Religion and Politics

29 01 2011

The world of religion and the world of politics have always been intertwined.  From the very first societies, the Ruling Class and the Priest Class have had an uneasy relationship, as one controlled the physical aspects of life, and the other controlled the metaphysical aspects of life. 

This got very sticky in the earliest phases of human development, when we were a Hunter/Gatherer society, and when we transitioned to an Agricultural society.  In both societies, the Priest Class was in charge of the food supply; and, when game was scarce, or the rain wouldn’t fall (or wouldn’t stop), the Priests were, necessarily, found to be ineffectual, and, to appease the angered gods, the Priests were often called to sacrifice; which meant that being a Priest wasn’t necessarily a long-term healthy profession.  Eventually, the Priests realized that it would be better to sacrifice something other than Priests, and a variety of other sacrifices were found, many of which were unpleasant, but none as unpleasant to the Priest class as the sacrifice of Priests themselves, and so the practice continued, and, in some religions, continues to this very day (e.g., the Blood of the Lamb of God).

The Ruling Class, generally, had it better, although when the Priest Class was strongest (in times of plenty), the Ruling Class served at the indulgence of the Priest Class; which, as you might figure, wasn’t the best thing for the Ruling Class either. 

This whole situation was resolved by the merger between the Priest Class and the Ruling Class, with the various GodKings, which, again, continues to this day, with monarchs of various countries asserting that they rule by Divine Right.  And, conveniently enough, God isn’t there to tell people, one way or the other, whether this is true.  But, to this day, it is the head of the Church which confers power to the Heads of State, whether by literally placing the crown on the monarch’s head, or by doing a blessing or convocation or benediction at the time that an elected official assumes high position.

Now, the question might well be asked: why does the Ruling Class serve by the consent of the Priest Class?  It is because all power asserted over a population is done with the consent of the population.  And, yes, the Ruling Class can assert its power by strength of arms, but, in the long run, the people with the arms are, really, members of the populace being ruled.  And, nothing is more frightening to the Ruling Class than a mob which it cannot control.  Of course, nothing is more frightening to the Priest Class than a mob which it cannot control either; but the Priest Class will always have the advantage here, as the Ruling Class controls the Physical and the Priest Class controls the Metaphysical.  Therefore, if the populace can be convinced that there are eternal rewards in Heaven or eternal punishments in Hell, that will *always* trump anything the Ruling Class can do to the corporeal body.

In the years since we first plowed the fields, the job of delivering food has become a question of the physical rather than the metaphysical, and, so the burden of feeding the public has shifted from the Priest Class to the Ruling Class which suits both just fine.  The Priest Class prefers this, because they no longer bear the responsibility for drought or famine; and the Ruling Class prefers this because it implies a dependency from the people at large, which the Ruling Class desperately needs if it is going to retain power.  Also, as  the Ruling Class has changed in form and substance, so too has the Priest Class.  It must be said that, after countless generations of amassing wealth and power, the Priest Class itself has changed to the individuals which control the wealth and the power, and often uses religion simply to manipulate the masses – thereby wishing, first, to weaken any educational system which might expose them.

But, once again, there is a problem because *now* the Priest Class does best when the general populace is generally uncomfortable, through poverty, or hunger, or deprivation of some sort, because people clamor to their religious leaders in the hopes that their situation can be assuaged, or that, barring that, there will be a happier place for them to go to after this life.  Also, the more desperate people become, the hungrier or sicker their children are, the more easily the Priest Class can assert its authority and flex the arm of its power via displays of civil disobedience or violence, which, it must be said, is done solely to scare the Ruling Class and remind them of who is boss.  Finally, the Priest Class universally believes in a Closed System – where if someone gains, someone else loses, so the less the masses have, the more they have, and since their power is now based on wealth, the poorer and more deprived the masses are, the richer and more powerful they are.

Now, let us pretend that we are members of the Ruling Class – the governing elite.  There are two fundamental courses that we can take in governing our society: we may choose to place the Ruling Class firmly under the Priest/Wealthy Class, thereby making the Priest/Wealthy Class happy; or we may choose to attempt to remove ourselves from under the Priest/Wealthy Class and risk their wrath.

