Archive for October 29th, 2010

Our Established Religion, Part I: The Hadrian Phase

Almost a decade ago, when I first mentioned Zoroastrianism on Whitaker Online, there was a chorus of catcalls. It still seems strange, even to regular BUGS readers, that I talk so much about the history of religion.

Once again, people will agree that Political Correctness is our established RELIGION, but they don’t THINK about it.

Realizing this is a RELIGION makes it an entirely different thing from the Conspiracy of Geniuses or the Force of History that so many of us, tragically, think it is.

You see, every historical religion went under because it sought food for its priests and power in THIS world. Every religion becomes an industry, and like any other industry. Then another one comes and out competes it. That is what has happened to millions of religions.

In my lifetime, the Main Line Protestant religions were visibly disappearing. The Methodist Church membership consisted heavily of living people who had been raised in that church and never bothered to change to “agnostic.”

I remember when the one thing that distinguished evangelical Christianity from the industrial version was GROWTH. A major portion of the American population shifted into Born Again religion . Totally unnoticed by our media, South America had new millions of Born Again Christians every year.

Until they went political, Born Again Christians were on their way to conquering both Americas.

In discussing economics, I made the point that things don’t collapse visibly. It is simple arithematic: things stagnate, THEN they decline. Born Agains have stagnated. Economies have stagnated..

Historically this stagnation phase goes unnoticed.

Those who notice it are later called Prophets.

In fact the stagnation phase is the absolute peak level of the idea that this industry or this society will go on forever.

When Hadrian built his Wall, it announced two things:

1) the Roman Empire had reached the limits of its expansion, and 2) those limits were set in stone because they were meant to last forever. And in Hadrian’s time it was assumed that the Roman Empire would last forever and the Eternal City of Rome would be its omega just as it had been its alpha.

When Constantine moved his capitol to Byzantium, it was not a declaration that his Roman Empire had ended, and he did not resign his job.

In fact, the Holy Roman Empire was finally ended by Napoleon seventeen centuries after Hadrian. The actual direct line of Caesars only ended in 1453, when Constantinople fell to Islam.

Even after Napoleon, Russia called itself The Third Rome and Tsar, King, and Kaiser meant emperor in the Roman sense. The Pope is Pontifus Maximus, one of Caesar’s titles.

The point is that if people can’t even agree on when the Roman Empire fell, how can they possibly recognize the stagnation point?

But to us this is all a quibble. History tells us that the Roman Empire fell sometime in the first part of the first millennium, but you will play hell finding an agreed-one date.

The fact is that the collapse that everybody seems so obsessed with IS a quibble. It is the point of stagnation that really matters.