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WHICH IS WORSE: Ideological fanaticism or religious fanaticism?


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Personally I see little difference between religion and politics. Perhaps politics is more monotheistic. Blind unquestioning faith in the invisible hand of free market economics goes unchallenged. That algorithm is the be all and end all; the end of history. It alone knows the true value of goods and services; of water and air and land; of childcare for your children, and Medicare for your grandmother. It knows that competition results in efficiency, and that international collaboration on climate change or anything else is simply not economically viable, come hell or high water or drought or cyclones or what have you. Rachel Notely understands this. All governments understand this. The free market economic system is a jealous God, and will tolerate no other gods before it. Only environmentalists and green party members and people who think of the future of their grandchildren and/or the present realities of climate refugees refuse to accept this.


Many Christians think governments are in the hands of Satan, and have a lot of vitriol for institutions like the UN. Some see secular humanism as a great threat to "proper" Christian outlooks. Many vehemently oppose governments positions on abortion or gay marriage for example. Few, however, see a conflict with a Christian lifestyle and fully participating and competing in the global marketplace. On the contrary, many Christians interpret and attribute their success in the global marketplace as rewards and blessings from God. (This attitude pre-dates liberal democracies. In the days of empire it was called "The Doctrine of Discovery" or "Manifest Destiny", and led to colonization and genocide, and residential schools, etc. Christianity is of course not the only religion to predicate their politics on theology.

My comments are directed at both the religious (people of faith) and agnostics and atheists: To the former I say regardless of whether they favour theocracy or the separation of Church and State, blind acceptance of the marketplace values is elevating an algorithm –the mechanism by which the equilibrium between supply and demands articulated in $$ is achieved-- to the status of a god. It is, in fact, the worshiping of Mammon. If that is what they're doing critics of other religions, of agnosticism, atheism, secular humanism and governments, etc. are being hypocritical. To the atheists and agnostics I say blaming all the worlds problems and conflict on religion while ignoring the even more influential and destructive nihilistic dictates of the marketplace is equally misguided.

Of course not all people of either group fall into this category. But I fear that too many from both groups are so busy blaming each other that no collaboration on issues like global warming or carbon emissions is possible. On the contrary. A major component of our "climate change preparedness" will be "othering" victims, tightening our borders, competing for and hoarding whatever is left of the planet, instead of the essential global collaboration required to reduce emissions. Sadly it is already happening. Look around.

Again, the problem is our fanatical blind adherence to and faith in an ideology --an algorithm that computes the values of things and thereby prescribes our actions as we compete in the global marketplace to create and acquire "wealth" by supplying and/or creating demands articulated in $$. It is the blind faith in a free market ideology by religious and non-religious alike that poses the greatest obstacle to saving most life-forms on this planet. And governments, decision-makers, corporations, investors, the middle class as well as the uber-rich are all acutely aware of the privilege conferred on them by this system, and don't want to jeopardize that privilege by divesting in a system that has worked so well for them in the past. And that, of course, requires maintaining the predominant global economic development model of the free marketplace. No alternative system is on the radar screen. No one is even looking for one. At present only solutions within this paradigm will be contemplated --new markets for green consumer items such as LED light bulbs, solar panels, wind turbines, bio-fuels, Telsa and other electric cars, etc. Some of those who can afford them will alleviate their guilt and deny their complicity by buying them. The majority will insist that whatever is done, it must be done while retaining privilege –while retaining the jobs and economic growth they've been banking/borrowing on. If that means more pipelines, more climate change, and the shipping of raw materials to the other side of the planet for cheaper processing, and then shipping them back again for consumption, so be it. That way it will be the countries processing the materials, not those who consume them, that are to blame for the sacrificing our grandchildren and the climate refugees on the alter of sustainable economic growth.

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I am Jewish, but not particularly religious. I revile the U.N. but see no hand of Satan in the organization. Only domination by a bunch of kleptocrats who have an eye on my wall.

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