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Fear and Loathing
Or Happy New Year

December 31, 2017
by William P. Meyers

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Just a ramble about religion, politics, and loathing

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1972 book (perhaps a novel) by Hunter S. Thompson. It is mainly about overusing drugs. Less well remembered is Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, a collection of non-fiction articles on the 1972 Presidential campaign, also by Thompson, published in 1973. I appear as an anonymous, supporting cast member, in a crowd, in that book. I was seventeen, and the candidates from that era, Edmund Muskie and George Wallace, and the Democratic Party nominee, George McGovern, are all dead now. But at the time, the contest seemed exciting. McGovern won the Democratic nomination, but Richard Nixon became President.

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind."

So what to expect in 2018? Aside from global warming, one of the more immediate disturbing trends is the continued rise of religious sectarianism and nationalism. In Pakistan, once a beacon of hope for modernism in Asia, it has become dangerous to belong to the wrong Islamic sect. Even being in a Sunni sect is not deemed sufficient by the most powerful sects.

Indonesia is going the same way. Islamic radicals are calling the shots, jailing prominent people for not being sufficiently careful in their use of words about the Prophet Mohammed. But it is not just Islam going to extremes. In Myanmar Buddhists are Behaving Badly. In Poland nationalist Roman Catholics are on a rampage. In India Hindus are murdering followers of Islam. And in the United States, of course, politicians continue to whip up right-wing Christians.

On the other hand, religious intolerance could partly be a response to religious weakness. The nut cases see people not taking them seriously, and it makes them mad. Television and internet are allowing people to see that there is a world beyond their parents' cult.

People forget (or younger people never knew) that World War II, perhaps the greatest human tragedy in history, was largely a religious war. Hitler and Mussolini were both Roman Catholic. Hitler had many enemies, but his main enemy was atheistic communism. Hence the greatest number of deaths in his war occurred on the Eastern Front, where Stalin's atheist soldiers turned back Hitler's Christian tide, dying by the millions in the process. Hopefully we are not headed towards something that bad.

Meanwhile the earth is being eaten up by humans, atheists, modern tolerant people, and religious conservatives alike.

I hope the Republican Party gets its ass kicked in the 2018 congressional elections, but would not predict that at this point.

I hope, if the Democrats do come to power, they restore women's right to refuse to be baby machines. That is about the best I can hope for at this point.

Have a good personal 2018.







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