Christopher Hitchens, still living, I believe, at the time of this writing, is a favorite of mine. I don’t always agree with him, but when he writes or speaks about religion I do agree with him most of the time. One problem that he sees with the phenomenon of religion could also be seen as a problem with politics in America.
Here’s the quote:
“It is not snobbish to notice the way in which people show their gullibility and their herd instinct, and their wish, or perhaps their need, to be credulous and to be fooled. This is an ancient problem. Credulity may be a form of innocence . . . but it provides a standing invitation for the wicked and the clever to exploit their brothers and sisters, and is thus one of humanity’s great vulnerabilities.”
By “the wicked and the clever,” Hitch is talking in this source about religious leaders, from old-time witch doctors to modern day officials of established churches. But he could just as well be talking about politicians, especially this bunch of charlatans currently vying for next year’s presidential prize. In another sense, he could be talking about the Tea Party specifically.
I don’t want to dwell on it, for one thing it’s just too bloody annoying, but the next time someone tells you that the way to improve the job situation is to lower taxes on the most prosperous among us (lower them even more!), and to eliminate government regulation of business, and if this happens without your bullshit-detector ringing off the hook, please be aware that you may be demonstrating this ancient problem yourself. Having even the slightest patience with these foolish suggestions means that you are giving credence where none is warranted, and it means that “the wicked” are winning the battle for your soul.