Monday, February 07, 2011

God or the Beast

Imagine, for a minute, the following scenario:

God gets up one morning and decides that good and evil don't matter anymore. The only thing that matters is that people worship God. The more people worship God, the happier God becomes. If God wants to be even happier, what is the logical thing for God to do? God could get people to worship more, but there are only so many hours in the day. The best way for God to get more happiness is to get more people.

So, God interferes a little. God gets a bunch of people to decide that birth control is a bad thing. This will create more people and more worship. There are other people that think it is better to have fewer people, so that everyone can live better. God gives these people birth control. The people have to worship a lot to get the birth control.

God gives the anti-birth-control people big places to worship, because there are a lot of them, and they have a lot of children. God tells them they are right—that good people should never kill babies. And they are right. Good people should never kill anyone. God tells the birth-control people that they are right—that no child should be born into poverty and misery, which is also true. Leaving both groups certain that they are right and the other group is wrong, God goes on vacation to Africa and lets the two groups duke it out here at home.

In Africa, God lets the no-birth-control people win the prize, and there are many, many people there to worship God. There are so many people, in fact, that they begin killing each other over things like petroleum, diamonds, and gold. God is very happy because there are so many of them and they are worshipping a lot. Eventually, the Africans will kill each other over other things—water, arable land, and food. God, who doesn't care about right and wrong, only worship, will allow the Africans to kill each other, some in the name of God, some, simply for survival. When there are no more Africans, God will let the no-birth-control people have Africa.

And then it will happen all over again, until there is nothing left to fight over and no one left to fight.

Who is this God with such an all-consuming need for worship? Could God really be like that?

Maybe. Think for a moment about big corporations. They have one desire only: money. Money that is soaked in blood spends just as well as any other money. The only thing that matters is getting money. The only thing better than money is more money. Since there is only so much money to be made from the people who are already here, corporations, who never (or rarely) die, work to make sure that there are more people, to bring them more money.

If corporations can set two groups in opposition to one another in a community, the two groups may never notice that they are both right, and that as long as they fight amongst themselves, they remain unable to hold the corporations responsible for things like withholding birth control from poor women (who then think they need abortions to escape poverty).

Corporations have all the powers of people and few responsibilities. They are like mega-people who are above the law. They have lots of wealth, which equals power. When they cause misery and death, they are hard to hold accountable, because that wealth buys influence with the government. They share exactly enough of their wealth with regular people to convince them that society could not survive without them. Because their one value is profit, they are amoral, even though they are run by humans, who are moral. The humans in charge must, morally, do their best to ensure profits, and therefore are unable to force corporations to act in ways that benefit humanity, unless those ways produce profits.

The Supreme Court of the United States gave corporations a constitutional right to free speech in the Citizens' United case. This decision essentially ended the American experiment with democracy. In 100 years, North America will look very much like sub-Saharan Africa does today, unless we can find a way to starve the corporate beast. That beast is telling Americans that the problem is government. For the corporate beast, this is a true statement; but government is the only thing large enough to control the beast. For individual Americans and communities, government is all that stands between them and complete subjugation to corporate greed.

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About Me

I love my country, that is why I criticize its absurdities; I love my freedom, that is why I do it publicly.