To Be or Not to Be, the haunting existential question that plagued Hamlet’s soul has now morphed into a universal nightmare stalking us all in our waking hours as well as in our nightmares. And what is the “Christian fundamentalists’” response? Celebration & thanks be to God.
This is the beast drooling anxious to devour all that it can’t understand and thus fears: the freedom to experiment with one’s own life; the freedom to witness new sights, different voices, fumbling caresses, pungent as well as pleasant fragrances, the freedom to taste the bitter & the sweet; the liberty to explore the galaxies of one’s own mind & soul.
Any religion that demands the absolute inhibition of all that makes us human is an abomination & a blasphemy against life. It is sacrilegious to lock our souls, our spirits, our bodies in a coat of armor that cuts us off from all the life forces on this planet.
It is only through trial and error, pain and pleasure & the continual getting up again from the floor, that allows us to see our true beauty as free seekers of the divine within us like Michelangelo’s “David,” waiting within the uncarved marble.
These self-proclaimed “Warriors for God,” or America’s “Christian” fundamentalists have much in common with the Tea Party that had such a devastating impact on the G.O.P. several years ago & still does. As some have dubbed them i.e. the Tea Party, they are in effect, America’s Taliban. Yet because they call themselves Christians, few pay attention to their activities. This is a serious mistake on all our parts because they pose a very real threat to America’s survival and by extension, to the planet’s survival. This danger is every bit as real as the destruction we are all aware of from the Islamic fundamentalists or jihadists. And whether “Christian” fundamentalists or “Islamic” fundamentalists, they have perverted the true meaning of their religions to justify their heinous crimes against humanity.
And because I am an American, I will analyze this frightening phenomenon that has taken such strong root here in the nation that proclaims to be the home of the free & land of the brave.
The common thread that connects all fundamentalists whether they be Christian, Islamic, Jewish, or whatever, is anti-intellectualism. Let’s take a closer look, but first I want to list the main attributes of the American Tea Party which the lead character in the brilliant Aaron Sorkin’s short-lived but great series, “The Newsroom,” listed:
Ideological purity, compromise as weakness, a fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism, denying science, unmoved by facts, undeterred by new information, a hostile fear of progress, a demonization of education, a need to control women’s bodies, severe xenophobia, tribal mentality, intolerance of dissent, & a pathological hatred of the U.S. government.
I wanted to list these attributes of the Tea Party because they are basically the same for the so-called, American “Christian” fundamentalists. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps Sorkin referred to the Tea Party instead of the “Christian” fundamentalists because that would’ve been too hot of a button to push with these crazies? To be honest with you my friend, I sure wish all these nut-jobs would just go off to some deserted island to live together since they hate all of us so much. But we aren’t so lucky and they are determined to make all our lives a living Hell in their religious zealotry to either convert us or kill us in the name of their “loving” God.
Some refer to this as a “culture war,” but I feel that is much too benign a term. These people are dead serious & truly feel themselves & everything they believe in is under attack. Yeah, they are the aggressors but they like to portray themselves as the helpless victims. The more extreme among them believe it’s okay to murder doctors who perform abortions & physically assault women who seek an abortion. Yep! They yearn for the good, old days when girls & women were forced to seek out some back-alley butcher who often botched the job so badly that women bled to death or were unable to ever have children in the future should they want to.
As mentioned above, these Neanderthals have a hostile fear of progress & for them, progress is anything that contradicts their childish beliefs or differs from them. This is why I suggest that if you consider their belief system as a whole, it boils down to a vicious anti-intellectualism. And because anti-intellectualism is the key to understanding where these dangerous people are coming from, let me share with you, what it is.
I can’t remember where I heard it but many years ago, I read something to the effect that anyone who reads at or is educated beyond the fifth or sixth grade is considered suspect. This is a good place to start because it reveals the absurdity of the basic tenets of anti-intellectualism. It obviously hasn’t dawned on them that just about everything they use in their daily lives, was invented by people educated far beyond the sixth grade i.e. cars, planes, televisions, computers, medicines, etc. etc. etc.
Moreover, there is a deeply ingrained distrust of all things intellectual as just useless banter amongst the aristocrats. Again, they reveal their ignorance & don’t consider our Constitution as anything special either. For these mental midgets, there is only one book worthy of study, do I need to tell you what that book is? If you want to have a bit of fun, try telling one of these holy-rollers that their Christianity owes a huge debt to Plato’s philosophy but be ready, because they might physically assault you. Personally, I have a lot more respect for Jesuits because at least they spent their lives in serious, scholarly pursuits to be able to back up their beliefs. It’s far easier of course to just reject what you haven’t even bothered to try to wrestle with intellectually. And this is why I say that they’re not only morally bankrupt, they’re intellectual cowards & mental weaklings as well.