If we choose to attempt to place the Ruling Class under the Priest/Wealthy Class, that is most easily done by further amassing and consolidating wealth and power for the privileged; this, coincidentally, allows us to live as wealthy and powerful, which isn’t such a bad thing for us.  However, if we choose to subvert the Priest/Wealthy Class, we must  weaken the Priest/Wealthy Class by giving more wealth and power to the populace; this, coincidentally, will make us popular and bring cheering hoards and happy children to our rallies, which isn’t so bad either; but will make us targets for assassination, as the Priest/Wealthy class does not like to be thwarted by upstarts, like us.

Now, while the Priest/Wealthy class likes wealth, and dislikes others who threaten their wealth, the Ruling Class likes power, and dislikes those who threaten their power.  So, if you’re in the Ruling Class, the question comes down to, whom do you trust more to keep you in power: few with much, or many with little?  If you trust your Priest/Wealthy Class, and they aren’t asking you to do anything you wouldn’t do anyway, it is expedient to consolidate as much wealth and power as possible into their hands; if you distrust the Priest/Wealthy Class, or, more importantly, if they seek to impede your power, it is more beneficial to lessen their grip on your reign by diminishing their influence by increasing the wealth and power held by the masses, thereby decreasing the wealth in the hands of the wealthy. 

The relative states of the Ruling Class versus the Priest Class can always be determined by looking at the chasm between the rich and the poor.  The wider the gap between the richest and the poorest, the stronger the Priest Class is; the narrower the gap, the stronger the Ruling Class is, and, not coincidentally, the more secular the society is.

Now, there are real benefits to a society with a small gap between rich and poor, and real dangers to a society with a large one.  The quality of life is better when more people have more: people live longer, it is more peaceful and tolerant, the art is better, the crime rate is lower, the general health is better, and you don’t have those pesky people starving in the streets to deal with.  The most glaring of the dangers when there is a large schism between rich and poor is that people, eventually, realize that the control over their lives, by both the Ruling and Priest Classes, is illusory, and they seek to reassert control over their own lives, becoming the uncontrollable mob that both Classes most fear, and anarchy reigns.  And once that starts, everyone loses, but the ones who lose most are the ones with the most to lose: the Ruling Class and the Priest/Wealthy Class.




One response

29 01 2011

you are dealing with a large and difficult subject. I like it!

As always I become elated to read your blog. It provides time and words for thought. It promotes the smile on my lips. I just think it’s a shame that others did not offer a little more involved with their attitudes, or at least their opinion, here and now. You know me, and we’re not much u agree. But of all goods and evils, I choose democracy. I’ll choose to believe in a social-liberal society where we are good with room for the sick, stupid, poor, drug addicts, alcoholics. Skin color and religion, relationships or collectives, single life yes, a society where every human being must be respected and allowed to “their lives”. We will support those who can not or will provide for themselves, we can afford it, as if they were our own children. And their back pay will be a society without envy, a society with respect for differences. There must be room for rich and poor alike, and the middle class must be the highest. We must, through taxes, run our society. If anyone with an income up to? ceiling is tax free and then tax increases in earnings (excluding prograssiv)% rate should be like stair steps. We must stop being afraid of the military industry, we can use metal factories for so much more than nuclear weapons and cannon. We could build windmills and solar panels in large stil.Vi must stop killing each other. We will not give in to threats. Yes we will simply not afraid. We will love and not just ourselves but each other. Life is better than we make it. Culture and art is ethically imperative. Movies, books and imagination. Diversity is strength. Debate is good and constructive, and used for further development. While the ignorant and intollerance is dangerous. We must not give in to threats.
Somalia has been for many years without any real government, they have civil war, and operates through piracy in the coastal area. They are poor and feeling abandoned. However, they’re all had a mother someday. But unfortunately they never had democracy. The world has always been changing, and I’m not sure we in western world must get involved in all things. Japan is ready to make nuclear bombs to defend against the Chinese, but Obama is absolutely fantastic, and as the only (only because he is U.S. president) will the Chinese listen to the “great statesman”. Egypt is about someone in crisis, the Muslims will not stand for the dictator anymore, even here, Obama’s opinions great weight. Then our “mayor problems” suddenly put into perspective. Thanks for talking, you are my idol no. But there must be more “fans” on the blog, so I look back on a couple of days, weeks, months and years. Again and again ❤ THANKS: D
this is a Google translate, so excuse me if it is not right 😉 TM

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