Hierarchy

Hierarchy is one of those concepts I see underinformed people bash pretty often.

A politicized hierarchy is bad, not because of the hierarchy, but because of the politics.

Hierarchy is the recognition that some people are better at some things than I am. I learned to make fire with the bow drill from Burnt Spoon because he knew more and had more experience than I did. Larken Rose is better at explaining liberty than I am. To deny those facts, just because I don’t want anyone in the hierarchy “above” me, would be insane and unhelpful.

If an employee doesn’t listen to a supervisor just because he doesn’t want to be “lower” on the hierarchy than the boss, he may mess up. The employee may lose his job. Yes, he might be right, and it might be worth it to defy the boss, but it’s not automatically oppression to defer to someone else who knows more about something than you do. Any legitimate hierarchy is a hierarchy of competence.

But, as with anything else, once you add politics to the mix your hierarchy is probably no longer based on competence, but on power and imaginary “authority“. This kind of hierarchy is illegitimate and you have no obligation to submit to it.

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The Women’s March Stance on Reproductive Rights is All For The Erasure of Fertility, Not For Women

When I think about “women’s rights” and what that means, it isn’t much different than what I think about human rights. The right to life. The right to health, vitality and the opportunity to thrive. The right to happiness, freedom and personal autonomy and sovereignty. The right to resources and information and truth. The right to embodiment and a deeper connection to the universe and self.

Sure, some of that might seem idealistic and super meta, but I don’t aim low. If you know me, you aren’t surprised.

The 2019 Women’s March is coming up in three days and I am seeing women everywhere gearing up to, once again, march and “fight” for their rights (of which I am still confused about those they claim we supposedly don’t have. I am also in disagreement about what constitutes as a “right,” but I digress….).

When I think of many of the tenants of modern feminism, I don’t always hear, “fight for your rights,” so much as I hear, “fight for your right to pick your poison.”

On the Women’s March website under “Unity Principles,” it says the following on reproductive rights:

“We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education.  This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education. We understand that we can only have reproductive justice when reproductive health care is accessible to all people regardless of income, location or education.”

If the women’s march and Planned Parenthood (one of their main sponsors) platform cared about reproductive freedom, then why do they not include anything about the daily occurrence of obstetrical abuse and violence? Or the reality that obstetrics is inherently violent and rooted in slavery at its core?

What about all the women who are harassed and invaded by CPS for choosing to birth their babies freely in the comfort of their own home without being overseen by a figure with a stamp of authority? No mention of birth freedom. Life freedom.

How come it isn’t mentioned that there are still states that midwifery care is illegal, and mostly unaffordable where it is legal? So being for women means we make “care” affordable and accessible to women who don’t want children (contraceptives and abortions), but we don’t include making care affordable and accessible to women who do?

Or even worse, how it is illegal to call oneself a midwife unless the government has granted you the title, meaning government owns the conditions of birth, and if women do not abide by these conditions then they are at risk for being tormented, interrogated and persecuted. Modern day witch hunts, in essence.

What about advocating for women to rest for 2-3 days when they bleed?

It’s because the women’s march, their platform and sponsors don’t actually care about women’s freedom in regard to their health and life giving abilities. They only care about furthering the modern feminist and Planned Parenthood agenda which includes the erasure of fertility, an abandonment of our hormonal matrix that distinguishes us as women, and sterilization. These components are what helps us further advance in joining the ranks of men and a world dominated by men. Modern feminism, AKA be more like men. The workforce and Planned Parenthood don’t really benefit when women stay home from work and opt out of medical care in order to take their care into their own hands.

For what it is worth, I love men and the roles they offer and provide. I just don’t want to be one. I am different, and offer value in other ways as a woman.

The thing is, and what I want women to know is…..

