Left, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right [repeat]

I lose track of the number of times someone has called me a “leftist” because of my views on social justice, privacy, demilitarization, and opposition to weapons of mass destruction. And I have no idea how many times I’ve been referred to as a “right winger” because I own firearms and am generally suspicious of authority. But actually my suspicion of authority is suspicion of everyone, and it’s only authority that I worry about – and it all gets complicated. When I was in college and someone asked me to label myself, I sometimes would say “I am a radical righto-leftist.” That’s the sort of thing that seems funny when you’re a sophomore (hence the label: sophomoric) but, like most other labels, it wears out.

[Read more…]

Monday Meslier: 159 – Refutation of the Argument That the Evils Attributed to Religion Are But the Sad Effects of the Passions of Men

Jean Meslier Portrait

Jean Meslier

When we complain about the violence and evils which generally religion causes upon earth, we are answered at once, that these excesses are not due to religion, but that they are the sad effect of men’s passions. I would ask, however, what unchained these passions? It is evidently religion; it is a zeal which renders inhuman, and which serves to cover the greatest infamy.

[Read more…]

Sunday Sermon: Nationalism Is A Lie

The first poem I learned by heart was Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” (here)

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Kipling was more succinct but less visual:
If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.