Tag Archives: Liberty

Happy 4th of July. Celebrate [the illusion of] freedom

4 Jul

“The illusion of freedom [in America] will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” –Frank Zappa

Happy 4th of July. Everywhere you look in America today there is something or someone espousing the attitude of “AMERICA!!!FUCK YEAH!!!!” It’s freedom this or liberty that. Yet despite all this spirited celebration, not a single brain cell is occupied with contemplating what freedoms and liberties we have. If you ask someone, they’ll probably give some answer that sounds like it could be spoken from a character out of the Idiocracy movie. “What freedoms are you celebrating today?” “Well, ah….our freedom to be free!”

You have no freedom. You have only the illusion of freedom.

You might point to the bill of rights as a clear example of the freedoms you have, but then you would be incredibly naive. Rights by their nature are absolutes. If they are not absolutes then they are not rights, their enforcement is subject to the whims of the ruling power; an illusion. The ruling power will maintain that illusion as long as it is convenient for them to do so. In cases where it is no longer convenient, they will dispense with the theater and the true nature of your “rights” are relieved.

Over the past century the US government has shown that no right is absolute. Freedom of speech, press, and assembly? That will be tolerated as long as it is the correct speech, press, and assembly. Look at the brutal crackdowns on protesters, “free speech zones” miles away from the subject of the protest, the police violence .Freedom from unwarranted search and seizures? Nonexistent. Everything you do on facebook, every phone call and text message you send is recorded by the government. You are suspect by default. Every citizen is a potential enemy of the state.

The right to due process, a speedy trial and protection from cruel and unusual punishment? Ask Bradley Manning about that. Or ask Anwar al-Awlaki, an American tried, sentenced, and executed with no due process, no trial, and no appeal. Or ask his dead 16yr old son who was executed two weeks later in the same manner. Ask anyone on the US government’s “kill list.” Ask the owners of Megaupload or any one of the other websites arbitrarily, illegally, and capriciously shut down by the government.

“But at least we’re not some third world country suffering starvation, civil war, and lawlessness!”

No. Making that argument is surrender. You are setting the bar so low that it might as well be on the ground, and yet you seem elated that you’re able to step over it. No amount of sarcasm can express my disdain for this argument. The funny thing is that you can’t even step over it, it’s more like you trip over it. Corruption, lawlessness, and starvation exist here in the US. The difference is that our aliments are better hidden. People are expecting to see starving Africans, or warlords, or guards taking bribes. Yet in America our starving people look like everyone else, or a homeless veteran under a bridge. Our warlords wear suits and drive nice cars. Our corrupt officials take bribes from corporations and sit in congress. There remains only one absolute right in the US.

Your right to remain silent.

Liberty & Freedom are worthless

24 Apr

Liberty and Freedom are worthless words. The ideas those words used to represent are still invaluable, but we no longer have words to represent those concepts.

In George Orwell’s 1984 there is the important concept of “double speak“. Double speak is the deliberate distortion of language in the hopes of making meaningful discussion impossible. Controlling language, just like controlling history, is an extremely powerful weapon. If you can debase and alter the very language of a debate, you can frame it any way you want. Your opponents will become victims of their own language.

We see this happening in America today. In the past, conservatives successfully altered the connotation  of the word liberal. They turned it into something dirty, a crime, a perversion. What did liberals do? They cowered and switched to progressive. Now the right is hammering away at progressive as hard as they did liberal to try and make that a dirty word too.

Liberty & Freedom have fallen victim to the same war. What do those words mean? I don’t know what they mean now. I see them constantly being used by people who would, if elected, severely restrict who could marry who, what women could do with their bodies, where women and blacks could work and go to school, who could serve in the military, what religion the government would favor, who could enter this country in search of a better life. The people using the words Liberty & Freedom would make a lot of decisions controlling the actions and choices of other people. Is that what Liberty & Freedom mean?

