Western Liberalism’s Biggest Failure
I’m a proud liberal who can’t stand liberals most of the time.
Much like many of my conservative friends who dislike how laissez faire economics and “the moral majority” have hijacked their political party, I too find myself “on the side” of a political philosophy that doesn’t represent me much at all.
That’s a truly difficult thing to say, but I think it’s important to say it. Our two party system is inherently flawed, corrupt, and a self-eating machine that pits ideologies against one another in ways that make enemies out of people who would otherwise agree on most of the important things in life.
When you limit the sides to just two teams, all of the nuances of thought go out the window and you end up standing next to some people you’d really rather not associate with. I feel it’s important at times like these to point out who those people are and why it is that they make the rest of us look so bad.
Ostracizing the idiots is exactly what “the other side” needs to see us doing. We need to speak up when our own people spout off some rather stupid shit. So in that spirit, I have to say that, Ben Affleck, you suck.
So does every other liberal who can’t pull their head out of their ass far enough to tell the difference between a religion and ethnicity. I truly can’t stand these people, and they’re more embarrassing to liberals than the hipsters who don’t wear shoes in public and bemoan capitalism, while listening to indie bands at Starbucks.
Ugh, shut up.
This problem exists because of a major failing in liberalism; the discomfort with criticizing religion. Liberals have consistently failed to be critical of the immorality and discriminatory philosophies of religious teachings, because of a weak disposition and the widespread adoption of religious beliefs. For many Americans, religion is as much a part of the “red white and blue” as apple pie and rock n’ roll.
Unfortunately, thanks to a disillusionment with civics, an overwhelming majority of Americans (regardless of religious adherence) also don’t understand the difference between secularism and anti-religion. Even worse, a growing number of people can’t explain how culture, religion, and ethnicity are different things. They’ve adopted the seemingly benevolent philosophy that everyone should be equal and not discriminated against, no matter what.
The problem is, their ignorance actually makes them support everything they stand against.
So here’s a little breakdown, if you think Affleck wasn’t off base:
1) Facts do not have an agenda. They can’t be racist. They can’t be homophobic. They can’t be biased.
2)The “main 3” religions of the world have laws that are immoral by today’s standards. The Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) all include content in their religious texts that condone or command rape, slavery, misogyny, and genocide. Those are facts.
3) Many followers of these religions would never condone or engage in any of those behaviors. They have constructed modern interpretations of those religious texts that downplay or dismiss the bronze-age laws. Some do so deliberately, saying that the texts were influenced by the social norms of the time, and others are just plain ignorant of their own religious texts.
4) Fundamentalists are fully aware of how selective many of their brethren are and mock them for it. They accuse-fundamentalists of picking and choosing their beliefs, a’ la carte. This is why there are sects of fundamentalists who read the texts and interpret them exactly as they’re written. You’ll find them engaging in behaviors society finds immoral by today’s standards, and they are regularly rebuked and shamed by “official” representatives of the organized religions on television whenever they do something like denying equal rights to minorities, women and homosexuals (Western world) or behead people for disagreeing with them (Middle East).
5) Anyone of any race, can be a member of any religion. Race of place of origin can influence your likelihood of being a member of a specific creed, but it does not determine it and there are no barriers for people of all backgrounds adopting any religious belief. Asians and South Americans by the millions are Muslims. Arabs and Africans by the millions are Christians. When you criticize the moral fiber of religious philosophies, you are scrutinizing the ideas of people; not their ethnicity.
Why do liberals have this blind spot?
1) World War II
2) Religious Fundamentalism
Hitler’s genocide was fueled by hatred of the ethnicity, culture, and religious beliefs of the Jewish people. These hateful sentiments that existed in Germany and many Eastern European regions, were a tinderbox that the Nazi party used to incite hyper-nationalism and a push for ethnic cleansing. Hitler didn’t just wake up one day and decide he was going to dupe millions of Germans into doing something they’d not agree with. He merely dialed up the rhetoric and made people snap. They got so worked up, so fast, that they couldn’t slow down the train until it was too late.
