Bullshit! A guy walks into a church… a guy walks into a school… a guy walks into a mall… This is America and in America this is a common occurrence. As that great Kenyan liar and black Nazi Satan, President Barack Hussein Obama pointed out the other day, “we as a country, we have to reckon with the fact that this mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”
Because America is the greatest country in the world! We are exceptional! We have a God-given freedom to kill each other as often as we see fit. Kill our kids in their schools, kill each other in our movie theaters, and kill those uppity black SOBs in their churches. Because…America, that’s why; America, hell yeah, with the confederate battle flag (a symbol of sedition and treason) flying proudly near the capital building in SC and on bumper stickers across the south (and Alaska).
America, where people carry loaded automatic rifles through a Walmart because they can, where an NRA board member blames the victims of the Charleston shooting for what happened because the pastor wasn’t armed, and where a declared presidential candidate tweets about having a little “second amendment fun” days after the shooting. America, where members of the Westborough Baptist Church will boycott the funerals of all nine victims because the pastor and state senator supported Hillary Clinton, and that’s why God struck him down.
America is the greatest nation on earth because America has freedom and nobody else does. America has freedom and America has guns and guns = freedom and don’t you f-ing forget it! We have freedom to kill each other, freedom to spout hatred and freedom to spout outrageous lies. But apparently we don’t have the common sense not to.
“When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies. Because, you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts.” – Michael Ende, The Neverending Story
“People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” – Agent K, “Men in Black”
“You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” – Morpheus, “The Matrix”
And this is a good example of how deep it does go.
Dylann Roof admittedly walked into a Charleston church, sat through an hour of bible study, and then, although he admittedly hesitated because the congregation was so nice to him, killed nine people, including the pastor, also a state senator. Add it to the long list of American freedoms tragedies.
Except this one was a little different. Dylann Roof didn’t turn his gun on himself. He apparently wasn’t suicidal. He left the church and ran away. And he was caught shortly thereafter. There is no indication that he was mentally ill. If he was on drugs, he wasn’t acting that way.
It’s very early in the investigation into what transpired, and there are some conflicting reports coming out, but there are some very interesting aspects to this case that have come to light so far. One of these is the so-called manifesto allegedly written by Roof.1 It’s worth the time it takes to read it. The picture it paints is that of a pretty normal kid who quit school after ninth grade and finished his education on internet hate sites.
“The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case… this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens.”
The Council of Conservative Citizens arose from the old White Citizens’ Council and their stated goal is to “oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action’ and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.”2
Dylann Roof’s beliefs were manipulated by others, and he was unable to see what was happening. That does not in any way absolve him of responsibility, but it makes a very important statement when we look at America today and realize that the greatest terrorist threat we face may come from our own disaffected young people being recruited by outside interests over the internet who are relying on the fact that many of these kids do not have the critical thinking skills to reject the lies.
There are also reports that he told friends he wanted to kill people at a university. And those friends did not notify the authorities. What the hell were they thinking?
There are reports that his father gave him a gun for his 21st birthday, the same father that offered to serve as his executioner if he was allowed. That the hell was he thinking?
We are, without a doubt, the most exceptional nation on the planet. We do almost everything but think!
Back in the late 40’s there was a guy writing science fiction and westerns for the pulp magazines and while moderately successful at it, he was not making much money. He had two failed, bigamous marriages, and had left the Navy, petitioning for psychiatric care. By 1948 he was working with hypnosis and the occult. He once wrote that, “Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”3
So, he did. L Ron Hubbard™ created the Church of Scientology. It isn’t exactly a “church,” and there is precious little science involved, but that’s the name. This is a multi-national corporation that in this country is based in California. It fought for years to obtain tax exempt-status from the IRS after losing it earlier, and in 2012 tax records showed that the tip of the iceberg that is Scientology was worth 1.2 billion dollars.