There was a time when those words, like liberal and progressive meant something different. There was a time when Liberty & Freedom meant the lack of control. Liberty and Freedom were words feared by people who sought to coerce and control others. People uttering those words were to be quickly and mercilessly put down by the authorities.

Now those who would take away people’s ability to do what they please use these words to describe their cause. Liberty & Freedom are now worthless words.

Atheist resistance

20 Apr

So living in Lynchburg Virginia, home of “9/11 is god’s punishment ” Jerry Falwell and his penitentiary of brainwashing and bullshit, “Liberty” “university”, religious stuff is all over town. Every other car either has a LU sticker, the christian fish magnet, or “Not I, but Christ” sticker. The local stores are also almost entirely owned by the LU octopus. Falwall and his ilk even have their own section in walmart that sells only LU gear, along with religious books.

So as a way to stay sane and get some cheap thrills, I engage in a little Atheist resistance. First up is my car. When you’re stopped at a red light, that’s your 30 second chance to get a message out to the three cars behind you. (Assuming you’re in the middle lane)

I love these things. I change them out every so often, depending on what’s pissing me off that week. Sometimes it’s political, like pro-choice signs (which are a real hit in the area ~_^), but most of the time it’s religious. Currently I’m blasting the catholic church for their 2000 yr + child pedophilia scandal.

I figure the “liberty” kids in Lynchburg are constantly confined to their nice little clean bubble of rich, white, conservative christian fanatics, it’d be nice to jar them out of their comfort zone and make them realize they’re not the only game in town. If I have to sit in traffic and put up with their stupid signs, they can suffer my 1st amendment rights to mine. Yeah, some could argue that it might look a little trashy, but if nobody stands up and says something, they’ll think that everyone is just like them, and thus their beliefs will be all the further reinforced.

Secondly is pamphlets. In Lynchburg there are pamphlets all around. The LU kids stuff them inside beer cases, leave them in shops, in mailboxes, on dining tables, under your windshield wipers, everywhere. I’ve put a few of them up here on my blog, and they all say the same thing: You’re a rotten person that’s going to burn in hell forever unless you buy our product. So I decided to make my own. Here is one that I’m currently circulating:

Outside:

Inside:

I can’t make the picture any bigger, so incase you can’t read it, the outside when you first open it just says something like “Hey, you’re ok the way you are, you’re not a sinner, nor are you damned to some eternal punishment.” Then it goes on about how the pamphlet isn’t trying to get them to join anything, or give any money, unlike other religious pamphlets. The inside just asks 20 simple questions to get people thinking about their faith critically.

I get a real rush putting out these pamphlets. I have to be all ninja like so I don’t get caught. Sometimes I’ll sit down at a table with my stuff, wait a few minutes, and get up, conveniently forgetting to take the pamphlet with me. I love to put these in the religious books sections of book stores, there I can really hit my target audience.

The bumper stickers in the car give me a bit of a thrill, but not so much as sneaking around with pamphlets. I guess I just feel safer with a physical barrier between me and them. Though I have been honked at, shouted at, and flicked off before while sitting at a red light. (How christian, eh?) There have been times when I’ve nervously expected a bullet to come through the glass behind me and kill me, or for my car to be rammed, or for someone to throw something at my windshield. That’s all a thrill too, though it does make me wonder about my opponents when I have to worry about being physically attacked and they don’t. What do you think that says about them?

Exam time at “Liberty” “University”

14 Dec

So the other day my girlfriend and I decided to go down to Panera bread to get lunch, and the place was swamped with “Liberty” students studying for exams.

I could not help but laugh. What’s the point? Nobody is going to take your degree seriously unless you’re applying for a ministry position. The “university” is not a university. It’s a religious joke school that brainwashes their students.

Higher education depends on constantly asking questions, challanging the status quo, and exploring new ideas. This is not encouraged at “Liberty” “University”. An LU student once told me when asked why they chose LU “I wanted to be told what to believe”. WOW! Really? Well you went to the right place.

