This is well-written and those critics of totalitarianism are certainly admirable figures.

I agree that it’s wise to be humble, and although I think the Christian notion of “original sin” is tainted by that religion’s history, I agree with the existential philosophers who make a similar point about the need to reckon with life’s absurdity and with the world’s inhumanity which seeps into our nature. Enlightenment is the state of periodically rising above that fundamental monstrousness, that natural indifference and amorality, based on a creative, idealistic vision of an anti-natural alternative, namely of the artificial world we’ve been engaged in building since the dawn of civilization.

Tribalism is part of that natural default, as is totalitarianism, the cultish intensification of an animal dominance hierarchy. Most people long to surrender their freedom and worship an authority figure, and certain monstrous (sociopathic) parasites and predators exploit that longing and acquire godlike power over others. That’s what Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and Trump did.

Trump’s nowhere near as competent or as young as they were; Trump was empowered too late in his life to dominate. Nevertheless, he’s obviously turned the Republican Party into a cult of personality, although it’s been on that road since Senator McCarthy’s purges, Reagan’s oversimplifications, the advent of Fox News, Gingrich’s reconstruction of Congress in the 1990s, George W. Bush’s and Sarah Palin’s anti-intellectualism, etc.

I agree that in recognizing the demonic qualities of the “children of darkness,” we should be humble enough to realize that we’re liable to acquire those same qualities. Power corrupts anyone who has it for too long.

My problem is that Christianity disgusts rather than humbles me. What humbles me is philosophy. With philosophy I recognize our common existential predicament.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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