Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Politics and Religion, Good and Evil in the World Today

Based on my remarks at the Politics and Religion conference held in Grozny, October 6th, 2018


When I look back on twenty years of political activism in the USA and more recently in Donbass, I must admit I sometimes wonder if it was worth it. I ask myself if I have actually done any good. "Good", both in the moral sense and as well as whether I've been effective. Whether I've done my share, made any actual difference. We all have a part to play, something that we can do. The question is whether we do what we can, or don't. Einstein said that the answers to all the world's problems lie in the space between what people do and what they could do, if they chose to, if they made the effort, took action instead of just talking about the world's problems, or worse, ignoring them.

But of course, if you take the responsibility, the risk, of taking action, you must be sure it is for the right cause. This brings up the question of good and evil. You have to know what they are to know which side you're on.  So, let's start by defining both "Good" and "Evil", as moral, philosophic and materialistic concepts. Should we start with Good or Evil? As Anton Chigurh might say, "Let's flip for it." I did. It came up tails. Evil.

Many people say that money is the root of all evil. They are ignorant, (and we'll get to that) aping the words of others, clueless as to the real quote, where it came from, or what it really means. The real quote is from the Bible, First Timothy 6:10, and it says "The love of money is the root of all evil", and that is what it means. Big difference.  So, how is the love of money expressed? Through greed and selfishness of course, and greed and selfishness are also symptoms of fear.

Scott Peck, the brilliant psychiatrist and theologian, wrote a book, People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, in which he gave several excellent definitions of what evil really is. The first and most concise is simply "militant ignorance". Think about that for a moment, let it sink in. And ask yourself if there is a better, more all encompassing description than that for the USA in the 21st Century.  It is the definition of evil. There are other definitions and  indices of evil in his book, all of which are instructive. The title itself defines evil - "The People of the Lie". Is there a representative of the US government over the last 30 years for whom this title does not apply? The Bible, in John 8:44 describes the Devil, saying, "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar, and the father of lies." Peck further defines evil as "a willingness to impose suffering on others, in order to avoid one's own spiritual growth." Again hauntingly familiar, a definition I am sure that the millions of suffering victims of the USA's 21st Century wars of aggression would readily agree with.

The modern history of the USA is one big lie. From the Warren Commission to 9/11, from Iraqi WMD's to Syrian chemical weapons, lies are the currency of the US government. And the worst kind of lies are self-deception, which allows people to continue to do evil, while pretending to themselves that they are good. The murder of Gaddafi and the destruction of Libya, under the excuse of Right-to-Protect ("R2P") is a perfect example. The "protection" that the US and NATO provided to Libya has led directly to an estimated minimum of 150,000 people in Libya, and a potential maximum of 360,000, with the mean average estimated at 250,000 people "protected" to death in Libya in the last 8 years. Under self righteous but demonstrably false premises. The same false premises have cost the lives of 2.4 million people in Iraq (NOT counting the 500,000 children killed by sanctions before the  2003 invasion, which Madeline Albright said were "worth it".)  Over a million are estimated to have been killed by US/NATO in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the death toll of the US instigated civil war against the legitimate government of Syria is estimated at 511,000 as of March 2018, and the toll continues to climb. These illegitimate wars of aggression, started by the USA and their lackey have killed over 4 million human beings in less than a decade, and these war continue today, based on the same lies with which they were started. The people of the lie, indeed...
So, let's begin our definition of evil by agreeing that those who commit, facilitate, allow or ignore the murder of millions of human beings is genuinely evil.

Hannah Arendt's book, Eichmann in Jerusalem : A Report on the Banality of Evil, also offers useful definitions and insights into what evil really is. She came away from Eichmann's trial struck by the banality, the stupidity, the utterly unremarkable and unoriginal character of a man who was also a willing functionary in a regime that was guilty in the mass murder of millions of people whose only "crime" was allowing themselves to be victims.  We can see the same banality in Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, in Boris Johnson and Teresa May, in Petro Poroshenko and Benjamin Netanyahu. Their pseudo intellect and their pseudo humanity. Another telltale sign of evil is cowardice - most of the leading German nazis chose suicide, and even murdered their entire families, rather than face justice and try to justify to the world what they were and what they had done. Or perhaps,it would be better to say that evil is a symptom of fear. It is, after all, far more difficult to be good than to be evil, especially in the world today, though perhaps it has always been thus.