There was once a secular speaker that came to Lynchburg College to give a lecture on religion and Atheism, and after the lecture I noticed an entire group of LU students had gathered around their “teachers” who were trying to un-teach everything the lecturer had talked about.
The kids were given no chance to think about the subject matter on their own.

The school even banned democrats! Now I can understand not agreeing with a political party or ideology, but shouldn’t ideas stand on their own merit without the arbitrary intervention of the administration?

So here were all these preppy conservative christian kids with their apple notebooks pretending to be going to a real university, studying for their exams. The one that blew me away the most was the kids who were studying for biology exams. “Liberty” “University” doesn’t even accept the fact of evolution! How can you have biology without evolution!?!?!? These people think the world is 6,000 years old and that man walked with dinosaurs, and they’re trying to teach biology. I’d like to get my hands on their biology book and see what page Noah’s ark is on.

Here, check this excerpt out from their biology department page:

“The biology faculty at Liberty University are committed to academic excellence and to training students to represent Christ in the fields of medicine, scientific research, and teaching…”

So basically, they already have their conclusions in Christ, so whatever the science tells them they must either ignore, distort, or misrepresent.

“However, our faculty are not only concerned about our student’s academic and professional preparation, but are equally concerned about the personal and spiritual well-being of every student.”

Read as “Don’t worry parents, we’ll make sure not to contaminate your children with actual science”

Give me a break, this “school” is a joke.

Heaven is Hell

26 May

As a little kid, did you ever take a plane ride and look out the window onto the clouds, hoping to see angels or perhaps a dead love one? I did, and I’m pretty sure millions of other kids have too.

Growing up, I never really thought of heaven much. I knew that I wanted to go there, but beyond that I didn’t give it much thought. Then I started thinking about all the people I knew who wouldn’t go to heaven, how it would make me really sad if someone I loved was burning forever in hell. How could I be happy in heaven knowing someone I loved was suffering? How could anybody?

I used to think that perhaps if I made a deal with god to trade spaces with someone in hell, he’d see the goodness in that act and we’d both be free to live in heaven. That or maybe if I just asked Jesus to forgive that person even if they didn’t ask for it…..

But what I really found fascinating was the idea of eternity. I was brought up to believe that if you were good and believed in Jesus you would spend eternity in heaven with god, where you would always be happy and feel no pain. Can you imagine eternity? Could you imagine being stuck in one place forever? I’d go crazy! I couldn’t do it, it would eventually become hell for me. The only way I’d be happy would to not exist, to not be conscious of time.

If I had to be conscious of time, I guess I could be happy if I had complete freedom of movement within time and space. I could be there for every event in human (and alien) history. I could go see the moment of creation, spend summers in distant galaxies, explore. Unfortunately, I don’t think my pastor thought this was part of the all-inclusive package.

The heaven that the people at places like “Liberty” “University” speak of would drive me up the wall. An all white gated community, where I am forced to be god’s cheerleader for all eternity. I’d be much more happy not existing.

“Liberty” “University” continues the tyranny

23 May

I must say, this does not surprise me in the least. “Liberty” “University” has banned democrats from their campus, sighting “moral” reasons. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that all the parts about Jesus teaching love and tolerance in the bible were the parts he didn’t want taken literally…..

Rachel Maddow interviewed the president of the now shut down Liberty University Democrats club:

It really must be some kind of dark joke naming the place “Liberty”. You can have all the liberty you want as long as you agree with our narrow minded bigoted positions.

What I find really interesting is that the school recieved a lot of complaints from the parents of some of the students attending about the mere existence of a democrats club. The parents want to send their adult children to an institution that treats them like they are seven, and they want the students to be shielded from people who have different views. How is this supposed to educate them? How are they supposed to interact in the real worl where not everyone is a religious bigot who thinks the world is 6,000 years old? By shutting down this club the school is saying “you can’t be a christian and a democrat at the same time”.  Really?

