What Comes After God and Country?

Being Nietzschean (seemingly as a condition of birth), ideas like selfless devotion and blind faith always seemed like someone else’s means to an end, a will to power that wanted to sweep me up. Now it strikes me that statism and superstition are life threatening conditions. If humanity wants to survive we mush hang on to individualism for dear life.

Theories are easily disproven in application, and then modified in practice. Communism in a pure form does not make sense given inherent greed. Anarchy in pure form will not work given mankind’s barbarism. That is why governments and religions exist: controlling the ungovernable, preventing against barbarism. Like an anthill, mankind cannot exist without its hierarchies. More practical political theory has us balancing our individual greed while maintaining order, as law and morals are constantly tested and interpreted, revised with the times in order to maintain a balance. We need to see movies and TV shows dealing with the breakdown of civilization, and the fear we all live with stems from our suspicion that this is all temporary. If the government falls and there are no men with guns to enforce its laws, and if the church’s doctrines are no longer adhered to, what becomes of the individual?

God and Country. Faith and Nationalism. Sources of pride, way of identity, type of membership. The Hobbesian contract is we escape barbarism by joining a nation. Like gang membership in prison, you better your state but have to accept the trade-offs that limit your autonomy.

Governments and churches are finite. Many existed in the past and all that remain are histories, artifacts and ruins. These are entities of coercion, things we are born into. The few who say no are persecuted. When those few become a significant minority, change begins to occur. Taking the US as an example, the end of slavery, women’s suffrage, the end of US apartheid, and the beginning of the recognition of gay rights are all examples of social movements that forced a better civilization. While many times religious organizations are advocates of these changes, the overall position of mass religions (demi-nations on to themselves with millions of followers and a hierarchy of governance) favored status quo. These civilizing movements co-opted government. They are an example of spontaneous ordering. Watch how marijuana legalization will occur in the US. A few activists start in a few states, a door is opened with medical marijuana, full legalization occurs in a few states, and eventually there should be decriminalization as a Class A drug.

Individuals have always shaped civilization. The mindset that a person is being looked after by some greater power, be it Jesus Christ or the US Senate, is a fiction. We tell ourselves these fairy tales to sleep well at night. In our guts we know a big stone house filled with food and assault rifles is the best way to sleep well at night. We have all seen chaos in the world. We all know how quickly order could break down.

This is the problem that comes from the ever-present ruler. Mankind will never govern itself unless it starts slowly. The early history of the US may have been an inadvertent experiment in greater self-governance. Western civilizations all have a degree of it, yet the complexity of modern civilization was accompanied by governments expanding into every aspect of life.

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