Tuesday, May 24, 2005


The following excerpt is from a speech that Matthew Rothschild, editor of THE PROGRESSIVE, gave at the 27th Annual national convention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (Oct. 30, 2004). The kind of thinking that Matt points out is going on in Bushcountry ought to make every American who cares about his freedoms to shiver long and deeply. But, the scariest realization is that the Americans who listen to Bush have no history of freedom in their consciousness. They’re dedicated to a King and Kingdom and just don’t have the feel for democracy that skeptics have. They are not Americans first but slaves to Prince Jesus first. They crave a King to come rule over them. They’ll be the first to tell you. But the trouble is, they want their Prince to rule over us all. Freedom scares them, because free people don’t always do the things that Christians think they ought to do. They’ll be happy when they can force their slave mentality onto the entire country, and their mentality, in case anybody hasn’t noticed, is remarkably like the totalitarian views of radical Moslems, the kind of Moslems who support terrorists. American science is already suffering under the religious leadership of our country and the environment and our reputation as a world leader. How can a nation 2000 years behind the times lead anything? Anyhow, read what Matthew Rothschild has to say:

“I don't know how many of you read The New York Times Magazine cover story from a couple of weeks ago by Ron Suskind, who wrote the book about Paul O'Neill. Not only are they deaf to the harm that they're causing in the White House right now, they have this idea, this hubris, this chutzpah, that is almost incalculable, almost immeasurable. A senior White House advisor is telling Ron Suskind, who used to be a foreign reporter for The Wall Street Journal, that: ‘Look, you guys aren't in the reality-based community anymore.’

“It used to be, you'd insult someone if you said, ‘Boy, you don't have your feet in reality, pal. What world do you live in? Get back in the real world.’ But no, with these guys, it's a plus not to be in the real world. They think it's great not to be in the reality-based community. This senior advisor to the Bush Administration was saying, ‘We are an empire now. We create our own reality. All you can do in the reality-based community is study what we do. We create your reality. While you're studying that reality, we're going to go create another reality and you're going to study that. And while you're studying that, we're going to go create a third reality. We are history's agents,’ he said, ‘and all you can do in the reality based community is study us.’

“This is the kind of arrogance, this is the imperiousness of power, the likes of which we haven't seen since we read the Shelley poem ‘Ozymandias’. These people really are drunk with power. And when you're that drunk with power, you can do a whole lot of damage, especially when you're the most powerful country in the world. We're seeing some of that harm right now in Iraq. I would be remiss not to talk about the Iraq war for a little bit because the Iraq war has killed not only up to 100,000 Iraqis, but 1,100 US soldiers and wounded 8,000 other US soldiers, 5,000 of whom had been wounded just since April. Wrap yourselves around that. Bush's war is wounding almost 1,000 US soldiers a month....”

Try this one on for size too:

“... Bush still believes... ‘God speaks through me.’ That’s a direct quote. The great humorist Molly Ivins, who writes for The Progressive every month, said, ‘That’s a kind of a strange thing for the president to say, because I thought God could conjugate subject and verb better.’”

I don’t think people in the modern nations of the world have experienced such a backward, self-important, pompous fool since the days of Mussolini, Hitler and Charles de Gaulle.


I know that the idea of god is a personal projection of the self into the world. In my own case, when I was a believer and trying to “find god” I soon discovered that my relationship to god was based on my relationship to my father. My father, though a kind man who provided well for me, just wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with me. I reminded him of my mother who he divorced when I was four, and he was never comfortable with me. Then, because she had been unfaithful, he was able to keep me and threaten her with loss of support if she tried to fight for me. After she gave me up, he placed me with my grandmother until he could marry a woman and provide me with a new mother. He more than once told me that he married his second wife to provide me with a mother. Naturally, she resented it.

Christians have also told me that they also understand that their fathers are the first models they have of their personal gods. They don’t quite mean it as I do, but some that I have talked to in this matter perfectly understand my experience.

What I discovered about my god search is perfectly expressed in the phrase “find god”. Why did I have to search for and to find god? Why wasn’t god right inside me and available to me? Why did I have to please god and make him like me? Why did I HAVE TO DO ALL THE WORK? Why was god absent from me?

All these statements of relationship show me to have been a Deist all my life, for the Deists believe that god created the world and then withdrew. You have to search for god to find him. It is all your effort. The Deist God-the-father made no effort except the act of creation. Eventually, I saw that god was just a figment of my imagination, created out of the psychological material of my relationship with my daddio. Once in that mental place, I was soon able to become the atheist I am today.

“Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten.” —B.F. Skinner (Have you read his Beyond Freedom and Dignity?)


Anonymous said...

Maybe you could try letting go of mostly operating in your head, and be willing to feel more of your feelings, as an access to experience the truth.
If not,
I hightly recommend listening to Sam Phillips, a highly intelligent, creative singer/musician. The music she writes about life is highly unique in her lyrics. She does not present pat answers, but inquiring & poetic images that lead one to ponder even after discovering. The great thing is that they are personal to her, while philosphical.
Her latest album is called "A Boot and a Shoe". Thanks.

Geo said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for visiting, reading and commenting on my blog.

I have been one in the past who was accused of wearing my heart on my sleeve. I don't know that my emotionalism was ever a good source of accurate information nor for observation of the world around me. I have had many deep and meaningful emotional insights also in my life from suicidal despair to born again ecstasy. Now, at age 67, I think it's time for me to understand the world as I do, clearly, frankly, objectively and honestly. A return to emotionalism at my age would be immature, I fear.