"I don't wanna be a politician, Mama/I don't want to lie...." --John Lennon

What kind of governments will we have, if any, in a post-religious era? Yes, the question pre-supposes an enlightened time when Lennon's Dream will be fact, when almost everyone agrees that there's "no hell below us/Above us only sky." I would even settle for something like the quasi-utopian world that already exists in Scandinavia, according to Ed Doerr (reviewing a book by Phil Zuckerman):

"...[A] much-attentuated Luteranism continues in Denmark and Sweden. Most Danes and Swedes still pay the church tax (though they could easily opt out), have church weddings, and baptize their children even though they rarely darken the door of a church. Most Danes and Swedes regard themselves as Christians, though like Thomas Jefferson they regard this simply as being a good and moral person and pay no attention to traditional creeds....."

Perhaps it is a concomitant phenomenon that capitalism is not so laissez-faire in Northern Europe; I am told it is not. It would appear that the politicians in those countries put the concerns of the citizenry above their desire to be reelected or to profit from their office, the two most pervasive problems with American political life. I am convinced that liberality in religious life is as well a gauge of how progressive a nation has become, that perhaps there is a correlation between altruism in government and decline in religious faith.

But I also think that capitalism has failed. (Communism did not fail, it was never tried, and it got off to a bad start with the Bolshevik pogroms, much as the French over a century earlier.) Capitalism always results in a vast disparity between the haves and have-not's, as we are seeing today with 2 or 3% of the American people owning almost all of the wealth, much as most of an iceberg is under water. Of course this is a sizable group by numbers. At just 2%, it includes 60,000 of us. In a post-religious era, capitalism would probably be a thing of the past.

What I hope we will see is a kind of enlightened anarchy, especially in the sense of anarcho-syndicalism. Stripped of its accoutrements, I believe this boils down to "corporations" owned and operated entirely by the workers. (Surely this would be the only viable manner in which even a minimum of manufacturing can be revived.) Workers who see bosses making many thousands at the factory level -- and at the executive level, many millions -- more than their spartan salaries can only end up resenting their superiors.

Now that the mostly-Catholic, part-Jewish Supreme Court has made corporations "persons," we would appear to be headed in the wrong direction. Corporations are legal constructs; in a word, fictions. A corporation is to a person as a cuckoo clock is to a sparrow. They simply do not equate. Had the shareholders of Lehman Brothers known anything of subprime mortgages and derivatives and that their financial company was trading in them, they would have thrown out the rascals. But corporations owned by investors have lazy watchdogs as owners. In the laissez-faire capitalist period of the early 2000's, our politicians enabled grand theft. Allowing corporations to contribute money to political races when what we need is publicly subsidized elections with maximum amounts in the hundreds of thousands, is certainly a step in the wrong direction.

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Comment by Aniruddha on January 28, 2011 at 10:15am

It is scary people think capitalism and atheism can ever go hand in hand like couples on side streets. One, only communist countries have embraced Atheism as a state religion and we must be proud that in the twentieth century there were countries that questioned religion and abolished religion from its state. I also think Social darwinism as some people call it is in way scientific or even vaguely related to biological Darwinism.

 

One, Darwin says evolution through the survival of fittest occurs to improve the effectiveness of the species and not individuals within the species. So first communism is more scientific than capitalism. The growth of species is given the most important weightage.

 

Two, let me get into the Politics of it all. republicans have support of both rich and the religious while democrats have their support-base mainly composed of Atheists, semi-religious and labor unions. Here in USA itself, this is an overwhelming proof, that Atheism is anithetical to capitalism. They cannot exist together. This is not a communist site. But if it is a true Atheist site, then it wouldn't have members who embrace capitalism and who justify exploitation. We have been oppressed by the religious forces for centuries. I joined this site to liberate myself from this mess and here I see people who support oppression. It is sad. By the way, I don't have any personal hatred towards any member who chooses capitalism. It is his/her personal political opinion. But I just wanted to make a point. And I hope my point strikes a chord.

Comment by James M. Martin on July 21, 2010 at 7:47am
I think, Logan, that if you read my post carefully, you will see that I, for one, believe there is a relationship between governmental economic philosophy and objectives and religious belief; hence, the topic is relevant here. Theoretically, Marx, Lenin, Stalin et al. were atheists, and look what a mess they made of it. I don't even believe communism (little "c") is per se atheistic; after all, the first Christians lived in communes and abhorred the notion of private ownership. (Nowadays, the evangelicals appear to believe that the Booble warned of Cadillacs "pass[ing] through the eye of a needle" as a prerequisite to a rich man's entry into the "Kingdom.") No, there is definitely a correlation between economic policy and religious belief; else what to make of the "Prosperity Gospel" movement?
Comment by Logan Grado on July 21, 2010 at 1:02am
Capitalism is the best economic system that has been in existence, because as John D said, it take into account human behavior, and is also, if you think about, based on the same principles as evolution and natural selection. Those that do well are rewarded. communism will never work because there is no incentive. Anyway, this is not a pro-communism site, but an atheist one, and the two subjects are not correlated.
Comment by Prog Rock Girl on July 19, 2010 at 12:09pm
Communism did not fail, it was never tried? But if it was never tried, it is b/c of human nature, which is why there probably will not be a utopia. There have been enough governments that adapted communism and at least called themselves communist.

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