1. Jesus owned nothing. 2. Jesus argued for the dissolution of the family and the establishment of communes. 3. Jesus loved all people regardless of ethnicity or class. 4. Jesus revolted against the imperial government, established religion and finance capitalism (usury). 5. Jesus taught that we should act as one body, one blood. 6. Jesus taught that his kingdom (ie nation state) is in the heart and not below the feet. 7. Jesus taught that we should fight for Justice and ‘turn the other cheek’ to petty morality. 8. Jesus was a laborer and a teacher. 9. Jesus practiced healing and forgiveness. 10. Jesus taught that you can’t be an imperialist and a disciple at the same time.

The BS idea of “secular society” in America

24 Feb

I hear the phrase “secular society” thrown around a lot. Usually the people I hear using it are saying it with a tone of disgust in their voice, as if the secular society was keeping their religion from breathing easy, free from scrutiny or any kind of restraints.

So what exactly is a secular society? Well when I asked google to define it, all it did was point me to ” Consumer Behavior: Building Marketing Strategy“, a textbook. According to the textbook, a secular society is

“A society where the educational system, government, and political process are not controlled by a religious group, and most people’s daily behaviors are not guided by strict religious guidelines.”

So does America fit that profile? Sorta. Currently the educational system in this country is under attack by the “Intelligunt [sic] Design” people, or christian creationists in wolves’ clothing. Instead of teaching our children critical thinking skills, they rather have them stop questioning, give up, and say “god did it.” They purposely misuse the word “theory” and have no testable hypothesis of their own….but I digress….

As for the government and the political process, while they aren’t official theocracies like Iran, religion plays a big role, especially since the days of the Reagan administration. While Article VI section 3 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States” none the less, religious tests specifically baring Atheists were written into the state constitutions of Arkansas, Maryland, Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.  While the 14th amendment to the Constitution also prohibits these, it is damn near impossible for an Atheist to get elected to public office if they are open about their Atheism. (Only 1 congressman is openly Atheist, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and I doubt he was openly Atheist when he was running)

According to a study done by the University of Minnesota in 2006, Atheists are the least trusted group in American society…..our “secular society”…. Perhaps the bible should read “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an Atheist to to get elected in America.

The funny thing about this “secular society” is that the majority of the people who make up society aren’t secular. According to the CIA World Fact Book , 84% of the country is religious, and of that 84%, 78.5% is christian! Of that 78.5%, over a full third go to church every Sunday!

The scary thing is that the Republican Party has been taken over by the christian right. Slowly ever since the Reagan years the christian right has infiltrated the party, moving it farther and farther into the right. We just go over 8 years of an Evangelical christian president, arguably one of the worst presidents in history. Just this past election season Gov. Sarah Palin, another christian fundamentalist, ran for vice president. Had McCain been elected, she would have been a heart beat away from running the most powerful nation on earth……this coming from a person who doesn’t believe in evolution, thinks the world is only 6,000 years old, and that the Iraq war is “God’s will“…. Even scarier, this woman, if you can call her that (her view’s about a woman’s rights are atrocious) isn’t going away any time soon. Something tells me she’ll be back. “Huckabee/Palin 2012″…..*shudders*

So what is “secular” in this “secular society”? Well the courts perhaps. They do require empirical evidence before they convict someone of a crime, and until then the people making the charge/claim have the burden of proof….so I guess that’s secular. You can’t really just walk in as say “I have faith that the defendant is guilty!” That type of reasoning might work with the religious, but not in the real world. Unfortunately, the same christian right that has taken over the Republican party has slowly been working to “infiltrate the profession [of lawyers and judges]” as the bigot Jerry Falwell pointed out when talking about “liberty” “university’s” “law” “school”.

The same logic and reasoning behind requiring observable evidence is the cornerstone of science, so I guess that makes science secular too. (But not if the ID idiots have their way) Science is everywhere in our society…well almost. It’s given you everything you use, from the computer you’re reading this on, to the fiber in your clothes, to your car, house, electricity, and medicine that makes you feel better and can even save your life. Yet nobody remembers that when they’re trashing our “secular society.”