Friday, September 9, 2016

The Church as Villain in Fiction

Philip Pullman probably did it best with the "His Dark Materials" series. Children were going missing in an alternative universe and no one knew where they were going. In this universe, people were attached to something called a "daemon." These are similar to a spirit. They were animals that were spiritually attached to children. Upon puberty they take their final form. The final form of the animal says a lot about a person's personality.

**Plot Spoiler for "The Golden Compass**

It turns out that the church was stealing these children and experimenting on way in which they could separate them from their Daemon. It was horrific. This process can be liked to a frontal lobotomy.

**Plot Spoiler Ended**

This type of experiment is non unlike a frontal lobotomy which reminds the reader of an asylum.

The church has changed over the years. It is no longer the organization that claimed the sun revolved around the earth and put scientists and philosophers on house arrest for publishing heretical documents. Now it embodies a popular progressive authoritarianism that calls for non-coercive one-world governing system.  They celebration the United Nations as an advancement towards peace but declared that it didn't do enough.  John XXIII: there is a
"need for a public authority, on the international level, with effective capacity to advance the universal common good; an authority which could not, the Pope immediately continued, be established by coercion but only by the consent of nations. Such a body would have to have as its fundamental objective the “recognition, respect, safeguarding, and promotion of the rights of the human person” (ibid., IV: l.c., 294). The Holy See.
The United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights was celebrated but such things "the right to food and drinkable water, to housing and security, to self-determination and independence" were not being realized. "Peace demands that this tension be speedily reduced and in time eliminated" (Pope John Paul II). The "right" to all of these things is where the emphasis is placed. On the surface this sounds like a good idea until we analyze which countries establish a "right" to these things, and which countries actually have these things.

All government action is coercive. There are certain scenarios where this type of coercion could be said to be "justified" because the good outweighs the bad. In one case the Vatican calls for jobs, not handouts. In another case the Pope calls for coercion to limit free expression and drugs.

The church no longer does the crazy stuff it used to but there is still enough fodder, economic ignorance, and good intentions with bad results within the church to make for some good fiction plot-lines.

I realize that not everyone sees things the way I do. Some people are very much in line with the new progressivism of the church because they don't see how good intentions lead to bad results. They find fault in big businesses and profit seeking for nearly everything while they see the only solution as being coercive government action (I'm being repetitious to make a point). Maybe the church doesn't perform exorcisms of frontal lobotomies on children, but it encourages the "right to food" that Venezuela took up in 1999:

In 1999, at the start of its process of social transformation known as the Bolivarian Revolution, Venezuela became among the world’s first countries to adopt a national policy of food sovereignty. Its newly reformed constitution guaranteed its citizens the right to food through a secure national food supply based on sustainable agriculture as a strategic framework for rural development, to be carried out through a series of laws, institutes, and programs.
How'd that turn out? Ending profit motive, the motive which guides people to produce the goods  and services for people in society who would willingly exchange their own goods and services for, kills an industry.

The evil of this type of progressivism is below the surface. It is an intellectual laziness that prescribes altruism as the solution tot he world's problems rather than a much better solution; the leveraging of self-interest with profit margins.

The church can still be the villain in literature but it is no longer to villain of simple-minded populist ethos. It is the villain of the thinking man: those who can link cause with effect.



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