Religion Is What Keeps The Poor From Murdering The Rich

Napoleon Bonaparte said “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”  Is that so today? Why did Napoleon believe this? Perhaps it was because he was thinking that the church was wealthy and the people poor?  This was indeed so back then and is pretty much true now.  The creation of disproportionate wealth was also true for  kings and other dictators then and now. Was his statement based on his historical understanding of the tenuous position that ruthless, selfish rulers had historically often created for themselves?

He certainly knew that the poor vastly outnumbered the rich and if they truly became aware of  their potential power, they could  possibly  take from the rich whatever they wanted.

I wonder if Napoleon would be surprised at the events of today?   Would it surprise him to see that madmen,  blinded by religious fervor and the rhetoric of power hungry clerics, use the power of  our modern day and ancient weapons to slaughter the common and innocent (not the wealthy)  in the name of what they call try to call “god.”

Would it amaze him to hear empowered leaders of nation states deny the very history their fathers had experienced? Liars are a common lot in history. But revisionists, daring to deny the history of their very fathers generation, in an era of instant communications, takes the art of lying to a new height.

I wish it was only the words of  Ahmadinejad  that made fools of his country and his fellow citizens in denying the holocaust, in recent history.  The videos of the Nuremberg trials and the newsreels  they showed,  during testimony,  are still fresh in the minds of free men (perhaps not the Millennials who appear to have missed a lot in their history classes). Unfortunately lying to your people is not just an Iranian phenomena.  Clinton, of course,  did not “have sex” in the oval office.  Nixon had his view of the story.  Bush may have intentionally exaggerated the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Those average people who live in North Korea, believe they have the best quality of life in the world, I am told. The mind police make sure this is so.

Perhaps, today we must try to assess the size of the lie and seek comfort in this distinction, though I find this personally unsatisfactory.  Possibly,  this may  have meaning for some.  Man is not perfect and when confronted with the public evisceration of  his ego, it is likely politicians, whose self esteem are buoyed up on the seas of opinion, will seek to lie (and for lots less than ego disembowelment).

Clinton may have lied about his sex life,  for which we would not seek to have him executed. Ahmadinejad however lied about the history of the most brutal destruction of 12 million people, that the main perpetrators themselves do not deny!  Well…. the Japanese have trouble with admitting to their mass rape stations they happily called “comfort stations.”   The Iranian people don’t have it so bad economically and so don’t want to lose what they have!  They have the profits of oil.  To rise up and take back their nation which is now controlled  by liars and religious fanatics however requires need and belief in what you can achieve.  I think the need is lacking, from their perspective, and perhaps we have “fallen from grace” as a role model to follow.  Just look at the pathetic quality of the candidates we have to vote for in the upcoming election! There are some really good liars here too.

Perhaps it is Iranian religion or the fear of  others who they do not know at their mosque,  that terrorists-feeforuse-googlekeeps the people from removing  their dictatorial and  fanatical  leadership.  Communist Russians feared expression when they did not know who they were talking to, so they learned double speak or did not speak out at all.  On the other hand, what model would Iranians seek if they did rise up and remove their leadership?  When we vanquished the iron fisted terror and torture of Saddam Hussein did that lead to a better land? Did these vastly different religious groups decide to work together or did the power vacuum create chaos?

Is our current national evolution and today’s American leadership a model,  something that everyone worldwide should be striving for?  In my experience of 70 years, we have certainly lost much of what made America great!  Because of hope and greater freedom,  I for one would not choose to live anywhere else; however, for people unaccustomed to more free choices and dreams of success, it might lead to chaos as we have seen in Iraq and elsewhere. I recall going to college 50 years ago and seeing this first hand. The first year sorted out who would stay. Children from homes where parents ruled with an iron fist and a leather strap, went crazy without that discipline. They were out drunk,  having sex, without thought of consequences, and rarely studying with any regularity, many failed and dropped out quickly.  Those who came from liberal homes, where parents let them learn self discipline (learn from their own mistakes) were no different at college than at home, for the most part they did just fine.  They did not require an authoritarian parent watching over them!

So back to the original question. What keeps the poor from murdering the rich?  I don’t see that religion is the answer, though it may play a part in it.  I think a good part of  it is the belief  that the poor have that they don’t have it so bad,  the belief that it could be worse in the hands of other leaders and the belief in whatever history they choose to believe in to support their chosen stagnation.  A great example of this is what Al Capone said after his conviction:  When convicted of heinous crimes, Al Capone said,  “All I did was try to provide the lighter pleasures for my countrymen and for that I live the life of a hunted man!”  He believed this, because it supported his ego, his belief that he was the “good guy.”  I think we accept pathetic leadership because we don’t believe we can do better and neither do they.  We all deceive ourselves, at least today, because that is how we gratify our egos!

One of the biggest problems today is the same that existed in the past, despite the power of hank-paulson-labeledforreuseinstant communication.  People don’t believe they know the truth,  they just pick what truth they want to believe. With that kind of truth and little self belief in empowerment powerful people can do anything they wish and get away with it.  They can even make us think that this is as it has been and how it should be.  If we want to keep the little we have carefully hidden under our mattress we don’t want change!  After all If  AIG and Goldman Sachs are still the financial “hereos” on Wall St. any lie will do if well presented. Hank Paulson helped our country fall into hundreds of billions of dollars of debt and yet he is still a free man.  I don’t think religion is protecting the wealthy or the corporate cronyism of our corrupt congress and corporations,  it is more like disinformation (the quick version of revisionism) and a fear of losing the last grains of wheat in our grimy clutching hands.

