Friday, April 11, 2008
The world can become paradise; we are so close; all we need to do is...
Does it matter what comes next? It could be "eradicate religion" (Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris); it could be "convert everyone to Islam" (your local imam); it could be "abolish private property and share everything equally" (your local communist); it could be "hasten the return of Jesus Christ" (your local rapturista); it could be a million things, but which one doesn't matter, because the truth is that Utopia - insofar as that concept can have any meaning whatsoever - will be unachievable as long as there are humans around to imagine it.
Pessimistic? No - realistic. Think about it: human beings are not even capable of "putting an end to conflict" within themselves. We love our boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse but yearn for someone else. We want the cheeseburger but also the fish and chips. We like Obama's speeches but are worried about his lack of experience. We wish to discipline our teenagers but don't want to drive them away from us. We want freedom to do what we want, but also want to evade responsibility for some of our actions. We want a million different things, and their opposites, just within ourselves. So on what grounds could anyone seriously imagine that all potential conflict between two human beings, let alone two hundred million, or two billion, could ever be eliminated?
All attempts thus far at creating a true heaven on earth - where all people are of "one heart and one mind", where the lion shall lie down with the lamb, etc. - have failed. And not only have they failed, but often they have led instead to the creation of hell on earth. The grandest experiment in paradaisacal living in world history, for example, ended with somewhere between sixty and one hundred MILLION human beings being slaughtered in service to its guiding (Marxist) ideals, with millions more being imprisoned, harrassed, and tortured. Ah, but of course - humanity could become perfect, but humanity just keeps getting in the way. So, humanity must be eliminated. Funny how it always works out this way.
I submit that there is no intellectual excuse anymore for Utopian thinking. That self-styled critical thinkers like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins could seriously entertain Utopian fantasies ("we can achieve heaven on earth as soon as we banish religious belief!") in their recent anti-theism books ("The End of Faith" and "The God Delusion") is embarrassing. It is especially embarrassing in view of the example just mentioned, since communism, if nothing else, constituted an atheist fundamentalism. Dawkins, for some reason which he cannot explain, thinks that the tens of millions murders committed under communism weren't committed in the name of atheism; but atheism being absolutely central to Marxist ideology, this simply cannot be true. To commit a murder in the name of communism is to commit a murder in the name of atheism, as inexorably as to commit a murder in the name of Catholicism is to commit a murder in the name of theism. There is no way around this. The man who wrote a book entitled "The God Delusion", himself turns out to be just as deluded as those he criticizes.