has pointed out. We are "terrorized into being consumers," as he puts it. As G. W. Bush summed it up, however unwittingly, the the terrorist is less a threat to our freedoms, or even our religious faith, and more to our willingness to shop. As Bush decried:

"We cannot allows the terrorists to achieve the objective of frightening out nation to the point that people don't conduct business; Where people don't shop."
While 9/11 sent Christians in droves to churches around the country, Conservatives like Bush were urging everyone to head to the cathedrals of American consumerism, the shopping mall. In doing so, the money lenders had manage to shroud "the love of money" in the saintly quest for that holiest grail, the profit motive. And through the process of Orwellian doublespeak, Joel Olsteen became the Christian equivalent of Bernie Madoff.

Yet all of this need to own things is quite contrary to the story of Jesus, who, at the time of his death, owned even less than Redd Foxx. What's more, the Conservatives sees himself as a priest of liberty, even though Thomas Jefferson once said that "in every country and in every age, the (Christian) priest  has been hostile to liberty." So it is quite an oxymoron to say the phrase Conservative Christian.

When a friend of mine - who is still a conservative Christian even today - asked me a simple question: "Don't you think our system (i.e., America's political and economic system) does far more good than harm in the world?"

To which I replied:

First: a system is not necessarily "moral" simply because it may do more good than harm. Nazism, for example, lifted millions of ordinary German citizens out of the abject poverty that befell Germany after World War I. But the fact that it helped far more people than it systemically exterminated did not make it a "moral system" at the end of the day. It's even worse when the "good" such a system claims to be doing is off in some distant future that will make all of the "bad" it imposes now, totally worth it in the end. The evil "means," in this sense, cannot be justified by some virtuous "end." To put it another way, the eggs we break today cannot necessarily be justified by the omelet we are endeavoring to make in some distant tomorrow.

And second: Yes, I used to think that very thing. But then I began considering evidence that was outside of what was regularly being spoon fed to me by a media who's first and only priority it is to convince me to shop.

(And I shouldn't worry that I can't afford anything I'm buying, since my over priced education will be covered by the rising equity in my house, which will only go up, and which was created by an artificially over-inflated real estate market - compliments of Wall Street investors who were all smart enough to take out insurance policies on their own version of "over spending. And they did this, even as they encouraged us to buy the very thing they all knew was about to go bust, which is why they bought CDO's and insurance with AIG.)

And while the people on Main Street were blamed for spending well beyond their financial means - which is exactly what President George W. Bush had told them to do in 2006, when he said "I encourage you all to go shopping more" - lost their homes, the institutions (with all of the lawyers and experts and quants) who had done the exact same thing, got bail outs, paid bonuses, and bought their way back into the very ponzi scheme they had only helped to create. (After they crash, they were paid "bonuses" for being smart enough to use that "bailout" to buy back into that Ponzi scheme at bargain basement prices.And when others joined in underneath them, since that's how such schemes operate, they paid back the loans and where applauded by politicians for having the "brains" and the "chutzpah" to fix the global economy.) 

Indeed, like alcohol, America's casino capitalism has only prospered by addicting people to the drug of consumerism. And while neither is inherently evil, those who have nothing better to do will gorge themselves on it, even when they do not desire to do so. It is an addiction, in other words. And war is it's annual celebration, as thousands are offered up as human sacrifice to the desire for infinitely more, which is the very thing C.S. Lewis claimed we would one day find in Heaven. 

Conservatives, therefore, are not Christians, they are Barabbians. For they worship the profit motives of the money lenders while decrying "the love of money" from the pulpit. And had they been there when Pontius Pilate offered the crowd that most infamous of choices, they would've sought to defend their Second Amendment Right to bear arms against the tyranny of government oppression by freeing Barabbas, and protected their addiction to their religious beliefs by demanding that Christ be crucified. 

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