Women already have all the rights they are fighting for. They have them by virtue of their womanhood. They were given the power by nature to control birth or to terminate it if need be (and abortion is often caused by living in a society run by masculine ideals and values, not a solution to it, but I digress again). What I want women to know is that they don’t need to be wasting energy fighting men to feel autonomous over their bodies. We already are, and we have a vast well of resources and knowledge that is available to us that we have been robbed from by growing up in an industrialized, modern society. We don’t need to be marching on Capitol Hill. We need to march on over to the living rooms of our community sisters and relearn the art of DIY healthcare. It’s really not that hard, trust me, I do it. Not only do I do my own healthcare, but I train second year medical students (I know, how ironic. Another post.) how to perform the well-women’s exam and I’ll let you in on a little secret….

If you’re reading this, you could do the damn thing yourself…..

As much as I see myself as a woman who radically cares for the health and well-being and rights of women, I just can’t get behind the modern, liberal feminist movement that feels so rampant today, precisely because I don’t see that it carries similar values as I do. It touts that it does, but I see it all as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The amount of disconnect between women, their bodies and the foundations of true health in the feminist movement is astonishing. I can’t support women demanding their “rights” for pills (that were invented and created by men) that screw up our hormonal health, (which is inextricably connected to everything else), and is responsible for many deaths.

I can’t cry for free access to a healthcare system that is dominated by the ideas of men and predicated on abuse and the perpetuation of chronic disease. A system that persuades women to part with their breasts and womb in the name of profit. I can’t hoot and holler when they make toxic feminine hygiene products “tax free” that wreak havoc on our bodies.

Like I said, the Women’s March platform mentions access to birth control and abortion, but says nothing (zero!) about a woman’s right to a healthy, physiological, sovereign birth and support around that (with the exception of maternal leave). I only see the erasure of fertility within feminism everywhere I look. Plug it up, take a pill, kill it.

I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. How is it not painfully obvious that (wo)man’s abandonment from nature, and now destruction of nature is what got us where we are today? And in a hierarchy where hu(man) thinks he can dominate that which sustains him (nature), it has translated over to women’s bodies, and feminists have taken the bait, and are now demanding free and total access to a world that was never created in support of their biology. I simply don’t resonate with anything that separates women from what makes them women, or attempts to make our unique, biological functions and gifts a burden that we need to abandon ourselves from.

To my mind, things like top-down, big medicine, hormonal contraceptives (or any pharmaceutical drug), and medicated/technocratic abortions are not components that can help “liberate” women, but rather, they only further exploit women. By no means do I see these as solutions to our problems, but rather, some inevitable outcomes to our deeper distresses.

Last year, I discovered a term called Ecofeminism. I can’t believe I had never heard of this before. It’s. So. Me. Sure, it’s just a label, and why the need to label myself? It’s less about the label and more that I know there are women who see the correlation between the oppression of nature and how that has translated into the oppression of women. Women who get that we are nature and trying to ignore and override it is the true “patriarchy.”

Some tenants and ideas of Ecofeminism are:

  • Ecofeminism uses the parallels between the oppression of nature and the oppression of women as a way to highlight the idea that both must be understood in order to properly recognize how they are connected. These parallels include but are not limited to seeing women and nature as property, seeing men as the curators of culture and women as the curators of nature, and how men dominate women and humans dominate nature.
  • One ecofeminist theory is that capitalist values reflect paternalistic and gendered values. In this interpretation effects of capitalism has led to a harmful split between nature and culture. In the 1970s, early ecofeminists discussed that the split can only be healed by the feminine instinct for nurture and holistic knowledge of nature’s processes.
  • Vandana Shiva says that women have a special connection to the environment through their daily interactions and this connection has been ignored. She says that women in subsistence economies who produce “wealth in partnership with nature, have been experts in their own right of holistic and ecological knowledge of nature’s processes”. She makes the point that “these alternative modes of knowing, which are oriented to the social benefits and sustenance needs are not recognized by the capitalist reductionist paradigm, because it fails to perceive the interconnectedness of nature, or the connection of women’s lives, work and knowledge with the creation of wealth (23)”. Shiva blames this failure on the West’s patriarchy, and the patriarchal idea of what development is. According to Shiva, patriarchy has labeled women, nature, and other groups not growing the economy as “unproductive”.
  • In Ecofeminism (1993) authors Vandana Shiva, Maria Mies and Evan Bondi ponder modern science and its acceptance as a universal and value-free system. Instead, they view the dominant stream of modern science as a projection of Western men’s values. The privilege of determining what is considered scientific knowledge has been controlled by men, and for the most part of history restricted to men. Bondi and Miles list examples including the medicalization of childbirth and the industrialization of plant reproduction.

