The United States is an insane nation. It is composed of a toxic cultural legacy that breeds superstition and lunacy. Some argue the parochial nature of American society is rooted in the frontiersman tradition of “Western Expansion.” For instance, Canadian anthropologist Ronald Wright notes that America has always embodied an ideological tension between Enlightenment values on the one hand, and frontiersman values on the other. While the remnants of these ideologies remain, the scope has changed: Americans now encounter Global Warming as the dominant existential crises, and international terrorism, in response to American Empire, the dominant political crisis of the 21st century.
Indeed, it has been widely understood within the scientific community that biological evolution is a reality, not a belief or myth. In fact, the very idea that one animal could descend from another finds its origins in pre-Socratic Greek society, with philosophers such as Anaximander and Aristotle. During the 17th century, new forms of modern science rejected these approaches, focusing more on the natural laws of the physical world. Our understanding of this process continues to evolve with time. However, a fundamental concept remains: Human beings come from the natural world, not incalculable, cosmic-Gods.
After one-hundred-plus-years of universal public education, discoveries in science and political reforms, US citizens continue to hold disproportionately skeptical views of science. For instance, Gallup’s Beliefs and Values survey shows, “More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process.” In fact, these numbers are off-the-charts when compared with other Western nations.
Americans hold equally idiotic convictions about UFOs. According to ABC News, “Thirty-six percent of Americans, about 80 million people, believe UFOs exist, and a tenth believe they have spotted one, a new National Geographic poll shows.” Additionally, the study reveals that 55 percent of Americans believe, “Men in Black-style agents threaten people who report UFO sightings” and over 75 percent assume Aliens have visited planet Earth. In like manner, a HuffPost/YouGov poll reveals that 45 percent of Americans suppose “ghosts, or… spirits of dead people can come back in certain places and situations.” Moreover, the poll concludes that over 28 percent of Americans simultaneously suspect they have been in the presence of ghosts during some point in their lives.
Surely this information should send a chill down the spine of those interested in creating a more rational society, with its ideologies and understanding of the physical-world based on empirical data and scientific-principles. When examining the modern political/cultural coordinates in the US, one must take into account the fact that Americans have a long history of mythical beliefs and anti-scientific bias. These historical trends have created quite an anti-intellectual culture, which, unfortunately, remains with the nation today.
Americans not only live in a very irrational society, they live in an extremely scared society, with fears ranging from immigrants and young black men, to Biblical prophecies describing the “end times.” Consequently, when faced with supposed “terror-threats,” Americans react predictably to the non-stop propaganda machine of mainstream news reports, videos and commentary. To illustrate, last month NBC News reported that Americans are as scared of ISIS, as they were in the wake of 9/11. Even more, the poll shows 61 percent of Americans agreed that, “The United States taking military action against ISIS is in United States’ interest, versus 13 percent who don’t.” What fundamental lessons have Americans learned since 9/11? In short, none.
The ability of the mainstream press to ignite fear, rage and concern within American society is truly a magnificent achievement on behalf of the ruling class. Of course, American-fear has a long history, ranging from the Red Scare to Y2K. On the other hand, since 9/11, Americans have been increasingly bombarded with non-stop reports, documentaries, newscasts, Hollywood films, books, magazine articles and radio broadcasts focused on international terrorism. Undoubtedly, the collective psychological effect has been ruinous.
One could argue that the increased sophistication and decentralization of communication technologies provide Americans with alternative media sources, but then how does one explain the fact that Americans are as scared today, as they were in the aftermath of 9/11? Do Americans not have more media options today than they did in 2001? What’s even more interesting is the fact that this time it only took a couple of beheading videos to spark American intervention, whereas 9/11 involved the collapse of the twin towers, an attack on the pentagon and a downed-aircraft in Pennsylvania–all told, resulting in the deaths of over 3,000 people.
Of course, environmentalists, sci
Misplaced fears, parochial ideologies and backward beliefs concerning witches, magic, astrology, ghosts, evolution, immigrants, foreigners, the natural world and religion, has helped create an unaccommodating political culture in modern-America. Almost half of American society now holds some sort of irrational view of the world-at-large. To many, these trends are unacceptable. Indeed, some point to younger generations’ views on such issues. However, a declining belief in God should not be confused with a declining belief in superstitions.
Clearly, humanity is quickly gliding toward total ecological destruction, much of which is a direct result of American Empire, capitalism and militar
If Americans ever hope to reverse their ongoing legacy of never-ending wars and environmental destruction, they must first reject superstitions, myths and ideological fallacies.
Vince Emanuele is a writer, activist and radio journalist who lives in Michigan City, Indiana. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org