So what? There has always been lots of money to be made in religion. Visit any cathedral in Europe. Well, when a hack science fiction writer and voodoo hypnotist creates a religion that becomes worth billions, one really should have a lookie-loo, don’t you think? And, believe me, lots of people have looked. But it’s hard to find accurate information, because these Scientology folks are very secretive and litigious. They have even trademarked the name of their founder, who once said, “The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them.” 4
So what kind of lie does he tell? Forgive me if I paraphrase:
Xenu was a galactic dictator of sorts who ruled an over-populated galactic confederacy of 76 planets and brought billions of his people to earth 75 million years ago, stacked them up like cord wood around volcanos, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. The immortal spirits of these beings, called Thetans, cling to humans and must be dealt with. And Scientology can do that. Trust me, it’s way more complicated than this – and way more entertaining. Give it a wiki-look.5
Now, the Church of Scientology denies this interpretation of their own beliefs even though past members have vouched for it and court documents have verified it. I can only assume that this is because these are the inner sanctum scriptures only revealed after you have been brainwashed for years at the lower levels, and revealing them too early would cause you to laugh so hard snot came out your nose and you would withhold payment on the last check.
So how many people actually shell out money to belong to a “church” whose most secret teachings sound more like a pulp novel space opera that anything else? How much absurdity will people swallow? The church claims 10 million, worldwide. More reasoned estimates put it at less than 250,000.6 Really? Why would 200K+ people believe this stuff?
It’s really very simple. They had unfulfilled needs in their lives. They were lied to. Their beliefs were manipulated. They were controlled. They were made to feel that some of those needs had been bettered. They were fleeced. And they were unable or unwilling to see that.
“In a republican nation whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance.” – Thomas Jefferson.
Reason: “the power of the mind to think and understand in a logical way – Merriam Webster
Critical Thinking: “Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments that are logical and well thought out. It is a way of thinking in which you don’t simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to but rather have an attitude involving questioning such arguments and conclusions” – study.com
“We oppose the teaching of … critical thinking skills and similar programs that … focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” – The Republican Party of Texas.7
We are lied to all the time. Every day. If you are on Facebook or other social media, many times a day. How do I know this? To quote Lewis Black, “I think!”
Some time ago someone on my Facebook “friend list” shared a link from “startImpeachmentnow.com” that included a video of a Fox News interview with former judge Andrew Napolitano (before he was fired) in which it was claimed that the president had just signed a “secret” bill that made it a felony to exercise your first amendment rights “when the Secret Service is present.8 Now, this seemed a little unbelievable, so I did a little research. It didn’t take much.
The bill in question was HR347.9 This was an amendment to a law passed in 1971 which allowed the secret service to set up temporary restricted areas at places like hotels and conference centers for the protection of public officials. You know, to keep the wingnuts with guns from assassinating another president. The only changes it made to that law were to drop the word “willingly” from the language and to add the White House as a permanent restricted area. No changes in were made in the classification of the crime for violating this law which made it a misdemeanor to cross the secret service line (unless you were carrying a loaded gun which did make it a felony from 1971 on). The law does not address protesting outside the restricted area, and it slipped through congress so quietly because it was essentially a non-event.
So, of course, we should start impeachment of Obama now. Not Reagan then. Impeach Obama, now, because he is restricting your first amendment rights.
I made a comment on this gentleman’s post to the effect that Napolitano was not giving the facts and gave a link to the government web site that had the text of the bill. It was very short – a page. A number of other people had joined the discussion by that time and I urged them all to just read the bill.
I have no way of knowing if anyone else did and then dropped out of the conversation, but the original poster would not. Instead he responded as follows, “So let me see if I have this right. 1). Andrew Napolitano is a lawyer and a judge with constitutional experience. 2. (You) worked in the Theater arts department of liberal institution of higher learning. I think I’ll go with Andrew on this one.”
And that, right there, is what the Texas Republican Party, the corporate-conservative right, and the hate-mongering bigots of this world want your children to grow up to do: ignore facts, not think, accept so-called authority, and allow themselves to be lied to. Because the only way to control people, as L Ron points out, is to lie to them. And if you can’t think critically, you’ll never know you were lied to.
