Most Laughable Politics of 2008 — Video Galore!

28 12 2008

Don’t miss this as you prepare for the New Year.

(Daniel Kurtzman edits the Political Humor page of, part of The New York Times Company. He is author of the books “How to Win a Fight With a Conservative” and “How to Win a Fight With a Liberal.”)

“Wonderful Tradition of Philosophy and Science”

28 12 2008

. . .[and] the beauty of reason, too. Philosophy grows from religion as astronomy grew from astrology, chemistry from alchemy.

So sayeth Christopher Hitchens.

But as intelligent and reasonable as humans now may be, people the world over including our own American media when the cartoonish becomes scary enough, still pretend and defer to religious claims that divinity plays humanity like puppets in a scripted play, a play that casts most humans as unworthy and doomed no matter what.

Thus in the third millennium “there is no bigger subject than God” and religious leaders still can bully this modern world into abandoning it all — our hard-earned philosophy, science and reason — via their (heavenly or hellish?) weapons of mass destruction, from controlling education, information and economic progress, to genital mutilation and genocide, to the increasing threat of nuclear bombs.

Frisky cock of the snook to Lynn for this six-and-a-half-minute CNN video of Lou Dobbs and Christopher Hitchens talking about the danger of organized religion as politics and policy. The interview ends with Hitchens’ own citizenship journey as Thomas Jefferson’s biographer and finally becoming our “fellow American” on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday at Jefferson’s memorial in America’s capital, in the name of the First Amendment and the essential wall of separation Jefferson himself once imposed between church and state in Virginia.

Mortimer Adler’s definition of education was “the freeing discipline of wonder.” Religious education seems like an oxymoron then, unless we change our definition of religion, to match. Make it freeing rather than oppressive, wondrous rather than warlike, open to questions and new discovery and change. That was the thought when I wrote this:

Maybe human spirituality is evolving [for the next cultural era] as we discover and accept truths not through patriarchal personification and studying “authoritative” writings spelled out for our dutiful performance on demand, but through an “unschooled” direct [and democratic if you will] personal connection to each other, and to the universe as a system?
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