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Archive for August, 2009

If you‘re a politician, it’s good to have multiple wars going, real and metaphorical, because then people forget about all but the most recent one you started. And all wars make politicians and government very, very important.

Government is, like fire, a dangerous servant and a frightful master (attributed to George Washington). It is inherently fascistic. Its laws are not optional. It’s composed not of wise, impartial solons with nothing in mind but the nation’s welfare and the Constitution….but of people no smarter than you and me, probably dumber, because most of them couldn’t hold real jobs, what with all the accountability for budgets, timeframes, cost-savings, debt, and other such trivia with which the politician need not bother.

Recently there has arisen a new kinds of writing that just….creeps me out. In order for your site to be found by search engines, you must have content, in the form of articles rich in keywords. Hundreds of them, written by hacks for a pittance…or by people in Asia for whom $5/hour is a good day’s wage.

We are 99% the same genetically as chimpanzees, who spend all their time in fighting, feuding, confrontations, power struggles, and outright murder. Language and technology haven’t stopped it – they’ve just made us better at it.

Religion is dangerous. It’s not good for you or for your health. Here in the West, we are very much concerned with risks to our health. We read eagerly of the next nutrition fad or antioxidant. Well, don’t you think religion is a threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, weighing people down with guilt, fantasy stories, and promises of an afterlife? And how many people die each year from religious persecution and violence? Surely the number must be comparable to those who suffer and die from breast cancer, smoking, alcoholism, heart disease, diabetes, and so many others, against which we mount crusades, conduct walkathons, collect the money, and badger politicians for special programs and research grants.

Ancient Jews in the Torah story had a movable holy place — the Tent of Meeting (see Exodus, Ch. 40). The establishment of synagogues (surely an original experiment in franchising) represented a vast increase in the number of holy places. True magic wasn’t focused only in the Temple any more.

Jews are now preparing to mourn the destruction of two those precious temples (by a culture that for all its awful excesses had contributed far more to the good of humanity), a holiday called Tisha B’Av, which occasionally falls on my birthday. I challenge them to take a good hard look at what those temples represented: primitive, fantasy-based, priest- and rule-donimated, misogynistic, xenophobic Judaism. Something no modern person would identify with.

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