If you can’t think critically, you read the internet hate sites and have no way to know you are being duped, taken in, exploited. You take the gun your father gave you and you “complete your mission.”
Fox News lied (again!). Andrew Napolitano lied! It was easy to see. It was easy to verify. How the hell do these people get away with this time after time? And why, when the truth is so easy to verify, will others snort, roll their eyes, and continue to live in ignorance?
There are at least two reasons. First, critical thinking, questioning what we hear, is a lost art for far too many Americans. We don’t teach it in the schools, we teach it in far too few homes, and we certainly don’t teach it in the church. It’s hard to do, so we allow ourselves to be controlled by just about anyone who sounds sincere and has some sort of reputation without applying any tests of reason, without demanding any process of persuasion other than tribal membership and a pleasant demeanor.
We allow ourselves to be controlled by politicians who say absolutely absurd things, by news organizations who say absolutely untrue things, by web sites that say hateful things, by church leaders who have lost sight of the real meaning of their religion, and by people who are so controlled by others that they no longer know what untrue and absurd are.
Secondly, admitting that the people we trust lie demeans us. Admitting that we have been taken in by those lies demeans us even further. Willful blindness is a concept akin to cognitive dissonance.10 They are not exactly the same, but they go hand in hand. Fox News lies. Andrew Napolitano lies. But I watch Fox News so I’ll just ignore that. Why would I go out of my way to prove something that will make me look bad? You actually want me to spend time making a fool of myself? Screw that. It’s much easier to just make an ad hominem attack on someone who has spent the time to garner the facts and let it go at that. Facts don’t matter: only what I believe matters.
So the lies go unchallenged. And they are repeated over and over until, by virtue of the fact that they show up in more than two Google search lines, they are accepted without question.
A republican nation, a nation where we elect representatives to make decisions on our behalf, requires the art of reasoning. It cannot survive on the art of deception. It cannot survive on willful blindness. It cannot survive on ignorance. We elect those representatives. It will not survive if we elect the wrong representatives again and again. It will not long survive if those representatives lie to us for their own or for corporate gains, or if they put personal beliefs above truth and facts.
And it is a testament to how far down the rabbit hole we have fallen that so many people in this country are unable or unwilling to see this. Our very core beliefs are being manipulated on a daily basis through deceit and lies. Huge armies of highly educated people are paid to spend their entire working lives figuring out how to dupe us, how to get us to buy this thing or support that cause, or vote for this person who supports their interests. We have become twenty-first century serfs living in the shadow of the corporate castle, worshiping at an altar that has been painstakingly and quietly crafted for us.
It has to stop.
There has to be change and it will not come from the willfully blind. It will not come from the cognitively dysfunctional. It will not come from the corporate plutocracy or the pulpit or the paltry 37% of registered voters who chose the last congress.
Change, if it comes at all, will have to come from those who can both see danger we face and see that the willfully blind, the cognitively dysfunctional, the con men, the haters, and the liars and the flimflam people must be marginalized so that the art of reason can once again hold sway. It will have to come from those who can educate themselves to see the truth and motivate themselves to no longer sit on the sidelines.
There is a difference between being controlled and being led. You lead by example. You lead by educating people to make intelligent decisions.
There are 63% of all registered voters in this country waiting to be led. There are 70 million unregistered voters in this country waiting to be led. They are more than enough. They can decide the future if we can just lead them, if we can get to them before the flimflam people, if we can see that their right to vote isn’t taken from them by those terrified of how they might cast it.
Try to hold up your end.
Your Humble Servant,
The Willowbrook Curmudgeon
[This is Part 4 of the Back to Square One Series.]
- Readers Digest 1980: Scientology: Anatomy of a Frightening Cult
- Off the Time Track,” lecture of June 1952, excerpted in Journal of Scientology issue 18- G, reprinted in Technical Volumes of Dianetics & Scientology, vol. 1, p. 418