How many truths are there that you don't want to know? If your spouse was killing and eating your neighbors, would you want to know? If your hero turned out to be a liar and a crook, would you want to know? Worse yet, if your God turned out to be some story made up by a drunk, would you want to know? Would you want to know, if you had accidentally spent your whole life cheering for the bad guys? How scary and disturbing would a truth have to be before you would prefer to not know it?
In the movie, "The Matrix," the choice the main character is given is basically: take the red pill, and learn the whole truth, or take the blue pill, and continue believing the relatively comfortable, familiar lie. Which would you take? And are you sure about that?
Open any history book, and you'll find example after example of people, individually or in groups, enthusiastically doing destructive things. And in most cases, they did those things with a feeling of pride and righteousness, convinced that they were on the right side, doing the right thing, fighting for truth and justice. If you could freeze time, pause any war during the heat of battle, and pick a soldier from either side, he would probably tell you, with complete confidence and sincerity, that he was in the right, that his cause was just, that his actions were noble, and that his enemy was evil. And if you asked someone on the other side of the battlefield, he would say the exact same thing.
And the harder someone has fought, the more he has risked, the less he will want to consider the possibility that he's doing something pointless, or even counter-productive. Not many people are open to the suggestion that they are "the bad guys." And that is one of the main reasons people fear the "Red Pill": because it might show them that what they have always believed in, what they have worked so hard for, what they have devoted their lives to, is useless, or even destructive.
Nobody wants to hear that. I don't, and neither do you. And that brings us back to the crucial question: are you willing to know the truth, if it might completely demolish your view of reality, your belief system--if it might prove that your efforts and actions, which were driven by the best of intentions, have been working against truth and justice?
Anyone who knows even a little about tyrants knows that they specialize in exploiting the virtues of the people, using their nobility to trick them into serving tyranny and oppression. Due to the deceptions of megalomaniacs, most of the common folk who have done the dirty work of history's tyrants felt righteous while doing so. No one wants to consider the possibility that he has been had, that he has inadvertently been helping tyrants and thieves. But most people have been. In fact, even most pro-freedom advocates still are.
My point here is two-fold:
1) When you look out at the jackboots, bureaucrats, and other mercenaries of the monster called "government," keep in mind that most of them imagine themselves to be the good guys. They have been duped into believing that what they do is good, and necessary for society and civilization. Their beliefs and perceptions have been intentionally distorted, so that their virtue is converted into a source of power for evil control freaks.
2) The same is probably true of you. Yes, even if you consider yourself an ardent advocate of individual liberty, you are probably doing things which are working directly against your stated goals. You are probably inadvertently assisting in the enslavement of mankind.
Now the question is this: Would you want to know why someone would claim such a thing? Or do you just want an easy excuse for why you don't need to listen to such a claim? If I tell you that you are hurting humanity and assisting tyranny (while trying to do the exact opposite), would you even want to know if I'm right about that?
Each of us is constantly given the uncomfortable choice between zealously defending whatever he already believes, and considering the possibility that some of what he now believes might be false. The latter is a lot less comfortable and fun than the former. Unfortunately, the latter is also the only thing that has ever moved humanity forward. Basically, all of human progress has come from those few people who dared to reconsider things they had always taken for granted.
Well, if you've been campaigning, voting, writing your congressman, petitioning the system for justice, trying to elect decent people into public office, trying to get government back to what the Constitution describes, or otherwise trying to be politically involved to improve this country, then I am glad to see that you are concerned, and I highly commend your willingness to act.
But you are helping the tyrants. You are giving them power. You are helping to destroy freedom.
I assume you're not trying to do those things, but the laws of cause and effect don't care what you are trying to do. (By analogy, in the past few days, here in eastern Pennsylvania, I've seen lots and lots of people trying to drive on the road ... and ending up in ditches and snowbanks instead.) I don't fault your motives, but I do suggest that your misunderstanding of something is taking your good intentions and turning them into fuel for oppression.
Here's where I should say, "So buy my new book." But that sounds more than a little manipulative. So, at the risk of shooting myself in the foot, I'm going to make this offer, to the first twenty people who send me an e-mail saying they'll take me up on it. Here's how it goes:
1) You give me an address to send to, I'll send you a copy of my new book, "The Most Dangerous Superstition," and you promise to read the whole thing. (It's only about 200 pages long.)
2) If it changes the way you see things--in other words, if you agree that to some extent it changed your perceptions and your actions--then you can send me $10 for the book.
3) If after reading it you can tell me that your perceptions and behaviors were already just fine before reading it, then you send it back without paying for it. (Mailing it back to me via "media mail" would be a whopping $2.38.) Heck, if you whine enough, I'll even send you $2.38 to cover the return postage.
4) To make it more fun, when those twenty people get back to me, I'll publicize (without including names) the outcome--how many had their minds changed and how many didn't. Then I might do it again with another twenty. Heck, it could become a fun ongoing game.
So who dares accept the challenge? If you do, send an e-mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org."
(If you don't make the first twenty, or if you just want to order the book the normal way, you can do it by clicking here.)