Should Humanists Be Statheists?

Humanism: “An outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.”

Changing the method of election of officials from “divine award” or “conquest” to “democratic election” changes the form but not the substance of the institution.

While attention is paid to who sits in the White House, or who is Prime Minister, the real power resides in a vast, unelected bureaucracy, and an oligarchy which often funds both sides of elections.

National Security and Double Government, by Michael J. Glennon, underscores that the actual power of the unelected bureaucracy in America exceeds that of Congress and the President.

In a test of competing political theories, Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page found that

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

— which comes as no surprise whatsoever to libertarian political theorists and activists. The electoral process does not do a good job of representing the interests of human beings in general; nor does the bureaucracy pay much attention to those who are elected in any case. There are other arguments – such as Public Choice Economics and the Economic Calculation Problem – which reveal that political systems are less competent than voluntary systems at eliciting the information and creating the incentives to encourage the provision of what people want in any affordable manner. Political calculation is less responsive to the needs of humans, and less capable of rational computation.

For whatever reason, many of today’s self-described humanists rightly denounce blind faith in explicitly religious ideas, but accept uncritically statheist ideas and traditions which have been explicitly created to promote faith in the institutions of the State. They might as well still believe in the Divine Right of Majorities, from all available evidence – they merely changed religious denominations, and have not challenged the fundamental presumptions inherent when letting some elites govern the lives of others.

Long before Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, states have embraced religions to entrench their powers. In the old days, the Caesar was a God; removal of other gods, if not done with some thought, may simply leave the humanist with the one deity which actually does have earthly armies to enforce its edicts: the State.

“A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: “I, the state, am the people.”

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