Even more powerful than disinformation, there is the modern version of “Let them eat cake.”

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This version is meant to be literally true as its power was early on recognized by Shakespeare, “Caesar: Let me have men about me that are fat, Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look, He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.”  There is nothing like a welfare check to keep the “masses” in control.  Religious conviction is the hope of reward but reward is the hope in today’s deceitful politicians.

……….. Janr Ssor

 

 

 

 

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Car Toreador

Cars can behave like bulls charging at or by a toreador, depending upon who is driving them.  I have become a car

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toreador, so I know.   Being a car toreador  requires that you be able to psychoanalyze drivers, if you want to survive.  There are some definite dangers much as those faced by the men who challenge bulls but perhaps not as severe, I hope.

I did not set out to be a car toreador; rather I set out to get some exercise in a quick and easy fashion each morning. To accomplish this goal, I bought a good pair of Nike running shoes (Pegasus) and made sure I got up early enough to watch the sunrise as I walked down the mountain road I live on.

I live out in the country where sidewalks are non-existent.  Instead we have “shoulders” to the road which also require a bit of imagination to actually find.  Sometimes there is a hill of rock ledge rising up at a tight corner,  so no amount of imagination will help you find a shoulder.   Until the last second, cars charging around those corners don’t see you, you don’t see them and the yellow line is to be trampled on.  On occasion there is grass and that will do fine. You learn quickly to change sides of the road before those  hairpin turns or else you become roadkill.  It’s kind of like riding a motorcycle,  you learn to avoid oncoming vehicles by a planned pattern of evasive maneuvers.

In any event the first survival lesson  I learned  was while walking down my dead end street, early in the morning.  Quite a few drivers are up early, as I was, on their way to work (which I do later as I work near my home).  It is busy enough to imagine it is not a dead end street.   I often have ear-buds in my ears and a smartphone playing music while monitoring my walking distance and speed.  I keep the volume down so that I can hear a car or truck coming and avoid getting gored by a charging Chevy or Hyundai .  One secret I learned is that drivers have an attitude even before they meet others drivers and acquire road rage.Angry Motorists

Each car has its own and distinctive attitude and though the type of car is often related it is not the main cause.  I say cars because you usually cannot see the drivers.  They are hidden by the early morning glare of sunrise on their windshields or shadows from the many trees that line the side of the road.  The trees are everywhere with long branches hugging the side of the road as if it were a sleeping child cradled  in its mothers extended arms. It is very rural up here. We even have some dirt roads that are well used and accepted.

The car’s attitude was easy enough to see since I had begun to learn to walk towards traffic so as to give me some opportunity to side step a charging vehicle. Matadors must make quick decisions if they wish to continue in the sport.  Some cars charged down the quiet country roads like mad bulls hoping to gore a matador; others, glided gracefully by and frequently moved completely into the opposing lane with far more care than need to avoid the matador.   Some, by the way, actually came closer in a very confrontational manner.  I began to wonder what caused this difference? 

Many days of being a car matador, has taught me something about these differences.  Big SUV’s with petite women driving them are frequently the most dangerous but this happens around 3:00 pm and not that commonly in the morning. On the occasion that I might get a glance at the driver, I will see a female face that is somewhat twisted with stress and suppressed rage.  They are late to pick up their children and anyone in their way on the road will be gored to death!  When on my motorcycle,  I always avoid SUV’s for this reason. They will literally run you off the road.

Other cars are less bullish then SUV’s. However, as you might suspect the sporty ones like to make a mad rush at you as that is their thrill or perhaps how they burn off the 3 cups of coffee that got them awake and now running on adrenalin.  They want to play with you and regret having past you; but, they know there is another day coming.

The more nondescript cars have their attitude too and after a while you get to know which ones have which attitude.   There are exceptions however as I can tell that the black and white  Hyundais that come one after another each morning have attitudes depending upon how the two drivers where communicating over breakfast. I am predicting that without a lot of marriage counseling the black and white cars will be living separately in the near future.

Then there are the cars you know are driven by older drivers.  The will come around the corner see you and cross to the opposite lane, hopefully when there is no oncoming traffic.  Moving over 3 or 4 feet would be fine but they want to show you how much you matter.  I do not think they are bulls,  I think these are out to pasture cows.  I do prefer to have a road full of cows, by the way.

Finally there are those bulls that want to literally gore you and end your miserable existence.  They know you are messing up their trip by being on the road!  They know you have no reason to be there trying to walk and stay fit while they have to go to work, drink more high test coffee and possibly have a heart attack running with the rest of the bulls on the expressway at 90 mph.  They are pissed!  Most of them however shrink from the final act at the last moment, simply satisfied that they have terrorized you and will get to do it again tomorrow.  I wish it were not true but most of these drivers,  when I get to see them, are the petite women who probably drive the SUV’s on weekends.   This is why I am seriously considering selling my Yamaha Silverado.   I have discovered that iron ponies are no match for a charging bull SUVs.

I would like to think that females are the gentler sex, but I am no longer so sure.  I think they are gentler face to face because God made them physically weaker, in most cases.   However, give them control over a 400 bull power engine and they act out their Napoleonic dreams.

If you decide to get up early and walk,  take a walk after lunch, walk before the sun sets or do all 3 as I do, keep in mind that you should develop the art of being a car toreador and knowing when to dodge the charging bull.   Especially if you want to stay alive.  You may also get to know the neighbors, you never meet.