Don't waste your time
...earning myself an online flame war, one link at a time...

If you've wandered around this site, it'll be clear by now I've got some ideas about how to improve things.  It's also worth spending time trying to help folks steer clear of dead ends and philosophies that are actively harming them.

There are belief systems that have redeeming qualities, but are harmful due to misguided intentions.  Then there are belief systems that are shiny, glossy and appeal to our ego's, but are ultimately rotten.  Because they've had a long time to polish their sales pitches, it's not at all obvious that these groups are so malevolent.  But they are, and the stakes are now pretty high.

Since this website makes no pretense at being fair or balanced, I'll skip over the positive or allegedy positive aspects of the following.  They have vast resources to blow in the media, and they spend them everyday to sell their snake oil.  No need for me to try to defend them.  So with that in mind, here's a short list of brain sucking mind-benders you'd do well to avoid.

These aren't really in any order, other than by how much they piss me off on a regular basis... 

Top of the list: Ayn Rand.  Called Objectivism, her entire philosophy can be summarized thus: 'Selfishness is good.  Greed is a virtue.  The downtrodden are contemptible'.   Allow me to retort: horse-flop.  That's right, Objectivism is a big steaming pile of crap.  Sadly it's been adopted widely in the last few decades, because by suscribing to it people can feel good about being cold-hearted bastards.  Well now, enough is enough.  We're are all here together, and our health and welfare rises and falls together.  Period, the end.  It's a non negotiable fact of life, so we may as well get about figuring out how to do it fairly.  If you consider yourself a follower of this person, do all of us a favor and snap out of it.  Try reading some other writers, such as Derrick Jenson, Barbara Kingsolver, Maya Angelou... oh I could go on for hours.  Read almost anyone other than this idiot.  You'll feel better, and the rest of us will be better off.

Next up: Organized religions. While it's true that these fall into the first catagory above (they have several redeeming features, and foster community) in the end, sorry to say, they are all based on fairy tales.  And they spend so much time convincing their followers that they are right (therefore others are wrong) that by any  rational standard, 90% of the wars fought in the last 12,000 years are directly their fault.  Even more crucial, you should understand that every religion, from Jains to Jews to Hindu's to Chritisians to Scientologists to Muslims to Zorastorians are all on the same side of one battle.  This is the war we 'civilized' folks have declared on the natural world.  I'm a poor conduit to explain this idea, so you should go right now and get a copy of The Story of B by Daniel Quinn for a detailed explanation.  Suffice it to say, no hyperbole or fooling around here, that while this side may win the battles, mother nature will ultimately win the war.  Nature always bats last.   The war is also totally unnecessary!  We lived successfully for well over 100,000 years prior to the advent of these attractive-but-wrong notions.  Nobody had to work 40 hours a week, or die after a short hard life.  Let me state again: prior to the widespread belief in organized religions, we all lived really well, spending most of our waking life having fun.  The degree to which we suffer today is directly correlated to the degree by which we keep these ideas going.  So step one in advancing humanity's lot must be for us to use our brains, and abandon these belief systems.  We can take the good parts and incorporate them into better ways of living.  There is no ONE right way to live.  The pressure you feel on your shoulders each day is the pressure of one or more of these religions trying to get you to conform - against your better instincts.  Stand up, shake it off, and let's start working out systems of believing and living that work for us, on local scales.

I'm out of time, so check back later for more.  Next update, I'll kick around a few obvious straw men, like Fox News and the Neocons.  I'll even make some of it rhyme.  Until then, just remember : THINK FOR YOURSELF!  Question everything, challenge all dogma.  You might be surprised how easily they fall apart.