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  • On the Risk of Believing Things that aren’t True

    Posted on February 4th, 2012 Helian No comments

    The rulers of Iran continue to poke sticks into the Iraeli hornet’s nest.  Of course, religious zealots, both secular and “spiritual” have done this since time immemorial, whenever they’ve gained enough power to make themselves a nuisance.  Every religion implies an outgroup.  For the Communist secular religion, the outgroup was the “bourgeoisie.”  In Cambodia, they murdered 2 million out of a population of 7 million in order to destroy the “bourgeoisie,” beheading the country in the process.  Spiritual religions tend to be longer lived than the secular variety because it’s impossible to fact check them until after you’re dead.  As a result the specific outgroups they focus on as “enemies of God” tend to vary somewhat over the centuries.  The fashion among the Christians, for example, has gone from murdering Jews to slaughtering heretics to burning witches and back again over the years.  The more “imperialist” Moslems have always focused more on seizing the territories of “infidels,” and continue to do so in the case of Israel.

    This habit of attacking outgroups in order to please some non-existent supernatural being, to promote some fantastic “forces of history,” to acquire “Lebensraum” for some nonexistent race, or whatever, is becoming increasingly risky.  The risk is becoming particularly acute at the moment in the case of Iran.  The Jews, always an attractive outgroup because they have typically been both different and weak, have just experienced the result of “passive resistance” against a powerful enemy who wants to kill you.  I suspect that they’re not inclined to try it twice, and this time they’re armed with nuclear weapons.   The theocratic rulers of Iran, who “sigh for the prophet’s paradise to come,” and confidently expect their reward in the next world, are, of course, indifferent to the threat.  The citizens of Iran who are less sanguine about the existence of a next world, or who suspect that the one awaiting their rulers might turn out to be more tropical than they expect, would do well to either emigrate or start digging.

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