Idols in our temples

Puny gods duke it out in a phony war where the sane among us are trapped like dreamers in the Christopher Nolan movie “Inception.”

Pardon me for getting philosophical, historical, theological, and political all in one read. Double pardon me for taking the long way around to get to my point. But I promise I’ll make it all clear before I’m done.

Hindus worship 33 million gods. One explanation for this arrangement is that running the universe is too much for just one god, so the labor and privileges are split among all of them. In Christian theology, these gods would best translate to angels, who do the will and bidding of the Father. It’s not a perfect analogy, since angels are mere messengers without power of their own, while in the Hindu god infrastructure, the supreme being Krishna bestowed powers and will to actually oversee creation to the demigods.

Keeping track of all those gods is quite a task for humans, who use physical representations—idols—to assist. People have used idols to pray to their gods for eons. The image below is the Dagon Grain Museum in Haifa, Israel. The Canaanites and the other Biblical “-ites” in the Holy Land worshiped Dagon, among other gods. Dagon was the national god of the Philistines, and the name is generally understood to mean “fish.” Dagon controlled weather, rain, clouds, and was therefore associated with agriculture. There were other gods for fertility, war, beauty, pleasure, etc. The Hebrew people were always hard-pressed to stick to their One True God, and frequently slid in to idol worship.

If we think of America as a duality of secular government and religious morality, the government would be like Krishna and the 330 million Hindu demigods, each fulfilling one aspect of creation with powers and authority to do so. The morality would be more akin to the Hebrews, who had a Book of the Law, and the words of the Prophets to apply it. We have, in America’s short history (compared to the world), slid into idol worship at various times, and now is one of the more egregious examples.

Lunatic loyalty

I shouldn’t have to say that personal loyalty to a political leader is incredibly dangerous to a republic dedicated to democratic and peaceful transition and application of government power.

Yet, this is what we’re facing. Ex-president Trump’s endorsement of Rep. Elise Stefanik to replace Rep. Liz Cheney in a House leadership role for the Republican Party has almost nothing to do with Cheney being a “bad” Republican, or a poor conservative. To the contrary, she voted over 90% of the time with Trump’s policies. She’s a reliable conservative vote, yet Rep. Kevin McCarthy is just fine with ousting her because of her insufficient loyalty to a president who lost an election and (still) refuses to accept that fact.

The Republican Party needs to overcome the “Trump gap” and move on from its most divisive, and election-losing, position. But as Kevin Williamson wrote, what the party needs, and what it wants are two different things.

It is a sign of the Republican times that the standout moment from [Texas 6th CD GOP candidate Mike] Wood’s campaign was a confrontational talk-radio interview. DFW-area right-wing radio host Mark Davis, a presumably smart guy who hosts a multidimensionally moronic radio program, complained that Wood’s assertions about the facts of the presidential election were “condescending” in that they did not match up with how many members of his audience “feel.” Wood, exasperated, said: “This is one of the worst parts of what Trump has done to the Right — he’s turned us into a bunch of whiny little lefties. It’s all about ‘feelings.’ It’s all about ‘Well, you’ve got your truth, I’ve got my truth.’ ”

Davis, obviously caught off guard, fumbled around for a bit and then declared the exchange “wonderful radio.”

Enter 330 million idols, each with its own god, and its own truth. The “Donald Trump” god is angry that the GOP would dare to move on without him, and is bringing down thunder, lightning, and withholding rain from the land the Republicans occupy.

It’s lunatic to base a political party on blind personal loyalty to a single person. But here we are. If the party is to survive, we must all become iconoclasts and smash the idol. But the god behind the idol takes that very personally.

Congress had its chance to deal with that, and Liz Cheney, for one, wanted to, but the others passed, and put the idol back in the political temple, where the priest goes to the Most Holy Place.

A phony civil war

In this religious war we’ve slid into, it’s white secular Americans, with their political gods of equity, progressivism, and safe-spaces in all things, against white cultural American Christians, with their idols of church power, money, and individualism. I find it funny that the socialist, progressive, find-your-identity equity-seekers are the ones with the money who are calling for complete conformity of thought, while the rugged individualists of the cultural church have become whiny victims squealing about corporate hegemony of free speech.

Among Blacks and hispanics, a devotion to actual Christianity is much more likely, though the application of it gives much more weight to charity, justice, and political freedom than the whites at war with each other’s idols.

