Fight Truth Decay
By - November 10, 2003
I have seen perhaps no more poignant statement reflecting the
condition of modern American society.
There is a growing rift in America society over "the truth". This
rift is a product of over fifty years of Cold War ideology that has
deeply impacted American society. The picture above, taken near my home
in Florida, reflects a growing movement in America to bury one's head in
the sand. The truth is that there is a significant disparity between
reality and what the majority of Americans believe is true. In the
presence of this situation a strong "conservative" movement is growing
in America, which is seeking to reshape "the truth" to fit their
The sign obviously reflects one of the most dangerous aspects of
human culture, the tendency for religious escapism when facts do not
match beliefs. The sign is obviously indicative of a mindset that The
Bible holds the truth, and anything that conflicts with The Bible must
be a lie. This has been common throughout history of course, but this is
2003 in the most powerful country in the world, and I think that this
goes beyond just religion, this goes into the matters of State as well.
The fact is that an entire worldview has been crafted in America
since World War II which is very much removed from reality. This
worldview has been crafted by establishment interests and encompasses
matters of Church, State, and Commerce.
The call being issued by this church is a call to prevent
introspection and critical analysis of American history and policy, a
call to prevent expanding scientific knowledge and understanding, and a
call not to dispel the popularly accepted fallacies pervasive in
American society, in other words, a call to fight against "shattering
It is this attitude that now places the very principles of the
founding of America at risk.
At the heart of this American movement to bury our collective heads
in the sand is the conservative belief that America was founded on
"conservative" principles. The irony of this of course is that nothing
is farther from the truth. America was founded on the very principles of
liberalism and reason. America was founded as the most progressive force
in the history of the world. America's gift to the world was not
"conservatism", it was the triumph of radicalism, the triumph of reason,
the triumph of liberalism. The founding of America was the most profound
and successful liberal event in the history of the world, which helped
to promote the next most profound and liberal event in the history of
the world, the French Revolution, and the two complimented each other to
strengthen the light of liberty around the world.
The past 50 years of Cold War ideology have destroyed the greatest
strength that America ever had, it's liberal ideological core. The torch
of liberty is the torch of liberalism, they are one and the
The most important man in American history is arguably Thomas Paine,
as John Adams stated: "Without the pen of Paine the sword of
Washington would have been wielded in vain." He is the man that
helped to raise awareness and set the events of Revolution in motion. He
certainly did not do that by telling people to bury their noses
in the Bible, no, in fact he did the opposite. In addition Paine did not
stop once the American Revolution had been completed; no, he then went
to Paris and helped to promote revolution there as well. Paine was not a
nationalist, his views were international; his goal: total liberty for
Benjamin Franklin remarked to Paine after the American Revolution,
"Where liberty is, that is my country," Paine replied, "Where
liberty is not, that is mine."
The founders were not men who viewed themselves as the authorities of
humanity, as codifiers of truth for all time, they were men who
more than anything wanted to secure the idea that every generation must
determine the truth and act on it accordingly. They were not dogmatic;
they did not seek to cement the world to their views; they desired to
make it possible for all of mankind to determine for themselves what
Thomas Paine wrote:
"The circumstances of the world are continually changing, and the
opinions of men change also; and as government is for the living, and
not for the dead, it is the living only that has any right in it. That
which may be thought right and found convenient in one age, may be
thought wrong and found inconvenient in another. In such cases, who is
to decide, the living, or the dead?"
"I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to
his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who
denies another this right makes a slave of himself to his present
opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it."
"The countries the most famous and the most respected of
antiquity are those which distinguished themselves by promoting and
patronizing science, and on the contrary those which neglected or
discouraged it are universally denominated rude and barbarous. The
patronage which Britain has shown to Arts, Science and Literature has
given her a better established and lasting rank in the world than she
ever acquired by her arms."
"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian
or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to
terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
"It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine and
murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man."
"There is scarcely any part of science, or anything in nature,
which those imposters and blasphemers of science, called priests, as
well Christians as Jews, have not, at some time or other, perverted, or
sought to pervert to the purpose of superstition and falsehood."
"The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is
the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on nothing; it
proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing
and admits of no conclusion."
