[Herb comments on: Slamming the door on Jehovah Witnesses, et al....]
My sincere condolences for any and all people who suffer under illegitimate authority, be it religious, governmental, academic or any of the rest of the many sources for opportunity for sociopathic ambitious. When I was in private practice many physicians in Southern California banned Witnesses from their practices. My wife and I did not. OTOH, we would have a little talk with these families at the first visit to be sure they understood that if a conflict occurred with the church, around blood transfusion typically, then the matter would be promptly turned over to the courts to decide what to do. Witness families we dealt with were fine with this and we never, fortunately, had problems. You could never tell who was a Witness by seeing them in the waiting room, they were indistinguishable from the rest of our practice, and treated that way.
I am a closet totalitarian I guess. When I see organizations doing criminal and unconscionable things I want them stopped. That implies that I want to live in a society that has the power to do that. If you posit the continued existence of massive societies then these societies need to be able to step in and stop heinous behavior, or abandon the pretense of being a society. In a “pluralistic society” (in quotes because there is nothing plural about societies like ours) there is the idea that freedom of association means that any group can calve off and isolate itself and treat its members however it wants, commit all the crimes it can get away with and prey on vulnerable individuals. Ultimately it matters little what sort of authoritarian group is involved in the abuse. Many giant corporations do terrible things to people on a scale that dwarfs any abuses by churches. Functionally any closed authoritarian group is a source of the same sort of abuse of individuals that the religious groups impose. Therefore such societies, if they are to maintain a humanitarian standard of care and relationship, if they are going to claim sovereignty as more than a pretense, have to treat organizations that present a pattern of criminal behavior in a manner similar to individual criminals. While I am not a believer in capital punishment for individuals I am A BIG FAN of capital punishment for criminal organizations. They need to be destroyed root and branch. I shouldn’t leave this discussion without mentioning the grand daddy of all abusive authoritarian organizations, the standing army. Societies that maintain standing armies generally see those military organizations become criminal and dominant, as we have seen here in the US.
A traditional village, such as I lived in in Vietnam for a few years, is an inclusive organization. This inclusivity tends to moderate abuses by authoritarian individuals, if not completely prevent it. This is a much better, more biologically consistent, approach to human organization. When society invites EXCLUSIVE organizations it is surrendering a degree of sovereignty and will begin loosing control to criminals. The US is a great example of this. National sovereignty is a joke in the US as is our “representative democracy.” Human and civil rights are crumbling as corporations and other authoritarian organizations have systematically established a system of legalized bribery backed up by all sorts of criminality committed under the veil of secrecy. And the professional lying industry (Public Relations) works tirelessly to cover up the crimes and confuse people into immobility in the face of mortal threat.
Furthermore, any top down form of organization will succumb to criminal control, eventually. The first generation of leaders may be saints, but the second or third are sure to be sociopaths. The churches come in for a lot of outrage largely, I think, because folks feel that churches should operate with a higher ethical and moral standard than non-sectarian ones. But that is just silly thinking. It sets church groups aside from groups like Wallmart, investment banks and the military that also act in secret according to a sacred dogma and ultimately, just like the churches, seek to concentrate power and wealth in as few hands as possible.
I totally agree that the hidden crimes of authoritarian religion are heinous, I just don’t get why we are paying attention to them to the exclusion of attention to the monster organizations that, in the balance, are doing virtually all the damage. Any mutualist society must deal with organized criminality MUCH more harshly than crimes by individuals. If an injury to one is an injury to all, then organizations that injure people need to be disbanded for the protection of everyone.
In the mean time we have this chaotic free for all where the smart move is to conspire to dispossess your neighbor, where massively wealthy criminals, like so many of our leading bankers and politicians, are celebrated as heroes and exemplary individuals worthy of emulation. We live in a pirate culture. The evil churches are just another aspect of institutionalized injustice and aren’t all that important compared to other sources of organized evil.
A society committed to justice will not tolerate any of this. Time to start organizing people power to establish a just regime and rectify all this.