Posted: Mar 09, 2020 3:53 am
by pelfdaddy
As a former evangelical whose political beliefs have shifted gradually leftward since realizing there is no God, I notice that many contributors to this forum simply cannot fathom the intractable stubbornness of the American Right. "How can they think this way, and why do they never seem to learn?" is the general sentiment. Having been just such a person (who eventually did change his mind) I thought I could be of help.

As a young man, I believed three things-as though from birth-that I carried about as basic operating principles:

a) Christianity is true, and is the only path to salvation, the source of blessing for individuals and nations who obey its precepts, the source of condemnation for those that do not.
b) Freedom is the natural condition of Mankind, the state to which we all belong, which we all seek, and which necessitates the limitation of government.
c) Capitalism is the only correct economic system, and libertarian private property rights the highest principle and the source of all prosperity, without which only privation can follow.

Picture if you will a triangle, the corners being this triad of principle dogmas, which many if not most Americans are taught, and have come to accept not through informed historical perspective, but through childhood training by sheer repetition. Now place at the center of that triangle a fourth derivative principle:

d) America is the greatest nation on Earth.

This triangle of points, with its central entity, gives rise to a decalogue of assertions which describe the relationships between them, ten statements that for many Americans are merely common knowledge to be recited without blush or hesitation...

1-Christianity is the essential spiritual expression of God's nature.
2-Freedom is the essential political expression of Man's nature.
3-Capitalism is the essential social expression of the Laws of nature.
4-Christianity is compatible and interdependent with Freedom.
5-Christianity is likewise compatible with and mutually dependent upon Capitalism.
6-Ditto for Freedom and Capitalism--you cannot have one without the other.
7-The USA is the greatest nation in world history because...
8-America is Christian.
9-America is Free.
10-America is Capitalist.

These ten assertions are the supporting rigging that holds up the edifice, dogmatically believed and rarely questioned. They are national articles of faith in that merely to question or criticize any part of them is to be disloyal, a blasphemer, and possibly an agent of some foreign power. They are the narcotic behind the blank stare, the education that feeds the ignorance, and the reason for the mystifying behavior that you observe.

At the age of forty-two, I began to ask myself uncomfortable questions and to place a high premium on objectivity as a cherished principle. It has taken me eleven years of questioning my former values to finally reach the conclusion that...

The above ten statements are false.

It feels weird. But I'll be alright.