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The Real Seven Deadly Sins

As I study the literature and journalism of the last several centuries, I am forced to conclude that many of our difficulties are a result of flawed thinking processes that I characterize as “The Real Seven Deadly Sins.” It would seem that getting a handle on these fundamental flaws would reduce deadly conflict in the world and save many lives. I classify them (loosely) as ideologies. These belief systems reinforce one another resulting in a tangled web of misconception at the expense of each human individual.

Reism: The belief that human beings are merely things; objects to be used, and manipulated; capable of becoming property.

Categorism: Belief in a process of inventing groupings for humans, assigning individuals to membership in such arbitrary groupings, and ranking individuals according to the putative attributes of the groups.

Ethnocentrism: Belief that a particular ethnic group is superior to all others. Not the same as relishing the beauty and diversity of human culture, but rather myopically valorizing only one culture and devaluing all others.

Chauvinism: Belief that a particular political unit is superior to all others and worthy of absolute loyalty. Especially since the invention of the “nation-state,” chauvinism has provided a foundation for organized injustice.

Capitalism: Belief that those who control capital should determine the distribution of all the wealth and power in a society. Capitalism has replaced feudalism as the justification for subordinating large groups of producers to small groups of exploiters.

Imperialism: Belief that it is right to impose the system and values of one group upon another based upon synergistic application of all of the sins and upon the abuse of differential power.

Monotheism: Belief that there is one and only one supreme supernatural being, based upon tales originally contrived to control the behavior of children and institutionalize the subordination of compliant adults.

Monotheism provides arguments to support the contention that those who hold the correct view of the supernatural have the right, even the duty, to impose their own political, economic, and social systems upon everyone; the right and duty to accumulate wealth and power at the expense of everyone else; the right and duty to glorify their own political aggregations as superior to all others; the right and duty to treat their own culture as the very best, and to suppress all others; the right and duty to believe that the categories they have invented are real and must be acknowledged by everyone. All these beliefs are supported by the sure knowledge that other humans, indeed all aspects of creation, are little more than tools put at the disposal of the believers by the god they forgot they made up and have come to believe actually created, and will soon destroy, the universe. The inevitable consequence of monotheism is and always has been genocide. Never have so many given so much for so few.

> John Marvin, Cheektowaga

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