I hear a lot of “we’re headed to a civil war” talk, but very few people want to die in that war. So we have a phony war, where politicians trot out idols and take tithes and offerings to their gods.

In Georgia, Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, to Denver, because of a new election law. Georgia demographically has far more minority residents than Colorado, but Colorado has all-mail-in ballots, with in-person voting as an option. To register to vote in Colorado, you need a driver’s license, or a state ID. To vote by mail in Georgia, you need just a Social Security number, but if you vote in person, campaigns can’t hand out food and water to voters in line within 150 feet of the polling place.

The Georgia voting law precipitated an act of religious civil war. But 54% of registered Georgia voters opposed the move by MLB, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll. Shots fired, but nobody wants to fight.

Pandemic pantheon of fear

The CDC’s own data suggests that if you’re fully vaccinated, you can’t carry or spread the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.

“Vaccinated people do not carry the virus — they don’t get sick,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday. That’s “not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”

But story after story pushes the fear narrative, that we may never get to “herd immunity.” Only now, that the CDC says 12-to-15-year olds can be vaccinated, they’re saying summer campers can stop wearing masks (outside). But if vaccinated people can’t carry or spread the virus, why do they need to continue wearing masks inside?

We pay the CDC, and people like Dr. Fauci, to keep us safe. But what they’re preaching is not safety—from their point of view, it is “caution” and they mean well—but for the lay person, it’s nothing but fear.

No vaccine is 100% effective. But if you’re playing the odds on a 1 in 10,000 possibility of getting COVID-19 after you’re vaccinated, and then a less than 1% possibility of that case being severe enough to require medical intervention (math: it’s about 1 in ten million), then you shouldn’t leave your bed.

COVID-19 has become an idol, an angry god that will never be placated.

Beyond that, we’re hearing how birth rates have fallen to 1979 levels. Demographics is going to destroy our society. Pray to the fertility goddess.

But a bunch of people I see on social media are pregnant, or going to be a daddy. Like the “eat butter” and “don’t eat butter” medical wars, I expect that by November or December of this year, when the COVID baby bubble hits, we’re not going to be hearing about low fertility rates. What do you think people were doing all locked up, and what do you think they’ll do now that they’ve got some freedom?

Corporate communist gods

Basecamp’s CEO decided that politics and religion, being the same thing, were not conducive to a productive workplace, and banned these personal idols. How dare he?

Within a few hours of the meeting, at least 20 people — more than one-third of Basecamp’s 57 employees — had announced their intention to accept buyouts from the company. And while many of them had been leaning toward resigning in the aftermath of Fried’s original post, the meeting itself pushed several to accelerate their decisions, employees said. The response overwhelmed the founders, who extended the deadline to accept buyouts indefinitely amid an unexpected surge of interest.

Are we being Sovietized, asks Victor David Hanson.

Wokeness is becoming our new Soviet-like state religion. Careerists assert that America was always and still is a systemically racist country, without ever producing proof or a sustained argument.

The Democratic Party’s devotion to the idol of wokeness is just as lunatic as the Republican Party’s devotion to the idol of Trump. These two puny gods duke it out in a phony war where the sane among us are trapped like dreamers in the Christopher Nolan movie “Inception.” Where’d I leave that totem?

Facebook has its own “oversight board” that acts like a Supreme Court, upholding the ban on former President Trump, but also chiding the company: “In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities.” In response, Facebook cheered being rebuked by the group of people it chose to rebuke it.

“We established the independent Oversight Board to apply accountability and scrutiny of our actions,” the company said in a statement. “It is the first body of its kind in the world: an expert-led independent organization with the power to impose binding decisions on a private social media company.”

It’s like the CCP cheering its politburo for chiding President Xi, when Xi chose the politburo committee for the purpose of chiding him, so he could say how open he is to criticism. Three cheers for corporate communism!

How many gods are we up to now?

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One more thing…

I am pleased that Atlanta’s Civil Service Board decided to reinstate Officer Garrett Rolfe, ruling that he was denied due process in his firing for shooting Rayshard Brooks in the line of duty. Brooks had struggled with Rolfe, and had taken his taser, pointing it at the officer while running away. If Brooks had tasered Rolfe, he could have taken the incapacitated officer’s gun and killed him. It’s certainly within the authority and duty of a police officer to protect his own life, but Rolfe was railroaded out of his job.

Major Keisha Lance-Bottoms has prided herself on making Atlanta a more transparent, ethical government. As for transparency and ethics, here she got what she wanted, though I don’t think she wants it.

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