The problems we face
This is an opinion piece from Party President, John Perkins. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Party. He apologises in advance to those who may take offence at the sentiments expressed. It is included here as means of promoting debate and freedom of speech.
The world today faces grave problems never before encountered in human existence. Global conflicts caused by religions threaten civil disorder and destruction, such that the continued existence of civilisation as we know it is at risk. In addition, global warming threatens the environment of the planet, portending such disaster to the extent that, again, civilisation as we know it is under threat. No policies currently exist that effectively deal with these problems. Here, some policy directions are outlined that are designed to address these two most critical issues.
In the Middle East, the presumption that Judaic mythology is literal and factual has led to the assertion of territorial claims that have ignited a firestorm of conflict. This has particularly inflamed believers in Islam, which is a religion that its adherents claim originated from the revelations of an angel in a cave. While this is perhaps no more implausible than the doctrines of any other religion, the effects of this religion on its adherents, and on others, is particularly devastating. Not only are all sides victims of violence due to the religious beliefs of others. They are also victims of their own beliefs.
Adding to this volatile mix, the Christian majority in the most powerful country in the world, the United States, apparently can sometimes still believe that they have a divinely ordained Manifest Destiny to lead the world, and in effect, to rule it. The United States has at times been a great force for good in the world. However the possibility exists that at some time an American leader may believe that he has been divinely chosen to use the world’s most powerful military forces to act in accordance with his delusory religious beliefs. The proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world is dangerously wide and the threshold to their use is dangerously low.
Apart from the threat of destruction by nuclear weapons, global society also faces the gradual erosion of the secular values on which it depends. Particularly at risk are the essential pillars of civil liberties and the rule of law. At a time when global rules and co-operation are increasingly necessary, international law, as agreed in United Nations charters and conventions, has been disregarded in the name of national self-interest and the so-called “war on terror”. In abrogation of its responsibilities of global leadership, perhaps the biggest culprit in this regard was the United States of America.
In this political climate it is perhaps little wonder that the other critical global issue, that of global warming, has received so little attention in terms of the effective and rational proposals for remedial action that it desperately requires. The solution to global conflict requires a solution in the Middle East. The solution to global warming requires that we stop, or at least drastically reduce, the burning of coal.
In a political context, the solutions we offer are ambitious. Many people, even those inclined to secular views, may find them difficult to accept or may even find them emotionally abhorrent, however the issues deserve rational appraisal. If this is done, we are confident that it will be seen that in fact there is no other form of solution possible.
A Middle East solution
It is uncomfortable to refer to religions as delusions, but this is an uncomfortable reality. Beliefs persist in spite of contradiction with facts. Delusions can be harmful. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Middle East. Archaeological evidence shows that there was no Prophet Abraham and no Exodus. There is no Promised Land and there are no Chosen People.
It seems that in the Middle East, not only is the conflict founded in delusion, but that the solutions commonly proposed are also delusory. This applies to the proposed two-state solution. The so-called road map to peace is in reality a road map to nowhere. This is not just because the conception of a Palestinian state that the current Israeli position would allow amounts to such a limited grant of sovereignty that no responsible Palestinian authority could be reasonably expected to accept. It is because even if a viable independent Palestinian state could have been established, which unfortunate Israeli “facts on the ground” have now prevented, there is simply no way that this would have permanently resolved the underlying grievances.
The Holocaust against Jews was the greatest crime against humanity ever committed in history. Resulting feelings of injustice and guilt led to the formation of the state of Israel. Prior impetus to realisation of the Zionist dream was given by the Balfour declaration and a similar U.S. Congressional resolution which stated in part “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christians and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. This part of the bargain has never been honoured. The concept of a nation that seeks to define itself in terms of its ethnic or religious identity, as Israel does, is an anachronism and is at variance with universal secular values.
The only possible long-term solution to the Middle East problem, consistent with principles of honesty, compassion, freedom and justice, is a unitary secular state in which all people have equal rights. This will perhaps require a degree of compromise that all sides will find painful to accept. A Jewish homeland does not necessarily require a Jewish state, nor is a Jewish state the best long-term guarantee of Jewish security. In the proposed unitary secular state, no religion should be presumed of superior authenticity and no rights or privileges should be granted on the basis of claimed ethnicity or religious belief.
The primary obstacles in achieving this solution are firstly the Judaic beliefs that presume exclusive territorial entitlement, and secondly the irreconcilable Islamic beliefs that also necessitate superior claims to territory. The key to dissipating this irreconcilability is simply to put forward the proposition, which is impeccably based in reason, that some of the beliefs on which the conflict is based are false, unnecessary, undesirable, harmful, and based on little more than ancient mythology.
Reason and rationality can prevail over superstition and delusion, and that they must. This may not be as daunting a task as may be supposed. It is not long ago that the addictive and harmful practice of cigarette smoking was considered acceptable, desirable, and was widely promoted and widely practised. More recently, with limitations on promotion and health warnings, the habit of smoking has been greatly reduced. Religion is a similarly harmful addiction but has not been recognised as such. Perversely, it is still widely promoted, encouraged, even enforced.
It is time to reverse this trend wherever possible by promoting reason and secular ideals. Nowhere is this more relevant and necessary than in relation to the issue of Israel and Palestine. Once secular ideals are implemented, the Zionist dream of Israel being “a light to the world”, will truly have been achieved.
Only the wilfully blind could fail to implicate the divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the violent enmities of the world today. Without a doubt it is the prime aggravator of the Middle East. Those of us who for years have politely concealed our contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion need to stand up and speak out. Things are different now. “All is changed, changed utterly.” Richard Dawkins