This brings me to one of my pet peeves about these people so arrogant in their willful ignorance that it causes my blood to boil. Conservatively, over the past 30 years roughly, I have spent at least 49,000 hours in serious pursuit of knowledge and wisdom yet some of these airheads have the audacity to dismiss all my blood, sweat, & tears from my efforts with trite comments like; Well, I know better because God told me so. Such breathtakingly spectacular stupidity is simply beyond belief yet they smugly stroll down the street absolutely sure they have the truth & I’m the deluded one.
You see, one of the things that is beyond their comprehension is what’s called the paradox of learning i.e. the more your knowledge expands, the more you become aware of just how little you know & how much more knowledge, wisdom, and truth there is for us to learn. The feeble-minded think that the more you learn, the more confident you should become & they can’t comprehend that it’s only through our humility that we grow intellectually. You’d think they’d be able to grasp this since Jesus often speaks about the need for our humbleness.
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’” —Isaac Asimov (this is Trump & his followers in spades!)
Inversely or conversely, this is precisely why it’s so hard to reach these people on a rational level i.e. the more ignorant they are, the greater their walls of ignorance & superstition that surrounds them. And the more ignorant people are, the easier it is for unscrupulous charlatans to manipulate them. Just consider the many televangelists who ripped their congregations off & lived like jet-setters while screwing prostitutes, living in mansions, etc. like Jim & Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson who is supposedly worth $100 million. Yep, this is clear evidence of just how stupid people can be in that they’ll give their hard-earned money to these scum who swear that the Lord speaks to them & tells them that their congregations should give them their money because they’re doing the Lord’s work.
Undeniably, we are at an extremely critical juncture in not only our country’s history but in the history of the world because Donald Trump is sitting in the oval office. I argue this point for several reasons which I’ll soon get into but firstly because Trump has coincidentally become a born-again Christian just a few months before he started his campaign to become president. So, here we can see prima facie evidence of not only how dumb these “Christians” are for believing Trump is a Christian but also just how shallow their beliefs, values, & principles are.
Trump can openly brag on national television that he gets away with grabbing women by their pussies & that he has walked right into beauty pageant contestants’ dressing rooms many times so he could see them naked or semi-nude. He committed adultery many times, lies & cheats his employees, is racist, has manipulated banks & local politicians to get his casinos built but when they failed, he walks away denying responsibility, etc. etc. etc. He is perhaps the vilest person to ever serve as our president & there isn’t a Christian bone in his body but his fan club doesn’t care because he claims to be their champion. And Mike Pence sits behind him like the Cheshire Cat just smugly waiting for his chance to take over and really implement their agenda of oppression against all of us who don’t believe in their hypocritical religiosity.
The fact that millions of these faux Christians so passionately proclaim Trump their hero quite frankly, scares the Hell out of me! History is replete with examples of insane & outrageous leaders who were adept at public speaking & the psychological manipulation of their citizens, Hitler is the first example that comes to mind in this regard. And just as in pre-Nazi Germany, most of their citizens dismissed him as a nutcase who would never mount to anything. Trump has clearly revealed his fondness for authoritarians & dictators and harbors grand illusions of becoming our “strong-man.”
He openly flouts not only the social norms for our presidents i.e. putting his financial interests aside while president, showing an interest in the workings of our government by reading his daily briefings, etc. He shows no intellectual curiosity whatsoever & spends his days like the typical teenager watching television & tweeting. To think that this vile, profane buffoon has the codes to our nuclear weapons is a horrific nightmare. But again, his “Christian” base isn’t worried because they welcome the end of the world & can’t wait to see God. If only they’d all go again to some deserted island and commit suicide & leave the rest of us alone who enjoy living.
Trump and his born -again baboons share a mutual distrust & hatred of intellectuals. For Trump, his hatred of intellectuals is bound-up with the personal rejection he received from New York’s cultural elite as a young man trying to make a name for himself. And something occurred to me the other day regarding this matter, for some reason, in our educational system, we stop teaching students how to read once they’ve reached the fourth grade basically. And those who haven’t mastered the skills of reading proficiently by fourth grade start a gradual downhill slope from there on. After third grade, reading is the core skill necessary for all other learning & my guess is that Donald was one of those who didn’t master reading by fourth grade and he has been covering-up this fact all his life?
