[Start with Part 1, or go back to Part 2 or Part 3]
Okay, if war’s not your thing, how about this:
Did you know there’s a safe and easy way to prevent teen pregnancy? A way to lower the number of abortions?
It’s just this: Provide sex education. Make condoms and contraceptives available. Give teens the facts and the tools to accomplish the early-life goal of not getting pregnant.
If you tell teens where babies come from, and let them know that unexpected mommyhood and daddyhood will put a serious crimp in all those wild, youthful plans for being a jet-setting supermodel, or a motorcycle-riding vagabond off to see America, and then tell them how to prevent babies until they’re consciously READY to be mommies and daddies, they will tend, statistically, to make a greater percentage of informed, wise decisions on potential pregnancy. And have fewer abortions.
Is that a no-brainer? Well, shit YEAH.
But among the rankest foes of abortion in the U.S., that faction of conservative Christians who also drive around with bumper stickers that read “It’s a Child, Not a Choice!” and “You Can’t Be Both Pro-Abortion and Catholic” you will find virtually zero in equally fervent favor of the three best techniques — condoms, contraceptives and sex education — for achieving that goal.
And if it’s not war and abortion, here’s religion itself:
Harold Camping, leader of Christian broadcast ministry Family Radio Worldwide, calculated not long back that the world would end on May 21, 2011.
What can I say? This guy is so looney tunes that Warner Brothers should sue him for copyright infringement. Some of his followers couldn’t be satisfied with a simple bumper sticker.
The point of all this is that there’s a level of crazy built into our culture, and it appears to spring directly from the fact that we’re TRAINED to be crazy. To think in an irrational manner, and believe unbelievable things.
This isn’t some cultural accident, or just simple holdover ignorance from the time when we were flea-scratching upright beasts.
This is organized. This is deliberate. There is, in our society, an established, streamlined, all-pervasive and aggressive-as-hell institution – actually a collection of institutions – hell-bent on spreading the crazy.
We live in a society that features a Crazy School.
And Crazy School doesn’t just teach its own curriculum, it works to un-teach everything else — to squash all questions, all doubts, all competitors for the public podium.
This one institution – and it has no rivals in this mission, not anywhere in earth culture – is religion.
Not religion the fluffy kitten. Not religion the friendly cat that just occasionally scratches.
But religion the tiger, with its historically obvious teeth and claws: Lies, intimidation, subjugation, suppression, terror, torture, murder and war.
A tiger that is still with us, and has, as its fierce main mission, to get us to believe things that are unprovable, unsupportable, undefendable … but that somehow MUST be believed, supported and defended.
To believe the unprovable, unsupportable, indefensible is somehow the greatest of virtues. To doubt it is the vilest and most horrible of sins — a mortal threat to our own immortal souls.
Teach THAT to a whole people, for all of their history, and you create not just craziness for the individual, but profound misery, vast pain and ugliness, for hapless generations.
But the weird sort of reverse-miracle attendant on the whole thing is that the craziness is almost completely invisible to the people being crushed under it.
As long as everybody stays crazy, as long as you kill or discredit anyone who begins to edge toward sanity, the crazy can stay clamped down for lifetime after lifetime. For hundreds of years, thousands of years.
And so it has.
Occasional bright sparks of sanity have given us science, technology, medicine, reason itself. But those sparks, like diamonds in mud, still exist in a matrix of crazy that pervades, opposes or perverts just about every advance toward greater sanity.
Such that the technological wonders gifted to us by the sanity-sparks of science — radio, TV, computers, the web — are used as tools to spread the crazy.
Such that we can build landmines to blow the legs off children, and sleep well at night.
Such that the freedom to NOT have children is opposed by powerful voices right now, today, at the highest levels of American government.
Such that every major disaster in the world is followed by instantly-televised religious voices both blaming the victims and using the human horror as a sales pitch to grow more religion, more craziness.
Such that there are large numbers of us who accept that the world is ending soon, and that this is a GOOD thing, much to be desired.
Such that there are world-scale problems — population, for instance — that cannot even be spoken of in a public forum, without being shouted down by a ready chorus of crazies. “Why do you hate babies?? Why do you want humans to become extinct??”
And such that the spreading and consuming of this deadly craziness is seen – by most of us, still – as the most staunchly and violently defended HUMAN RIGHT.
And THAT, excuse me, is just plain nuts.