Comment of the Day: How Many Bodies Do We Need to Pile to Climb to Heaven?
From one of NewsReal’s most astute commenters, on today’s David Horowitz quote of the day:
2009 October 31Cas Balicki permalink
Much more interesting here, at least to me, is the utopian mindset on which this post touches. The reason I find the mind set so interesting is that utopian thoughts run in direct contrast to a world that runs on anything but dreams. This sharp divide between reality and desire causes me to ask, how do humans actually think? The thoughts of the relatively powerless almost always turn to organizational structures—unions, political parties–to enhance a personal lack of power. In contrast, the thoughts of those confident in their ability to impact their world tend in general to take an individualistic approach. There are exceptions to be sure, as the world is not a one size fits all place, but in general we can divide humans into the two camps of individualists and socialisers.
The challenge for the socialisers is that they must oftentimes group huge numbers of diverse persons into a union, a party, or a people. This is not easily done at the best of times, let alone during times of strife or economic uncertainty. It would seem obvious that the only way to do this uniting of persons into movements is to present individuals with a utopian vision: a heaven on earth. If we take hope as the goal–utopia/heaven, and faith as the path–religious/political dogma, we start to unravel the legerdemain that keeps individuals in thrall. It is at this juncture that the religious language breaks down or at least separates from the political. Religions focus on the individual, or more particularly the individual soul, which is to be saved with the help of the community as contrasted with the political man, who can only be saved if his community is saved. This in my view is not a subtle difference.
When it comes to utopian visions, whether religious of political, individuals looking in from the outside seemingly ask only one question when in fact they should ask two: The first is do I believe, and the second more rarely asked is do my leaders believe? The latter question is far more important than the former for one reason: an individual needs not justify motive or sincerity to self especially in the presence of imposed doctrine. Individuals have and often do justify the most immoral of positions solely by a personal inability to influence. Leaders do not have that luxury. In addition leaders by nature of their elevated positions supposedly see the complete picture so they must know the ill or good they order done. Did Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, to cite but three examples, see utopia when ordering the deaths of millions? Being the practical men they were I doubt it.
The moral of the story is clear: Heaven should never be so real that we trample over the unbeliever to get there.