"No falsehood is so fatal as that which is made an article of
"Of all the tyrannies that afflict mankind, tyranny in religion
is the worst. Every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we
live in, but this attempts a stride beyond the grave and seeks to pursue
us into eternity."
"Yet this is trash that the Church imposes upon the world as the
Word of God; this is the collection of lies and contradictions called
the Holy Bible! this is the rubbish called Revealed Religion!"
Paine did believe in "God". He believed in a god, but he did
not believe that "religion" was beneficial. Paine instead saw religion
as a man made institution that not only prevented man from understanding
God, but also prevented man from understanding man.
"Soon after I had published the pamphlet Common Sense, in
America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system
of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of
religion. The adulterous connection of church and state, wherever it had
taken place, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, had so effectually
prohibited by pains and penalties, every discussion upon established
creeds, and upon first principles of religion, that until the system of
government should be changed, those subjects could not be brought fairly
and openly before the world; but that whenever this should be done, a
revolution in the system of religion would follow. Human inventions and
priestcraft would be detected; and man would return to the pure, unmixed
and unadulterated belief of one God, and no more.
Every national church or religion has established itself by
pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain
individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus
Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet, as if
the way to God was not open to every man alike.
Each of those churches show certain books, which they call
revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was
given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word
of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of
God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those
churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve
In 1925 Thomas Edison wrote of Paine:
"Tom Paine has almost no influence on present-day thinking in the
United States because he is unknown to the average citizen. Perhaps I
might say right here that this is a national loss and a deplorable lack
of understanding concerning the man who first proposed and first wrote
those impressive words, 'the United States of America.' But it is hardly
strange. Paine's teachings have been debarred from schools everywhere
and his views of life misrepresented until his memory is hidden in
shadows, or he is looked upon as of unsound mind."
And it is this man, Tom Paine, who is more singularly responsible for
liberty as it exists everywhere in the world today than any other man.
And it is Thomas Paine's type of thinking that is under strong attack in
America, possibly as strong an attack as it has ever been under. The
very men and ideas that gave America, and the world, liberty are still
under attack from the very things that those men decried, the desire to
close up minds inside an ancient book.
Thomas Jefferson shared many of Paine's views on liberty, freethought
and religion as well. Both Paine and Jefferson were attacked in their
day as wretched, lascivious, immoral men, and no two men did more to
advance the reality of liberty and freedom then any other man. It is the
ultimate irony that these men, who are responsible for lighting and
preserving the torch of liberty more than perhaps any other men in the
history of the world, are now abused by "conservative" thinkers and used
to try and create a mythical anti-liberal image of not only our own
past, but of the entire concept of liberty and truth itself.
Jefferson wrote of religion and its institutions:
"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden
people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade
of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will
always avail themselves for their own purposes."
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile
to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his
abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire
wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to
effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to
man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and
therefore the safer engine for their purposes."
"The Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they
[the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and
simplicity of it's benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others
most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human
"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the
introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and
imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What
has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and
the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the
Again, Jefferson did believe in God, but he also recognized the
tendency of religious institutions to thwart rational thinking, free
thought and understanding. Jefferson himself was a man of science, and
certainly not one that would prescribe the reading of the Bible as a
means to "understand the truth."
No, the sign on that marquee should read: "Embrace knowledge; put
down your Bible."
Yes, the established worldview in America that has been cultivated
through the past 50 years of Cold War climate is starting to come under
serious attack. The events of 9/11 have cause some Americans to take
notice and begin to question, the internet has opened up new avenues of
learning outside our own corporate/State media, and people are once
again fighting for the freedom to express dissenting ideas and to
challenge the "official version" of the truth. It is this exact
situation that is causing many, those who are more comfortable with the
illusion than the scary reality, to recoil into their institutions of
mass deception to comfort themselves with delusion, rocking back and
fourth with their eyes closed praying, "just make it (the truth) go
Yes, their "version" of the truth is, once again, in decay.
Maybe this time it will rot completely, if only we should be so lucky.
"Reason and Ignorance, the opposites of each other, influence the
great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently
extensive in a country, the machinery of government goes easily on.
Reason obeys itself; and Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to
it." - Thomas Paine
What shall we be, a country whose gears of State are oiled by Reason
Age of Reason - Thomas Paine