There are many philosophies within ecofeminism, some are even conflicting just as they are within Christianity or modern feminism. I don’t agree with them all, but ecofeminism is the closest thing I have found that can articulate my personal views of feminism and what true health and empowerment for women is.

If being a feminist means I must support women in their choices no matter what, then I am not a feminist. Often times, supporting women “no matter what,” means watching women fall prey to toxic patriarchal exploitation cloaked in “women’s liberation,” and I can’t (and won’t) sit back and swallow one iota of toleration for something I view as doing so much harm. Which doesn’t mean I’ll jump down your throat about it, either, or even bring it up if we don’t have a relationship built on a lot of love and trust.

If being a feminist mean I think women deserve equal treatment, respect, and pay for the same work (they do) as men or any other human being, then of course, I am a feminist, and quite frankly, who isn’t (with the exception of some assholes)?

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The Politician’s Dodge

Nobody asked but …

If you increase a thing recursively (for instance, government bureaucracy), you can make it both larger and more complex.  You can make it so that only its denizens can operate it.  Only bees can operate a hive.  Only bees understand their hierarchy.  There is no effective way for an outsider to influence what is going on.  Remember, a honey gatherer, or even an apiologist, is part of the system — just as lobbyists, rentseekers, and pundits are part of the political system.

Politicians, and their minions (bureaucrats, lobbyists, rentseekers, pundits, and all other saprophytes) are at work 24/7/365 to make the state like the pencil (refer here to Leonard E Read’s I, Pencil).  They are working non-stop to make the state a beehive that only a god could understand.

The principle dodge of the politician is to promise some fundamental change in this kaleidoscopic mess.  She knows that it will be like a rock tossed into a scum-choked pond; the stone will disappear, the ripples will be dampened by the reprehensible top-layer, and the scum will heal itself.  It is as simple as the traditional warning of “don’t try to fight city hall!”

I heard a Senator, this weekend, explaining away a physical attack of an officeholder against a reporter, by reversing field, deflecting the talk to a generic defense of the First Amendment — a rather garbled version, as it turns out.  It is a sickness, but their minds are engaged in the constant design of dodges to avoid the responsibility of serving anybody, but themselves and their patrons, in any way.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Systemic Racism, Hierarchy, & The Age of Outrage (20m) – Editor’s Break 100

Editor’s Break 100 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: the how and why of systemic racism; why anarchists don’t need to oppose hierarchy, instead of just opposing coercive institutions; whether humanity will survive this new so-called “age of outrage”; and more.

Listen to Editor’s Break 100 (20m, mp3, 64kbps)

Subscribe via RSS here, or in any podcast app by searching for “everything voluntary”.

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Warning: Dangerous Cult!

This is a serious warning to all parents about a nefarious and very dangerous cult that has recently been approaching and recruiting innocent but ignorant souls, enticing them into joining a very violent gang—which is really more of a cult than a mere gang. This cult has been responsible for countless murders, acts of terrorism, and many other forms of violence. And the members of the cult have been so brainwashed that they view their violent aggression against innocents as being righteous and noble, because they have been taught that such actions are for the common good, because they serve the religious “vision” of the group’s leaders, which involves coercing everyone else into blind obedience to the agenda and decrees of the leaders of the group, and into compliance with their view of how everyone and everything should be.

Unlike many cults, this cult has had a series of different leaders over the years, but there is always one at the top (always male), and then a second tier of powerful cult members below him. This form of hierarchy allows the overall influence of the group to have a greater reach than one charismatic cult leader alone could have. The cult follows a “cell” system similar to many terrorist organizations, where different factions of the group run their extortion and terror rackets more or less independently in their different areas, each smaller subgroup claiming control over its own turf, while still sometimes working together with other subgroups, and while still receiving instructions from higher up in the cult’s chain of command.

