America the Reservation

Americans have to decide if they want to live in the past or in the future.

To pick religion, is to side with the past. It’s difficult to try to live with a bronze age understanding and relationship to a world that is ages beyond that idealized and sanitized world. That superstitious, tribal, harsh and brutally short existence.

America has long been a country with an isolationist and puritanical streak, one surely drives the other.

It’s the fear of contamination – not only of other people but other ideas and beliefs. Puritans liked to be busy, idle hands – and brains – are the devil’s plaything. If you’re not constantly working, you might just start thinking, even if it’s how to make the work easier or more efficient. Leisure time was the enemy of puritanical thought.

It was easier to be isolationist before we understood that climate is global, that one what nation does or dumps, impacts other nations. The world becomes smaller the more we know about it. It’s not possible for a nation to stand alone, no matter how much they would like to.

I don’t think that an American reservation where they can exist in their own bubble that the rest of the world manages would rest that easy on Americans.

As isolationist as America is, the people of America cling to being that light in the darkness, that shining example of capitalism, freedoms, liberty….but from outside, we see the shadow that religion has cast over the American liberty siren call, the beacon of human rights.

Americans don’t see the taint that religion leaves on them.

Or, if they do, they don’t draw attention or point it out. Such in the strength of religious sentiment, that criticism is socially sanctioned.

It struck me monstrously during the Skeptic climate conference this August, 2011.

Speaker talked bout the need for public science education, for scientific literacy, for political will – and that’s when the discussion trailed off.

As long as American politics are tied to a given candidates religious belief – there will be no public science literacy.

As long as politics is beholden to religion – the public debate of climate change will continue to be what impact portion is due to humans, rather than what we can do to adapt.

The same people who supported the tobacco industry’s denials of cigarettes as harmful to smokers, are the ones using these proven tactics to climate change and anything else that’s resists the ideas that humans impact the planet and that humans have to solve those problems that we create.

The arguments against tobacco, climate, vaccines and evolution are the same.

First claim there’s not enough information, that the information is complex, and if you can’t cast doubt on the claims, then cast doubt on the claimant. Reframe the issue as a debate and make it appear as if there’s two positions, claim to just want to teach both sides and ignore that they are not equal or even equivalent sides.

The goal is to delay, deny and doubt – there is no winning, just drawing the victory away from science and reality long enough to avoid paying damages and to maximize your profits until change is inevitable…

I think that the world is hitting critical mass, we don’t have time to play pillage the treasury to line selected pockets.

All the land that there is to occupy, is occupied. Global communications and travel have made the world a smaller place than it ever was, despite that there are more people alive today than at at other single time, that there’s more elderly, more urban dwellers, more literacy, longer lifespan and lower infant mortality rates – there are many positive and some negatives that are at their peaks compared to earlier times in human existance.

We have the capacity and the need to take control of how we are going to be in the world – and religion was a way that people used to be, before there was science, writing, aquired and accumulated knowledge…

Before America, we used to be trapped by the circumstances of birth, by our family and tribal affilications, by social status, class and caste systems.

America was the declaration of the individual as the social unit of consequence – it’s a revolutionary idea that has been around so long, that it’s lost it’s luster, dulled by time and the appearance of “freedom of religion” being freedom from religion.

Freedom from religion is what needs to be done to be able to continue to adapt to a changing world – a world where religion tries to hold people and society static, where disasters are punishment and mitigation of same is thwarting the deities’ intention or are our collective chickens coming home to roost.

Humans are adaptive, it’s how we’ve survived, it’s a measure of fitness – and we need to be more adaptive than ever before – because now, we have to plan to adapt, not just struggle through and go about our merry way.