This would go a long way in terms of explaining Trump’s open hostility towards those he considers elitists i.e. anyone who criticizes him or shows him to be an ignorant fool. Moreover, it also shows why he is so fond of tyrants i.e. you can silence your critics by jailing them or having them killed if you’re an authoritarian say like Duterte in the Philippines who tells his police & military to simply shoot anyone they suspect of being a drug trafficker. Trump’s ego is so fragile that he crumbles each & every time someone makes fun of him, especially on the national scene. But his loyal “Christians,” and his racist, Neo-Nazi fan club buoy his spirits so he loves putting on his rallies as if he were still running for the office of which he holds.
Besides the very real threat to our survival as a species posed by this man-child, would be king with his finger on the nuclear trigger is the equally real danger our planet is facing from climate destruction. Of course, Donald of the Duck Dynasty Klan, like his fellow “Christian” Klansmen, doesn’t give a shit about our dying planet because his pea-brain can only think in terms of instant gratification like the next Big Mac. He and his fellow cretins live only for today & could care less about their or our future. Shows how much they love their children & their grandchildren, doesn’t it? And I guess they don’t care that there will soon be no places left to go camping with their families, sailing on their yachts, etc. Yep! Just one living Hell right here on earth. But why do we all have to pay for their greed & ignorance? Well obviously, if we don’t want to see this nightmare come true, we need to get off our couches & turn off the sports drug programs and get out in the streets protesting against our common destruction & for a livable planet.
In conclusion, I just read a short article titled; “Donald Trump’s revolution against America’s intellectuals.” I thought it would be interesting & relevant to this essay that I’m writing but I have to call Bull-shit on its author! In brief, he posits the familiar claim that Trump won because people are tired of being “politically correct” and mocked for being dumb or called stupid. He goes on to state that many intellectuals are Jewish and that intellectuals in general are an arrogant clique or caste so-to-speak. Well duh! If you’ve spent your life in scholarly pursuits, wouldn’t you want to hang-out with other scholars so you can share & compare thoughts?
I have the misfortune of being from a poor, working-class, single parent family but I have spent my life educating myself. And my fate is that when I hang out at the local pub, I am not allowed to speak about politics because of the social taboo against it in this land of freedom & democracy. Yet, sometimes I can get away with speaking about these serious matters and I have seen the light come on in people’s eyes. Some have told me that our conversation was the best they’ve had in years. I believe most people are hungry for knowledge but yes, we, who are better educated need to be sensitive to people’s feelings and not make them feel like they’re being talked down to.
But for this author to argue that this resentment justifies the silencing of America’s intellectuals is a perverse turning of the table i.e. we’re supposed to keep our mouths shut and let the racists spew their bile? Fuck that! I am not a Christian but I know a thing or two and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount summed it up nicely.
We are to care for the oppressed, the hungry, etc., not threaten them & ignore them. What Trump and his fellow “Christians,” conveniently overlook is the fact that the greatest welfare cheats are the “Defense contractors” who are draining our national treasury. Yeah, it’s much easier to beat-up on the poor who have been screwed every which way possible. So, for these blind zealots for Trump, your belief that he is your savior shows how monumentally stupid you are because he gave the obscenely wealthy, like himself, another massive tax break while sticking it to you rubes!
Finally, this anti-intellectualism seems to boil down to a basic inferiority complex on the part of all those who feel dumb. When I was in my early 20s and went to Europe for the first time—and before you say; “Aha! Another elitist” yeah, right. I slept on park benches, went hungry for three days, dug ditches, moved furniture, etc. —but I met a young guy who knew more about American history, literature, politics, philosophy, etc. but he wasn’t arrogant about it. I picked his brain so-to-speak and asked him about books & authors I should check out and that was my intellectual awakening. You see, the more common reaction when people meet someone they sense is smarter than they are, is to reject them by either mocking them or walking away. So again, if you feel stupid, that’s a clue that you have work to do and you should be happy because you know what to do & the more you learn, the better you’ll feel about yourself. It only took me 14 years to earn my B.A. in English literature which normally takes four years to complete but I was born on the wrong side of the tracks and wouldn’t have it any other way. And it tasted so sweet proving all my “friends” and family members wrong who had labeled me a quitter and a loser!