Do you still believe in the tooth fairy?

2002-01-06

Richard Moore

Bcc: some colleagues

Dear friends,

When I was about six or seven, I got into trouble with the
neighbors because I told their kids there wasn't any Santa
Claus.  Nobody had told me, I simply figured out that there
were too many chimneys, and too little time, for Santa to
visit everyone... not to mention that no sleigh could hold
that many presents.

I mention this because Santa serves as a paradigm for
believing in the absurd.  Why do people believe things that
make no sense, just because everyone else seems to believe? 
In some sense, all my writing is simply a continuation of
what I was doing at six or seven... pointing out to people
that much of what they accept as true is not only false, but
absurd.  The matrix is a shallow sham.

My next youthful encounter with beliefs happened at about
15, when I started thinking about Christianity.  I didn't
conclude that Christianity was a lie, not then, but I did
conclude that there was no way I could tell whether or not
it had any validity.  My reasoning went like this... suppose
I had been born in India, to a Hindu family.  I would have
grown up believing in those myths, and those values, and not
have known I wouldn't be 'saved' when the 'Judgement Day'
came.  How would I have known that I was learning
falsehoods, that my 'soul' was in danger?  That then led to
the question: how did I know ~I~ wasn't learning falsehoods
in Christianity?  I then realized there wasn't any way to
know... kids simply believe what they're told, that's the
long and the short of it.  And kids are told what their
parents were told when they were kids.

Now consider what people call 'conspiracy theories'. 
Liberals have a knee-jerk way of dismissing certain ideas,
or evidence... "That sounds like a conspiracy theory".  With
that, they consider the matter settled, the ideas or
evidence obviously refuted.  I've tried on more than one
occasion to delve into this kind of non-reasoning.  One
fellow articulated it rather well: "If such and such were
true, then it would eventually come out, we'd hear about
it".  I think what he meant was that we'd hear about it in
the mainstream media.  The same kind of non-reasoning which
a kid might use: "I don't care what the evidence is, if
there were no Santa my mommy would tell me."

I call such thinking 'non-reasoning', not because there
isn't a logic to it, but because at the core we're talking
about faith rather than reason.  A child was once asked by
his pastor, "What is faith?".  His answer: "Believing what
you know isn't true".  The pastor chuckled at the innocence,
but the kid had hit the nail on the head.  Just like the kid
who pointed out that the Emperor had no clothes.

Liberals have a faith that the system is fundamentally
legitimate.  There may be corrupt officials, and
irresponsible corporations, and misleading media, but these
are anomalies.  With a bit more reform, intelligent voting,
public education, etc., such rough edges can be rounded off
and everything will be OK.  They have a hard time getting
their head around the idea that the whole system was
designed in the first place as a deception - to enable rule
by wealthy elites - and that the 'anomalies' reflect
precisely how the system is ~intended~ to function.

Consider this thing people call 'democracy'.  Anyone with
half a brain can see that it doesn't actually work.  That
is, it does not achieve it's main purpose: to run the
country the way people want it run.  Most people, survey
after survey shows, want things like nuclear disarmament,
peace, full employment, a sound environment, etc. 
Government policies, quite obviously, are aimed in entirely
the other direction. So why do most people continue to
believe that they live in a democracy?  It boggles the mind.
I could explain, and I have, why a system based on parties
and elections could never be democratic, but there's little
point. Such explanations mean little to someone who is
governed by faith.  Until someone is ready to question, they
don't have much capacity to look at answers.

And then there's capitalism, today's dominant religion. 
Never has there been a clearer example of the emperor's new
clothes.  The first thing to look at, as with all issues, is
the results - the empirical facts.  Today, when capitalism
is more dominant than ever before, we see all around the
world declining standards of living, unstable economies, a
wrecked environment, poverty, famine, genocide, disease,
eroding civil liberties, and the destabilization of already
pitiful democratic institutions.  Capitalism is a dark cloud
whose few silver linings are rapidly disappearing.  And yet,
how many people are ready to question capitalism as a
system?  What is it that maintains this blind faith?

