Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Religion, government, and what Freud would think

I am pretty sure that there is a relationship between someone's view on government (to the extent that one actually has a view on government) and their view on religion (same qualifier as above).

Freud has a view that if one has a psychological problem, and one tries to fix the symptoms, the problem will just manifest itself some other way. So if someone for example develops a nose-picking problem in response to some childhood trauma involving their nose, and they are cured of their nose picking without proper analysis, then the problem will just come back, but probably in a different form, say in scratching their hair too much.

For Freud, God is merely the solution to a psychological need. We need a big powerful father who can solve all of our problems. When we realize that our real father is really not as big and powerful as we initially believed in our formative years, we need to replace him with something else. Preferably this time, with someone omnipotent, and infallible. So our mind transfers the object of our need from our father, to our God. Our father's strength was the symptom manifested to the problem of our need for that kind of security. When that does not work well, we develop another symptom, namely religion. It just replaces the first.

So far this is straight out of Freud.

I think this can be extended. Imagine someone goes through college and realizes that there is no God. So now, Freud would predict, that one will attempt to replace this with something that will satisfy the same need. We can look around and see if there is such a thing. Well, what is big, and demands lots of sacrifice, and appears omnipotent, and to a large extent omniscient, and in theory omnibenevolent? Big government, of course. People who have tended to loose a lot of what religion gave them tend to want to believe in the ever good powers of big government. In America we call these people democrats.

Democrats are those who are politically aware and have a need for big governments. They need government to solve all their problems for them. They want the government to feel, shelter, clothe, and educate them. (Sound familiar so far?) They believe in a solution to most problems existing in government hands. They think that giving more taxes (read sacrifices) to the government will make things better.

Republicans tend to not need this because they already have a God that can do all this stuff. Why have a second God?

Democrats are just another type of religious phenomenon, equally without legitimacy. They are not more enlightened for giving up God. They have simply shifted the problem.

What Freud would probably want us to realize is that we have this dependence on something greater than ourselves. It is only this way that we can give up that need that we feel. That need is just a neurosis which, like religion, we need to rid ourselves of.

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