Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Damned Dogmas

Whether you like Penn Jillette or not, there are some things that can be agreed upon (quoted in its entirety from here):

  1. God exists. Imagine how boss the right wing would be without the religion stuff making them bug-nutty. Without God, even Glenn Beck isn’t all that crazy.
  2. Most people are evil. One has to look long and hard for a truly bad person. Imagine how groovy the left wing would be if they just trusted most people to take care of themselves and each other. Without cynicism, even Michael Moore isn’t all that…oh, never mind. 
  3. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. Your country doesn’t owe you jack shit. It’s not supposed to take care of you or stop you from being unhappy or offended. Government should do nothing beyond protecting individual rights—and “rights” doesn’t mean “anything that would be nice to have.” The second half of that quote is the problem. It should read: “Ask not what you can do for your country.” You don’t need to do anything for your country—you do everything for yourself, your family, and other people.
#1 comes from an atheist - I tend towards agnosticism - but the sentiment is still there.  The Republican party in the US and the Conservative party in Canada would be much better off and have a larger tent if there wasn't the "religious right" stigma attached to them.  Don't get me wrong - some of the most pious and religious people I know are NDP supporters, it's just that the NDP doesn't sell themselves as having those religious people and as such it's okay for them.

As for #3, I would point out that if you are doing everything you can to ensure that yourself, your family, and other people are successful, then you don't NEED to do anything for your country - it's receiving benefits via the trickle down effect.  Every citizen has certain responsibilities to ensure that democracy works, but as long as those responsibilities are being carried out then you should have no problems.


  1. I agree with your comments. The "religious right" aspects of Republican politicians make me cringe. I'll still vote for most of them but focusing on politics rather than religion would certainly widen their appeal.

    (By the way, I had forgotten where I found the link to Penn's list but I've now added a link to your blog on my post. Does that make sense?)

  2. Sweet! Thanks.

    In Canada here, that's one of the interesting things that I've noted... Under Mr. Harper's leadership, the Conservatives are specifically staying away from the social conservative stuff - the stuff most associated with the religious - however you still see the party being painted with that brush, and they still aren't seeing a bump because of it.