Brexit and Other Silliness
I’m beginning to develop a theory about people’s actions. Well, I can’t really call it a theory, since it wasn’t developed after any research, and is based on simple observation over many years.
I have been wondering how so many people could do things like vote for candidates, or issues that really seem, on their face, to be clearly against the interests of those same folks. Like the people here in the US, who seem to favor, strongly, Donald Trump for President, despite the evidence staring at them that he is a liar, a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, and not even very good at his main game—business. I know that he is a millionaire, but he started out life as a millionaire. So many of his ventures are either outright frauds (Trump University springs to mind) or just economic disasters (four bankruptcies here) that it forces one to conclude he isn’t really any good at what he does for a living. So, with all those attributes, why would anyone seriously entertain the idea that he would make a good President?
I understand that many Americans are racist at heart, so they hate the idea of a Black President. Everything wrong with America today they blame on Obama, despite the overwhelming evidence that, a) actually things are better today than they were under George W. Bush, and b) much of what is wrong today in America can be laid at the doorstep of a racist Republican Party that decided to oppose anything this Black President wanted to do. Beyond their core racism, in fact the Republican Party seems aimed at demonstrating that Government is dysfunctional, whereas all they prove is that, if you put Republicans in charge, the result will be dysfunction. There really isn’t anything inherently dysfunctional about government. It is the folks you place in charge. In this case, the Republicans, as they have gathered greater power, courtesy of the American electorate, have grown increasingly destructive to the functionality of our government. And by “government” here I mean the Congress, not the Executive Branch.
And then there’s Brexit. Most of the polls and most of the pundits decided in advance of the vote, that Britain would remain in the EU. It seemed abundantly clear that, to leave, could well provoke economic chaos, and could further destabilize the EU, leading to political chaos in Europe. And for those who remember 1914, and 1939, political chaos in Europe is not something devoutly to be desired.
Even the promises offered by the Brexit backers—e.g., greater financial flows back into key British institutions like the National Health Service--were pure fabrications, offered up by people like Nigel Farage and his UKIP Brexit fans to sell Brexit. The vote was barely cast before he admitted as such.
But you can’t take back the vote. The die is cast, and everyone will have to live with the result, whatever it may be.
And then we have Climate Science and the idea of global warming. The evidence seems to be in, but we still have idiot Congresspersons, bringing snowballs into the Halls of Congress, and tossing them just to demonstrate that the Earth is not warming. “See, we still have snow, so the earth cannot be warming”.
But, when evidence is fairly clear that something is either just a bad idea, or unlikely in the extreme of being true, or, in the case of global warming, obviously true, why would otherwise rational people still go for the other side?
And here’s my theory. Organized religion.
Over many centuries, the organizers and leaders of all religions have concocted a series of stories, fairy tales I like to call them, that after death, we will have an immediate meeting with a kindly old bearded man in the sky, who will welcome us with open arms (assuming we have been good) into the kingdom of heaven (I note that Heaven is never portrayed as a democratic place, but as a kingdom). Once there, we will be issued our set of wings, and a spot on a free cloud, where dwell all of our beloved ancestors, and loved ones. We will then chat on forever in peace and harmony.
Talk about absence of evidence.
Now, why do otherwise rational people choose to believe such patent nonsense? Well, partly because it seems preferable to the alternatives. But partly, I think, they believe because they have been programmed almost from birth to believe such tales. Even current non-believers have been subjected to this fairy story for so long that they are now capable of wishing things to be true, even when all evidence suggests the reverse is true. In short, they are capable of acting against their own best interests because they so wish something to be true. I guess it explains gambling casinos, the Republican Party, the Lottery, Brexit, Climate deniers, and the Donald Trump story.
At any rate, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
And, Mister Pope, stop apologizing about your corrupt Church and do something about it. How about selling the Vatican and all its contents and distributing the proceeds to the World’s poor?