Religulous Politics

Thursday, October 2, 2008 

The state of mind in the US is very sad, more so than typical. While there seems to a continuous and ongoing degradation of discourse, I’ve never before seen politics and statesmanship so irredeemably reduced to the level of a religious war.

Sadly… embarrassingly, it is not a phenomenon consigned to the usual right wing fundamentalist morons that dominate the airwaves with their punditry and inanity; rather the left too seems to have taken up the banner of unthinking allegiance.

Having just seen Bill Mahr’s Religulous (“lig” rhymes with “midge”) in Toronto, the idiocy of “faith” is fresh in my mind. Not that I’ve ever doubted that “faith” is the sad abandonment of reason, but Bill’s entertaining movie makes amusing and thoughtful light of the many entertaining flavors of absurd that are the world’s religions.

The same sort of unthinking, unshakable faith seems to have taken over every sphere of American Politics save, perhaps, a bit of the intellectual left that might still value discourse. Maybe. The right has long given up on thinking and reality. A body politic that embraces McCain as a “maverick” or defends the trailer trash train wreck that is Sarah Palin has so abandoned reality as to be unreachable, to be certifiably schizophrenic.

But the republicans are, alas, remarkable only in so far as their bizarre delusions are manifestly incompatible with reality; so too the worship of Obama has drawn ridicule even from the thinking left as reminiscent of a revival meeting and a complete abandonment of thought over devotion. I think this too is equally an abdication of reason even if the religion of Obama hews more closely to reality and creates less utterly idiotic dissonance.

I find politics depressingly reminiscent of Religulous: Bill very effectively shows the abject ridiculousness of just about every religion with simple questions of fact, merely pointing out some of the more ludicrous tenants of any religion and asking if people have really thought about these, really believe them. Except for a group of redneck truckers and the Vatican’s astronomer, everyone interviewed can be lead to the precipice of their contradictions but there locks up, refusing to see, refusing to advance. Faith means rejecting reality, reason, thought not just passively but actively, aggressively, arrogantly.

And in this election cycle it seems there is no hope for reason either. The righties love Sarah even if she is so mind bogglingly stupid as to fail to comprehend the connection between abstinence only preaching and consequent teen pregnancy; that shotgun weddings aren’t a moral victory; that if one’s water breaks 5 weeks early while one is over 40 and carrying a known ‘tard that intentionally delaying medical attention for most of a day is tantamount to seeking termination in the third trimester, even if one is leaving the attempted abortion in “God’s hands” (or maybe in this case, not).

There is no hope with these people. No disaster, no catastrophe, no measure of reality no matter how harsh will sway them from their faith in the republican party. They will vote republican no matter what, they will do everything they can to force every American’s to hew to their bizarre religious beliefs, they will never admit their mistakes.

There is no point in even trying. There is no value in discourse, no value in debate, no advantage to thought or reason. This has become a mater of simple political might, regardless of the consequences to the country or the world. Liberals have to wake up and stop fighting this like it’s a debate club, like there’s a “right” and a “wrong” and the “truth” with will win out. If the thought of endless war as the US is ground into third world status by a religious jihad is less than desirable than the only choice is to respond by the same measure.

Or step back and enjoy the ridiculous ride.

Religulous, by the way, is excellent.  See it.

Posted at 18:26:19 GMT-0700

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