Before I begin let me state up front that I am perfectly aware my knowledge of South American politics is about as ignorant as a pet rock. Notice that my acknowledgement of this does not change what I’m about to say; at least not to the best of my knowledge, which is, as I say all the time, pretty limited. The following is not gonna be perfect. I know this. You should know I know this. You should also know that I don’t care. Okay. Great. Let’s plow forward, shall we?
Hugo Chávez missed his own inauguration ceremony for his fourth term as President For Life of the Venezuelan people, but that’s okay cuz he’s been to the first three and so he’s not missing anything. Viva Chávez. Viva freedom and prosperity and chivalry and all things good and wholesome and fuzzy. Viva kumquats and rutabagas and other random words that mean absolutely nothing of any significance but might be funny in this context. Hugo Chávez is currently in a position where anything said about him is like kicking a man when he’s down, and I understand he’s in a need to have people coming to his defense at this time. His newly minted vice president and designated successor, Nicolás Maduro said, “I swear by the Bolivarian Consitution that I will defend the presidency of commander Chávez in the street, with reason, with the truth!” Maduro went on to explain after a fashion that Chávez is at war; with cancer. Hugo Chávez is busy at the moment. Please leave your name, your number, the reason why you called and the time you called after the beep, along with your own personal pledge to defend Chávez’ presidency in the street, with reason, with the truth.
I don’t see how alleged “secularists” among humanity can use words like “reason” and “truth” with a straight face, when these words have been usurped and abused by Believers to mean whatever the hell they feel reason and truth should be. Here in the United States, the National Rifle Association has gone on record claiming they are not “affiliated” with gun manufacturers, and want reasonable people to accept their truth that the NRA supports gun owners and not the people selling the guns. the NRA either doesn’t know what the word “affiliated” means, or they think reasonable people are stupid enough to not look the word up in a dictionary if they themselves get confused over what “affiliated” is supposed to mean, after listening to the NRA’s laughable displays of “reason” and “truth.”
What is truth? How many truths are there? Apparently, there’s as many truths in the world as there are people who claim to know what the truth is and none of these bastards seem to be able to agree on what truth is. So if you have a truth and I have a truth and that guy over there has a truth and we all have our own truths, how the hell are we supposed to decide which person’s truth gets to be THE truth? We don’t, any more than anyone should get to decide which people get to buy guns and which people get to not buy guns or even touch guns cuz your truth might involve amassing an army of guerrilla fighters cuz you think the American government’s gonna take away all your guns and how dare they do that you’re a respectable reasonable person with truth on your side so you’ll show them that’s the wrong answer by shooting people in the face therefore proving just why crazy shitheads like you should never have had a gun in your hands in the first place. What is truth? There is no truth. There are no real truths. However, if you have enough firepower, you can live in an illusion that yours is the only real truth cuz you can just silence any opposing truths and therefore pretend they never existed.
The truth is Hugo Chávez is dying of cancer. The truth is this man who has used his fair share of diplomacy and violence to get where he is today is now dealing with an enemy that doesn’t give a shit how many bullets you got. He has been dying of cancer for awhile now. Chávez has publicly pronounced himself cured of cancer, but he’s in the hospital again anyway. Funny how Believers claim stuff that they can’t prove.
Now the reasonable thing to do would be to let the people of Venezuela vote for someone who does more than claim to represent ALL the Venezuelan people. Yet, his “loyal opposition” is a metaphorical impotent pony dragging a cart of carcasses behind it. They can’t seem to convince the Venezuelan people that water is wet, much less that they’re a better choice for running the country than a man dying of cancer. Furthermore, the rest of the world outside Venezuela is led to believe by a remarkable spin doctoring campaign that Venezuela’s people ALL love Hugo Chávez without a single dissenting voice and they all each and every one of the millions of Venezuelan citizens swear by the Bolivarian Constitution they will defend the presidency of commander Chávez in the street; with “reason” and with “truth.”
There are some who feel their bible is the one and only absolute truth. However, which bible? Christians believe in the New Testament, and acknowledge the Old Testament used to be true but is no longer. Many practicing Jews today still believe the Tanak or Old Testament is the only true word of their god, and that the Christians and Muslims are wrong about their bibles. Islam uses the Quran, which contains many stories from the Old Testament, acknowledges Jesus of Nazareth as a prophet like Moses, but contradicts the assumption that Jesus was the son of a god. These are all Abrahamic works of scripture. They all claim to be inerrant words from the same Abrahamic god. How can this be? Even if one of them IS the word of God, the others cannot be, because they contradict each other.
