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Capitalism is Our New Religion

As the Christmas season rapidly encroaches again this year, I decided to wonder if the annual Christianity festival rejoicing the birth of Jesus Christ has much relevance today, or whether it has now been completely hijacked by corporate elites to peddle their useless tat to the masses.

Christmas has now become synonymous with giant inflatable illuminated Santas and their whole entourage of prancing reindeer adorning people’s houses, sucking the national grid dry for an entire month, and the irritating warbling from Noddy Holder blasting from every public place, unrelenting, every year, forever.

It’s a perverted version of the sirens myth, but instead the prize is half-price toasters and glow-in-the-dark golf clubs.

What would Jesus make of today’s consumer-driven society, where the acquisition and consumption of material goods is celebrated more so than the ideologies that Christmas was founded upon?

I, for one, think he would be pretty disgusted and sorrowful at the way we accumulate possessions to measure our wealth and well-being.

Something has gone fundamentally wrong with our values and culture, when we are blindsided by our greed and fail to notice our brothers and sisters of humanity are languishing in poverty, often in our same neighborhoods.

These numbers are staggering in their abhorrence. According to the UN’s Human Development Report, some 3 billion worldwide live below the poverty line and in 80% of countries, the gap between the rich and poor is widening further. This means the problem, on the current trajectory, is only going to get worse.

Sure, you might say, they’re poor because they deserve it, because they are lazy or that’s the hand they’ve been dealt and that’s just the way things are. It’s not our concern, it’s the government’s responsibility or charities to help these people. Nothing to do with us. There’s nothing we can do.

But is that really the society we want to be a part of? A cold-hearted, cynical society where looking out for yourself and your family is the only concern, often at the detriment of others?

Of course, we think this is right. It’s about the survival of the fittest anyway. Or so we are led to believe. Have you ever felt that these values and ideologies are somewhat off-kilter with what you think should be right? I know I have.

Shadowy men with shadowy agendas, secret pacts and secret handshakes, deceitful whispers in the dark. Hate-filled men. Jealous, greedy, clutching their bony, lecherous hands at the strings, maneuvering their destructive will. We have been fooled by these people. People with power. People that control our lives, dominate our existence. Shackle us, when we were meant to be free.

All the pain and suffering in the world because we have chosen the wrong path, chosen the wrong values to reward and aspire to, and, ultimately, chosen the wrong people to follow and revere.

We have instead blindly adopted Capitalism as our new religion. The all-consuming, wealth-aspiring, tried-and-tested and rigorously accepted model has become the new Bible.

It is the holy book of the bankers, the holy scripture of the businessmen, the regressive and enslaving dogma of the corrupted politicians.

The profits have become our new prophets, leading us to capitalist heaven, where the titans of the elite reign over the masses and we worship them like Gods.

It is not our natural human behavior to be so callous and greedy. Children have an innate desire to share, not to take more and more and more. Greed is something we are taught by society.

It is the capitalist system that these beliefs are fundamentally built upon and are interwoven within its structural framework. It is through indoctrination of the young and misinformation from the powers that be — which keep us locked into their vicious and destructive game — for one purpose: to empower themselves and exploit the rest.

To quote Benjamin Disraeli:

“Power has only one duty — to secure the social welfare of the people.”

Any form of power should be scrutinized and justified on its merit pertaining to that rule. If it contravenes that rule, it should be simply discarded.

When John Lennon imagined a world without war and famine and universally orientated towards peace, was it wishful pie-in-the-sky thinking?

Look at what mankind has achieved in the past 100 years. Do you really think we couldn’t stop poverty and wars if we wanted to? If the collective will is great enough, then there is nothing to stop us. It is our actions and beliefs that create our own reality, be that individually or collectively.

We all have the power to alter our reality into one that is a force for good, fairness and unity with fellow men, not one that is concerned with personal fulfillment, self-gratification and “success” at any cost.

All is not lost. Nothing is written in stone. We can change the path. We can choose a different way.

“We create our fate every day we live”. Henry Miller

By Michael Martin,