Greed and stinginess are also symptoms of fear, and the ultimate goal of Capitalism can honestly be described in the vile maxim "All for me, and none for anybody else." In the USA today, the ultimate perversion of true Christianity is practiced by millions of affluent citizens under the contemptible name of "Prosperity Gospel". They say that they are rich because they are rewarded by God for being good, and poor people are poor because they are punished by God for their evil ways. This, of course, is the exact opposite of the true Gospel of Jesus, such as Matthew 19:24, " Indeed, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  And Matthew 1:29, " "If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own! Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven."   When it comes to riches, it was the Devil who "took Jesus on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the Earth, and all their riches, and said, "All this I will give to you if you will but fall down and worship me." Matthew 4:8. Among the venal scum who preach this false religion, giving to the poor is not a priority. They live in multi-million dollar mansions, own private jets and luxury cars and build "mega-churches" the size of sports stadiums, as opulent as any Roman colosseum. "Pastrix" Paula White even gave multi-millionaire ($147 million) "Bishop" T. D. Jakes a $200,000 Bentley convertible for his 50th birthday. The top 10 richest "pastors" in the world live in the USA, or Nigeria. These scum spend millions on their own obscenely extravagant lifestyles, while giving a tiny fraction of their proceeds to the poor. They are paid by the Devil that they worship.

Bono's ONE Foundation is another glaring example - Though his own net worth is close to $700 million, he started the ONE Foundation to "raise awareness" of extreme poverty in Africa and elsewhere. The foundation raised over $11 million in 2008, and gave less than 2% to actual programs to help the poor. The rest went to the already obscenely rich Bono and his yuppie underlings.  Of course, centi-millionaire Bono's fraud is chump change compared to the Clinton Foundation, "a charity fraud of epic proportions".   The Clinton Foundation entities are part of a network that has defrauded donors and created illegal private gains of approximately $100 billion in combined magnitude, and possibly more, since 23 October 1997."  Remember the quote about the love of money? It is the root of all evil. These phony preachers, these fake progressives, they love their money, are willing to steal food from starving children to buy their mansions and private jets, these паразиты, these parasites, are truly evil.

There is an old canard, sometimes taught in 3rd rate ethics or philosophy classes that asks, "Is it wrong for a man to steal medicine for his dying wife if he cannot afford to buy it?"  What a ridiculous question. The answer is so obvious to any decent human being - "No, it is wrong for there to be medicine that is unaffordable to people who need it." 

So, what is "good"?

As a Communist, my interpretation of what is right and good is that which is the greatest good for the greatest number of people, and by "good", I mean that which promotes the health and happiness, that which ensures the basic necessities of life and the opportunity for each individual to fulfill their human potential to the greatest degree. As I see it, to the extent that someone's actions diminish or interfere with this, they cannot be good. To the extent that they impose unnecessary suffering on others, they are evil. Every billionaire on this planet is evil. Their love of money has led them to amass unearned and unjustifiable fortunes without any consideration of others. No one can earn a billion dollars. That amount can only be stolen or swindled. No one can work so hard or be so brilliant that they could possibly earn such a sum. And it must be understood and remembered that a billion is one thousand million, and most billionaires are multi-billionaires, they have multi thousand millions. And yet children on this planet still starve, millions live without even the most basic requirements of life. There can be no moral justification for this.

Other than a belief in God and an afterlife to be determined by what we do in this one, the broader definition of "religion" is a belief in something greater than one's self, and a moral code that reflects that belief. I am an Orthodox Christian, and I do believe in God and an afterlife, but whether God exists or whether there is life after this one or not, either way, the definition of "good" remains the same. "The greatest good for the greatest number of people."  Certainly, this would be the right way to earn the approval of God and a good place in the afterlife, but even if this life is all we have, we should still work for the same goal - we must make it as good and fulfilling as possible for ourselves and for all who share this short cosmic miracle of life with us. After all, we are all in this together. So, religion is the moral code by which we judge good and evil, ourselves and others, and politics is the method we use to realize our ideals. Thus politics and religion are inextricably intertwined.

Von Clauswitz famously said, "War is not an independent phenomenon, it is the continuation of politics carried out by different means." So, if war is politics carried out by different means, then politics is war carried out by different means. And make no mistake, our world is at war, the final war, Armageddon, the final conflict between good and evil, life and death. This war has the very real potential to annihilate not only all human life but also the very biosphere, all complex life on our planet. We are here, now, to choose our side and do our part in this war. We all have a part to play, and we all choose our side. Neutrality is not an option. Indifference is not an option. Evil is winning, death is winning, and all those who do nothing are on that side.

The open warfare in Donbass and Syria are only the most obvious flashpoints in this global war between good and evil, life and death. And every choice we make, our every act or failure to act, effects this war and its ultimate outcome. Unless we can drastically change the current trajectory of human activity, we ourselves may not see the end of Humanity, but our children will. Life is what we make it, what all of us together make it for all of us together. Evil is powerful, but it is small, and it is afraid. We can defeat it, if we choose correctly our own moral code and then live by it in real terms, come what may, if we cross that space between what we do and what we could do, we can find the answers to all the world's problems.
Let's go!