And when one investigates these works further, the words often contradict other words inside the same testament. The bible contradicts itself many times, as does the Quran and as does the Tanak. So these can’t be inerrant words from a perfect omnipotent being, because they are flawed. Now, Believers will tell you that’s because WE are flawed, and fall short of their god’s glory. We can’t understand how perfect and inerrant these works are, because we ourselves are flawed and so we only see flaws in these works. That’s their “truth” which is really a form of madness called Denial.
However, they want to believe their truth so much, they will satisfy themselves with this simplified explanation rather than accept the sloppier but more honest truth of actual reality. A Believer trying to convert you to their faith will spin you around in circles with how complex actual reality is, and then grab you by the shoulders and go, “do you want to live with such uncertainty and lack of balance? Wouldn’t you rather just accept MY god’s grace that you have been forgiven and don’t have to worry? My father has set a place for you at his table, and you can spend eternity with me and him in paradise. Wouldn’t you rather have that?” It’s seductive to be sure, but it’s not truth. It just causes you to stop asking the questions and seeking truth. You just fill in the gaps of your knowledge with this artificial knowledge that another man’s imaginary friend, which he can’t prove exists, will take care of everything for you.
The real “truth” (if ‘truth’ is even the proper word for it) is far more complicated. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t look snazzy on a T-shirt or waving above people’s heads as a banner during compulsory public demonstrations of love and support. The “truth” is certainly not marketable or easy to describe in fifty words or less as a sound byte for some public media outlet to relay to the rest of humanity. Those in Venezuela who support madness like this believe in a Hugo Chávez that is more than human. They believe in a Hugo Chávez that is greater than the power hungry brain trapped in a cancer ridden body somewhere in a Cuban hospital.
“We are all Chávez!” chants tens of thousands of Venezuelans. Just as many Christians consider their congregation “the Body of Christ” and each body is a temple to their god. Just as many Muslims name their children Muhammad, so too I’m sure there’s plenty of Hugos running around Venezuela right now. Some of them just kids and some of them old enough to vote by now, for themselves! For we are ALL Chávez! Even though the more you say that the less it means anything of any significance whatsoever. Pick up something near you and declare it is also Hugo Chávez! Everyone and every thing in sight! We declare all matter and energy in the universe to be Hugo Chávez and it always has been and it always will be and so what if scientists and self-styled reasonable people claim that’s impossible and absurd! Screw them! WE KNOW THE TRUTH FOR HUGO CHáVEZ SAYS IT’S TRUE AND HOW DO WE KNOW THIS? WE SAID IT! AND WE WERE THERE WHEN WE SAID IT! SO IT MUST BE TRUE! WE ARE ALL CHAVEZ! Chávez can’t possibly die of cancer, if he’s the entire freaking universe.
Violent extremists of any stripe of faith, believe themselves to be instruments of their heavenly leader. What they do is the will of their god. How do they know this? Simple. If something happens, it’s their god’s will that it happened. Otherwise, it would not have happened. If they fail at something, they have fallen short of their god’s will and must try again until they succeed. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. You blame failure on the flesh. However, once they succeed, their god always meant for them to succeed. In hindsight they may even pretend that was effortless, it was like their god led them there on the wings of angels.
So a Believer can get away with pretty much anything under this mindset. They can just do what they unconsciously want so long as they consciously acknowledge it was their god’s idea in the first place. Their god told them to do that. They heard him inside their mind. That couldn’t possibly be them talking to themselves. That’s crazy, and they can’t be crazy, cuz their god told them they weren’t crazy. Can’t you hear him? What’s wrong with you?? A Believer can do what they want so long as they believe it’s their god’s work they are doing, and when they are done they will point out their god meant for them to do that. Had he not wanted it to happen, god woulda stopped them.
Revelation 6:8 reads, “I looked, and there before me stood a pale horse! Its rider was Death, and Hades followed close behind. They were given power over a full quarter of the earth to kill by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts of the world.” You want this to come to pass? You want this god? This future? This fate? This faith? This truth? Or perhaps you have some other truth. Just as bewildering. Pretty for your friends but frightful for your enemies. Your own faith, which is your own truth. I don’t care if your god’s name is Elohim, Allah, Odin, Stalin, Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez. The principle is the same: if you believe your faith equals truth, you are living a lie and you are a danger to humanity.
Yep. That joke is still fucking hilarious.