Below the top tiers in the group (those in charge), there is another level which consists of the cult’s brutal thugs who do the actual dirty work of the organization. Those who enforce the will of the leaders are given special status, and are highly revered and respected by the other cult members. As is common in other gangs, when a member of the cult seeks to become part of the enforcer class of the group, he must perform a sort of initiation, where he is sent off on a mission (planned by those at the top), where the “pledge” is sent off to assault, terrorize or even kill complete strangers, in order to demonstrate his unquestioning loyalty to the cult.

All new members of the cult, especially those being groomed to be among the top tiers, are systematically brainwashed, and put through rituals and indoctrination designed to cause both their individuality and their moral consciences to be weakened and eroded over time, until their entire focus—and even their own measure of self worth—is solely about their “service” to the group. And there have been countless examples of truly horrendous acts committed by members of the cult who sought to obtain approval, praise and rewards from the rest of the gang, especially from those at the top.

Unfortunately, this cult is already very widespread, and has been successfully recruiting children, even young children, for many years now. This cult is extremely dangerous, both to the innocent minds being recruited, and to the public at large, and needs to be stopped. But the first step in stopping it is for the decent among us—that means you—to be able to notice and identify the tell-tale signs about whether the cult may be active in your area, and may be preying on your neighbors, even your children. So keep alert and observant, and watch for any suspicious behavior which may be an indication that the cult’s recruiting methods are being employed in your neighborhood. This may include, among other things, the following:

1 – The young recruits are compelled by the group’s leaders to swear undying allegiance to the group, by way of a specific oath which they can often be seen reciting, with their right hands on their chests, as they face the main symbol of the cult, which can often be found adorning the meeting-places, “enforcer” hangouts, and even private residences of the cult members. Sometimes the symbol is displayed quite brazenly, and at other times in more subtle ways.

2 – The enforcers of the cult, whenever they commit their acts of violence, usually wear obvious conformist uniforms which openly display the cult’s symbol. (There are two main types of gang uniforms and gang colors, one being mostly blue and the other often including green camouflage, but both of which almost always include the main symbol of the cult.)

3 – Many of the cult members, even just the general members, truly believe that the acts of violence committed by the enforcers are inherently righteous and praise-worthy, even when they involve murdering innocents. (As those in many terrorist organizations do, the members of this cult may speak of such deaths as unfortunate but necessary, insisting that the overall allegedly noble goal of the group justifies even those actions which kill so many innocents.)

4 – Both the leaders of the cult, and their followers, speak in strange, abstract terms when they talk about the commands and agenda handed down by those at the top, as if they are divinely inspired, inherently righteous commandments, and as if anyone who disobeys such commands deserves whatever violent punishment is inflicted upon them by the group’s enforcers. They call the arbitrary and ever-changing dictates of the cult leaders “the law.”

Be warned that even if you find out that someone you know has been subjected to this cult’s indoctrination and brainwashing, deprogramming the person can be very difficult and time-consuming. They will often get emotional and angry, insisting in the righteousness of the group, and in the necessity and morality of all the types of violence committed by members of the group. They are likely to be very reluctant to admit that they have been duped into believing lies, and duped into cheering for widespread evil. The members of the cult consider themselves to be perfectly sane and reasonable, despite how much nonsensical and self-contradictory mythology the cult requires them to believe, memorize and repeat.

Because they have been subjected to such intense mind control, attempting to reason with them is often a fruitless endeavor, as is appealing to their consciences (precisely because membership in the cult requires them to forsake and abandon their own moral code and individual judgment). When identified, members of the group, particularly those in the enforcer class, should be approached with extreme caution, as many of them will not hesitate to threaten, physically assault, or even kill anyone who is not a member of their cult, and who does not unquestioningly bow to and obey every last decree of the cult’s leaders.