After the war, we were left trying to pick up the pieces of a world that had murdered 6 million Jews with seeming alacrity. Our collective horror and shock led us to change so much about who we were and what we stood for in Western society. The fallout of WWII was the catalyst in America that finally pushed the civil rights era into full speed.
We had to look the devil in the face to see the horns in our own reflection.
Antisemitism was much more common in America before WWII. Interestingly, with the explosion of Christian fundamentalism after the war, Israel and Jewish people/culture took on a new affinity. Christians by the hundreds of millions feel that the Jews are still “God’s chosen people” and that they play a major role in prophetic events.
Fundamentalism also perpetuated the idea that your religious identity is your actual identity. It’s as much a core element of who you are as an individual, as your race or nationality. Regardless if its Islam, Judaism or Christianity, when you adhere to a fundamentalist philosophy, you are aligning yourself with passages that clearly villainize non-believers as the enemy or infidels whom God will judge by sending to hell.
In the case of Islam, the Qur’an clearly demands that all believers engage in violent expansion of Islamic rule. The Qur’an has arguably less religious content than political demands for implementation of the theocracy of Islam/Sharia. Muslims are told that failure to engage in this holy struggle, is equal to disbelief. While many Muslims have chosen to not adhere to this principal (for numerous reasons), it’s undeniable that hundreds of millions of other Muslims are fundamentalists.
For them, the law is the most essential component of Islam, leading to an overwhelming emphasis on the morals and social norms of bronze-age Middle Eastern men.
When you combine these kinds of ideas with an inherent skepticism of any education outside of Islamic studies, you end up with a brainwashed collective of around one billion people who will straight fucking cut your goddamn head off because a book told them to.
A book. Not their race. Not the color of their skin.
Immorality is immorality, and anyone of any ethnicity can be immoral. If you’ve chosen to manufacture your own benevolent version of Islam, then good for you. It’s nice to hear you’re not declaring fatwas or shaming your other Islamic brethren as apostates.
Could you do us a favor and stop bitching when we publicly shame and ostracize that gigantic super-majority of uneducated, brainwashed jihadists? Thanks. If you don’t adhere to their ideas, then we’re not talking to you. If you can’t see that, then you’re either a fool or you’re aware of the fact that deep down, you CAN’T separate Islam from the Qur’an, or benevolently interpret it into a whitewashed “religion of peace”.
Also, dear liberals, could you just admit that there is such a thing as bad ideas? The ethics of the good people who abandon the immorality of their religion does not absolve the evil and horror that comes from the people who revel in it. In other words, the good deeds of some, don’t change the bad deeds of others. If I criticize the philosophy that says women are property, and murder is okay, then get the fuck out of my way.
Human decency was not created by religion. It precedes it. The reason so many good people have stepped back from some of the ideas of thousands of years ago, is because we’ve grown since then. With the exception of a few pockets in Utah and the Middle East, we don’t think that a man should be allowed to sell his daughter into sex slavery. We also don’t think a rape victim should be forced to marry her rapist. We kind of balk at the idea of stoning a rape victim because she didn’t scream loud enough, and most of us don’t think owning people is okay.
Meanwhile, regardless of your personal interpretations, your religious texts condone or demand ALL of these things and other people in the world are claiming you’re the fake. They actually have a theological leg to stand on, because they’re not cherry-picking their religion. You are.
So yes, people like me are going to speak up about this. We are going to make you uncomfortable, and we’re going to say things about what you believe in, that you feel are mischaracterizations of your faith because you feel it’s unfair to lump you in with the fundies.
Well, too bad.
Secularism means that people like me will defend your freedom to believe in your faith and practice it freely, up to the point where it harms someone else. You’re free to swing around your Bible, or your Qur’an, or your Torah, up to the point where you hit someone else in the nose. If you feel like your religious beliefs are above scrutiny, criticism, or public scorn, then you are sorely mistaken. It is not anti-theism or hate to question the validity of your religious texts, or call into question the ethics contained within them. The problem is not JUST these people; there is culpability in the religious philosophy itself. It must be addressed honestly.
Liberals, wake up. You can respect religious freedom while still questioning and criticizing it.