Archives for posts with tag: lies

Many people have requested a one-page summary of the new book. This one is under 400 words. [Slightly revised 8 June 2010.]

Roy Sablosky: NO ONE BELIEVES IN GOD (second draft, November 2009)

  1. It’s not about belief
    1. That religion has to do with beliefs becomes implausible when you look at the behaviors it evokes. For example:
      1. Their “beliefs” challenged, people are often enraged, as if you had threatened not their opinions but their safety.
      2. One joins a group, not its beliefs. Self-described Catholics may differ profoundly with their church elders on important issues; they are Catholics despite their beliefs.
      3. Notoriously, church elders routinely flout the “beliefs” they most fervently espouse.
    2. Claims of belief are implausible where the tenet in question is nonsensical.
      1. Religious propositions are incoherent. (This is probably by design. A slogan is catchier if no one knows what it means.) In the sentence “Jesus loves you” for example, both the subject and the verb are impossible to characterize or observe. Such a statement is perfectly empty: it is a pseudo-proposition.
      2. Since they are without meaning, religious statements can be neither meant nor believed. Thomas Jefferson: “I suppose belief to be the assent of the mind to an intelligible proposition.” Ludwig Wittgenstein: “one cannot mean a senseless series of words.”
    3. Therefore, no one really believes in the teachings of any prophet or the existence of any god. It cannot be done. It does not happen. People who think they are doing it are mistaken.
  2. Religion is made of memes plus authoritarianism
    1. Religious “beliefs” are memes. Just like germs, they are contagious; and just like germs they evolve through natural selection. The religious memes circulating now have evolved over thousands of years to be very, very good at what they do.
    2. People are naturally deferential to authority figures.
    3. Authority and memetic self-replication combine to form religion.
  3. What we should do
    1. Admit no religious exceptions to any legislation. A few examples:
      1. End all tax breaks (that is: subsidies) for religious organizations and their personnel.
      2. Eliminate chaplaincy programs at all levels of government, including the armed services.
      3. Remove legislative impediments to abortion and birth control.
      4. Outlaw the teaching of antediluvian codswallop in public school.
      5. Government should ratify only civil unions, not “marriages”. Anyone willing and competent to sign such a contract should be allowed to.
    2. Revise the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. No proposal having a religious rationale or using religious terminology should become a law.
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It was a blast to hear Conceptual Guerilla read my post On Conservative “Philosophy” out loud. He’s got a terrific voice. My words sounded mighty impressive in his mouth. The YASHWATA quote starts about 19 minutes into the podcast of 26 December 2008.

CG, a broadcaster and podcaster, is one of the very few liberal voices out there who gets loud and angry on the air. He calls liars liars and scumbags scumbags. He’s fun to listen to — more fun than any conservative ranter, because you don’t have to put up with the relentless, stomach-twisting mendacity of a Limbaugh or an O’Reilly.

After my four minutes of fame (near 23:00) he segues into a good point I have not heard before. He says it something like this (I’m going to edit my transcript a little, because reading so is different from listening):

Remember something that I’ve said about conservatives, and that YASHWATA backs up. Not only do they not want to solve certain problems, but they affirmatively want to not solve them. Conservatives want to not have universal health care. They want health care to not be universal. They want some people to do without it. They want there to be people who don’t have it. They want there to be people who live in poverty. When you say, “We want to do something about these problems” — conservatives want to not do something about these problems.

Which is where the lie comes in. They don’t want to admit that, because they would lose elections! So they lie about it.

Knowing that a few people read my post and understood it… I can hardly imagine a more pleasant feeling.

There isn’t a choice between conservative and liberal philosophies. This is because conservatism is not a philosophy. Let me explain.

Liberalism is a philosophy. Liberalism defines the general welfare—Bentham’s “greatest happiness for the greatest number”—as the center and purpose of all decision-making; and proceeds from there to consider how best to organize and govern the society.

Conservatism is not a philosophy. It is a pattern of behavior. The conservative works toward wealth and power for himself and his friends. All decisions are made on this basis. But when speaking about his decisions, he describes them in liberal terms. He claims to be motivated by concern for the general public. He claims to be working for the general good. Asked to describe the difference between himself and a liberal, he will say that very broadly they have similar goals; their differences come down to how they propose to get there. But this is not true. Conservative decisions are not designed to benefit the general public, only the plutocrats and power-brokers. Conservatism is not a different technique for serving the public; it is a technique for fleecing the public.

Therefore, public servants cannot and do not choose to adopt either a liberal or a conservative philosophy. They choose either to care about their community or to only pretend to care. They choose to tell the truth, or to lie.

So-called “conservatives” are liars. They pretend that there is a conservative approach to solving community problems, which can be contrasted with the liberal approach. But the conservative approach to helping the community does not exist. Conservative methods do not help the community, because they are not intended to. The conservative approach is not to care about community problems. Therefore, as soon as a conservative starts telling you how he’s going to help you, he’s already lied to you twice. The second time was when he said that he thought his plan would help you—he doesn’t think so. The first time was just before that, when he said that he wants to help you. He doesn’t.