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"Mythology Is the Problem"

     Problem-solvers have discovered that it always helps to
identify the cause of the difficulty.  It has come clear that in
four areas of serious concern, mythology is at the root of the
trouble.  What people believe, often without thinking and without
question, stands in the way of progress.
     1.  One aspect of human mortality has been called "dying
with dignity," and even "the right to die."  When mortality
looms, we treat our dogs and cats better than we are allowed to
treat each other, legally.  Theology, a branch of mythology,
stands in the way of any solution.  When Dr. Jack Kavorkian
attempted to act on behalf of terminally ill sufferers, and to
dramatize the problem for those too busy to think about it, he
met stiff legal opposition, and has ended up in prison.  "The
problem isn't science or ethics," he exclaimed.  "It's all
     Prosecutors with their heads full of rigid fundamentalist
theology were his problem.  People can believe strange and
preposterous unprovable propositions.  Or they can say they
believe things and then find it hard to reverse their position. 
For example, "A Divine Being is the Maker, the Giver of Life. 
Only he has the right to take it away.  The doctor who assists
suicide is 'playing God.'"  It's all about myth, not the reality
of what can happen to real human beings.
     2.  Abortion has become one of the most seriously divisive
issues in our country.  The problem is greatly exacerbated by
what people believe, or say they believe.  "Human life begins at
conception."  "A fetus is a person."  "A fetus is a baby."  "A
fetus is a child."  "A fetus is a future soldier, whose life must
be salvaged under any circumstances so that he or she can be
sacrificed later by world conquerors."
     An essentially very sad and tragic situation can be
symbolized by the high school senior who drops her baby in the
trash receptacle in the girls' rest room on graduation night and
then is tried for murder.  All that misery is converted into a
simple-seeming theological proposition.  The syllogism may be
correct, but the axioms are patently wrong, based on mythology
and not reality.  "Right to life" as a slogan is the height of
     3.  Nationalism is a plague which threatens the future of
life on this planet.  It is all mythology.  "Ours is the best
country on earth."  Anyone who says that has not paid attention
while traveling, or has not traveled at all.  Nationalists in
Chechnya and Serbia and Iran and Pakistan and Korea are a threat
to the well-being of the world.  But the biggest threat is that
country with the most Weapons of Mass Destruction, the U.S. of A. 
Tens of thousands of nuclear warheads, along with uncounted
secret biological and chemical capabilities, along with the
expressed and observable willingness to use whatever destructive
firepower is available, make us the supreme threat to all the
other countries of the world.  
     Almost forty years ago, the great American satirist, Tom
Lehrer, gave us a line to think about in his song, "Send in the
Marines."  "They love us everywhere we go."  He meant the
Dominican Republic and Vietnam, back then.  Since then we have
had:  Laos, Cambodia, Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua,
Grenada, Lebanon, Panama, Somalia, Serbia, Colombia, Afghanistan
and Iraq.  I believe I have missed some others.  "They love us
everywhere we go."
     After the destruction of the World Trade Center, the key
question, from an 8-year-old who was not into satire, was simply,
"Why do they hate us?"  Someone tried the answer, "because of our
freedoms," but that was a lie.  We have traded them in, anyway,
for an imaginary security.  They hate us for our bombing, for our
arrogance, for our assumption that everyone else is inferior, for
our assumption that we can take whatever we want whenever we want
it.  The root of it is our belief in a myth, the myth of "God's
     4.  Something is wrong, also, on the domestic front.  We
have serious problems right here at home: poor education and
decaying facilities, inadequate health care or none for some
people, no employment for all who want it, collapsing
infrastructure.  These problems are all made horribly worse by
mythology, theology and ideology.  The axioms are:  "All
government is bad."  "All taxation is bad."  "Tax cuts are good,
because they starve the beast, which is the government itself."
     This doctrine is farthest advanced in Texas, but it now
dominates thinking in our nation's capital as well.  Get rid of
it, meaning any government program except the military and police
power, which is the power to bully, to terrorize and to destroy. 
Get rid of Social Security [privatize it!].  Get rid of public
schools and public health facilities [privatize, privatize!]. 
Ronald Reagan wanted to sell the Weather Bureau.
     These people want to void the Social Contract itself -- the
very notion that we are all in this together and that human
solidarity is what will make life bearable and liveable.  This
tax-cut myth needs to be discredited definitively and for good. 
Those who believe it need to be disarmed and sent home, so that
the rest of us can get back to problem-solving.

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Copyright © 2003 Harry Willson

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