Certainly it isn't the theory of capitalism.  The theory is
even more absurd than the results on the ground.  The theory
talks about fair and open competition among a large number
of small producers and consumers, none of whom can
individually effect market prices.  It's an intriguing
theory, but it has nothing to do with capitalism. 
Capitalism has always been about turning control of the
economy over to wealthy investors, industrialists, and
bankers - it is the ISM of CAPITAL.  It is a ~political~
doctrine, justified by a false economic argument.  It is a
system of elite rule, whose actual economic nature changes
from time to time - depending on what best serves to
maximize elite wealth and to maintain elite control.  If
sharing the wealth (1945-1980) serves that purpose, so be it
- but otherwise forget it.  If protectionism serves elite
interests, then we have protectionism; if free trade serves
elite interests, then we have free trade. No matter how
often capitalism changes its tune, the flock keeps its faith
nonetheless.  At least with Christianity there's a bit of
consistency.

Closely linked to capitalism is the relationship between the
West and the third world.  Most Westerners believe that the
West strives to help the third world, out of humanitarian
concern.  Where does such blind faith come from?  Certainly
it isn't from history, from current practice, or from
looking at the results.  Never for one moment has the West
done anything to the third world except exploit, plunder,
murder, and dominate.  How can so many people believe the
opposite of what is plain to see?

In some sense, we can answer all these Why and How questions
by pointing to the mass media and the education systems. 
But even those who question the media usually do so entirely
too halfheartedly.  Most people see the media as trying to
tell the truth, but over influenced by government and
corporations.  Not so.  The purpose and practice of the
corporate-controlled media is to present a charade, a
fictional world - a world where capitalism is beneficial,
the West is humanitarian, democracy works, etc. etc.  Out of
all the events going on in the world, most are ignored (eg.,
East Timor genocide for two decades).  A few selected
stories are followed, and each is slanted to maintain the
charade.

Many people have written to me, saying that they find my
analysis persuasive, but that they find it too discouraging
to accept.  I find this attitude very difficult to fathom. 
It's the choice Cypher makes in The Matrix: "Insert me back
in the Matrix, and take away all my memories."  It's the
choice of a heroin addict, who seeks oblivion.  I can
understand how someone can believe what the flock believes,
out of self-doubt, before I can understand how someone could
consciously choose to believe lies because it's comfortable.

If this were all a matter of academic truth, then it
wouldn't matter much.  The point, however, is that WE MUST
CHANGE THINGS IF HUMANITY IS TO SURVIVE IN OTHER THAN DISMAL
SERVITUDE.  If you don't want to do anything about it, and
you just want to hide in the matrix, then you can believe
what you want.  But if you want to do anything effective,
then you must understand what the system is really about. 
If you consider yourself an activist, and you're working
from the wrong map of reality, then you're wasting your
time.

For example, let's consider some of the responses of
activists to the World Trade Center incident and Bush's
phony War on Terrorism.  One of the responses has been to
preach an attitude of understanding and forgiveness, to
counter feelings of outrage and revenge.  This is a waste of
time for two reasons.  Not that understanding and
forgiveness are not good things, but they are strategically
irrelevant.  The first reason is that popular sentiments for
revenge have nothing to do with the war being pursued by
Bush.  They are not the cause, they are the excuse.  The
second reason is that we don't live in a democracy.  If 90%
of the population wanted peace and forgiveness, that
wouldn't change government policy one iota - although it
might lead to a different slant in media propaganda.

Another response, among those who suspect that the CIA knew
beforehand of the attack, is to call for a Federal
investigation.  That's like asking the fox to investigate
the theft of hens.  Either there won't be an investigation,
or it will be a cover-up, like most Federal investigations
before it.  When a crime is committed, the perpetrator is
not the one to turn to for help.

Just as Santa could not visit billions of homes in one
evening, a hijacked airliner could not proceed unmolested
for 35 minutes after the second World Trade building had
been hit - not without top-level complicity from Washington.
Can't you see this for yourself?  Do you need to wait for a
prime time news broadcast to tell you?  If so, it will never
happen.  Your grandchildren ~might~ learn the truth on the
History Channel, as we've recently learned that FDR knew in
advance about Pearl Harbor, but it will be too late then.

The reality of the WTC attack is that it was a replay of the
Reichstag fire - a self-inflicted outrage designed to usher
in a fascist regime.  If you're reading from another map,
you'll never get anywhere.  Not that the true map makes the
job easy, not at all.  Overcoming global fascism will be a
monumental task.  But until we recognize what the task is,
we cannot begin it.

imho,
rkm
http://cyberjournal.org








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