NO, we’re not thinking about military defeat, followed by the nightmare of a foreign-imposed Taliban-like caliphate. We’ll avoid that. Our greatest danger arises out of current domestic trends. (And yes, if you bear with us, you’ll see that this really is related to the evolution-creationism controversy.)
We’ve written before of our acute discomfort with political developments in the US, with one party favoring a socialist, protectionist, redistributionist welfare state, while the other party is increasingly creationist, sanctimonious and theocratic. See: American Politics: The Lady or the Tiger? and also: The Curmudgeon at Wit’s End, or “The Crisis”.
But we haven’t said it all. Not yet. Brace yourself, because your Curmudgeon will now reveal the full extent of his paranoia. Maybe it’s because we’ve had too much exposure to the mendacity of creationists, and we need a vacation. Or maybe all of that exposure has opened our eyes. Judge for yourself. The scenario we’re about to describe may never happen; but if it does — and it could — then we’d be faced with a far worse situation than the dreary one with which we are now confronted. Here it comes:
What if America’s two political parties merged? That is, what if the socialist Democrat party — to avoid competition — reaches out to the creationists who now run the Republican party? Don’t let the rhetoric on both sides mislead you into thinking this is impossible.
To the socialists, it’s irrelevant whether the population runs around worshiping Noah’s Ark, the Golden Calf, or Mother Earth. They don’t care, as long as they wield absolute power. Acceding to the religious demands of the opposing party would be a trivial concession. Rulers have always regarded religion as a useful tool, as long as the clergy are cooperative.
Although we can see the advantages for the socialists, why would the creationists go for such a scheme? For one thing, until recently they’ve had a long history of being fiercely loyal to the democrat party, so there are really no obstacles to a rapprochement that couldn’t be overcome. For another thing — the most important thing — the creationists would get a seat at the table. For theocrats, power is what they want. The creationist clergy would leap at the opportunity. Of course, that kind of opportunism requires a peculiar kind of clergyman. There are plenty of them out there.
The most financially successful and politically powerful religions are not those whose adherents have found contentment and skip around all day singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (here it is on YouTube: Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah). It’s much more rewarding for an ambitious and unprincipled preacher to exploit something like the perpetual war in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Such churches thrive on conflict. It doesn’t really matter who the enemy is. Historically it’s been heretics, witches, a foreign foe in the Crusades, or if nothing else was handy, the Devil himself. Lately it’s been poor ol’ Charles Darwin. But they always need an enemy to motivate the faithful; and when they’re in power they’ll have plenty of enemies — and the freedom to smite them. It would be a theocrat’s dream come true.
Both sides will have to make some accommodations to achieve their common purpose. Each can give in on non-essential points. It’s doubtful that the socialists will abandon their anti-scientific objections to nuclear power, the space program, weapons research, oil-drilling, or anything else that conflicts with their environmentalism. Somehow all of that is necessary for their control of the economy. But in the interest of medical progress, which is desirable for all, they may insist on some relaxation of the creationists’ objections to biology — perhaps even requiring that the creationists give up their opposition to evolution.
The creationists can do it. They’ve already brushed aside scriptural objections to the shape of the earth, the value of pi, and the solar system. Most mainstream denominations have already accepted evolution (see: Statements from Religious Organizations), and the creationists can do likewise — if they need to. Maybe no such concession will be required and the socialists will tolerate creationism; but we think that’s unlikely. Dictators always want the best available medical treatments, so they’ll insist on the science that makes such things possible. These details are difficult to predict. Each side will do whatever is necessary in order to advance its own interests.
So don’t be surprised if you wake up one day to discover that the very worst elements within the creationist-social conservative-family values crowd have joined with the socialists to form a united front. When that happens, you’ll know it’s time to get out — if by then it isn’t already too late.
Will it happen? Maybe not. But one thing is certain: If you were hoping that the opposition political party would improve things, your hopes may be misplaced. It’s no longer Eisenhower’s Republican party — or even Ronald Reagan’s. The GOP is run by creationists, and they’d sell you out in a second.
You can’t depend on creationist “leaders” to look out for you or your country’s interests. They only thing they care about is power.
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.