Be sure to educate your friends, neighbors and family members—and especially your children—about the existence of this violent cult, and the very real threat it poses to peaceful society. But also keep in mind that the cult has many millions of members already, probably including a number of people you already know! So remain vigilant, beware of those who are members (who won’t think twice about advocating that the cult use violence against you), and do what you can to expose and defeat this horrendously destructive cult religion, before it victimizes even more people. Always keep an eye out for the cult’s symbol, which looks like this:


P.S. None of the above was inaccurate, nor was it sarcasm. The fact that the cult is so widely accepted that its members can’t recognize it as such does not change the reality of the situation at all. The blind belief in the mythological deity called “government” is the most insane and dangerous superstition to ever plague humanity. If your response to hearing that is to have an emotional, knee-jerk, angry outburst … then the cult recruiters have already gotten to you. Seek help. I would suggest my book, The Most Dangerous Superstition as a possible remedy that has already proven very effective for many former victims of the cult.

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The Church of America

One myth that Americans live by is the separation of church and state. Some like the idea, while others hate it but the irony is that church and state were not separated at the founding of the United States and are not separate now. In fact, they were united in the sense that the state is a church — the Church of America — and you can’t separate a thing from itself. The religion this church administers is not Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, or anything else that comes to mind when most people think the word religion. It’s Americanism, a species of nationalism. Nationalism and religion are cut from the same cloth.

As William Cavanaugh writes in his not-to-be-missed book, The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict:

If it is true … that nationalism exhibits many of the characteristics of religion [and let’s see someone dispute that –SR] — including, most important for our purposes, the ability to organize killing energies — then what we have is not a separation of religion from politics but rather the substitution of the religion of the state for the religion of the church.

As I commented before: “Perhaps we should read the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause — ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion’ — not as a mandated separation of religion and state but as a non-compete clause.” We could rewrite it to say: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of any other religion. To put it another way, other religions may exist, but they may not become rivals of the official religion, Americanism (nationalism).

We see this, as Cavanaugh relates, in a 1940 Supreme Court case, Minersville School District v. Gobitis, in which Jehovah’s Witnesses were, in Cavanaugh’s words, “denied the right to dissent from patriotic rituals” by having their children abstain from pledging allegiance to the flag in school. In his 8-1 majority opinion, Justice Felix Frankfurter seemed to pay homage to freedom of religion as a means to avoid “bitter religious struggles.” But he did not extend this freedom to the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Why not? Because doing so would undermine the “promotion of national cohesion,” Frankfurter wrote. “We are dealing with an interest inferior to none in the hierarchy of legal values. National unity is the basis of national security.” He added, “We live by symbols — the most crucial of which is the flag,” and claimed, “What the school authorities are really asserting is the right to awaken in the child’s mind considerations as to the significance of the flag contrary to those implanted by the parent.” As Cavanaugh summed it up, “The Supreme Court upheld the right to inculcate patriotism over the right to the free exercise of religion.”

In 1943 the Court overturned the case (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette), but, Cavanaugh writes, “Frankfurter had succeeded in introducing the idea that First Amendment decisions could be made against a backdrop of some unspecified history of ‘bitter religious struggles,’ the antidote to which is the enforcement of national unity…. The threat of religious violence would become a recurring trope in subsequent Supreme Court cases involving religion.”

Today you cannot be compelled to pledge allegiance to the flag in school, but if you fail to stand for the national anthem or kneel during it at a football game, the president of the United States might demand your firing and many people will enthusiastically second the motion.

In later Court cases, justices who declared prayer in government schools unconstitutional nevertheless found no problem with some government-sponsored religious invocations. For example, as Cavanaugh reports, Justice Potter Stewart, dissenting in Engel v. Vitale (1962), which declared official prayers in government schools unconstitutional, pointed out that the government has long permitted religious invocations at official proceedings. The Supreme Court itself begins sessions with “God save this honorable Court.” So, Stewart wondered, why not prayer in school?

Justices Arthur Goldberg and John Marshall Harlan II, who were in the majority, responded to Stewart in their concurring opinion by drawing, in Cavanaugh’s words, “a sharp line between patriotic invocations of God and religious ones”:

There is of course nothing in the decision reached here that is inconsistent with the fact that school children and others are officially encouraged to express love for our country by reciting historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence which contain references to the Deity or by singing officially espoused anthems which include the composer’s professions of faith in a Supreme Being, or with the fact that there are many manifestations in our public life of belief in God. Such patriotic or ceremonial occasions bear no true resemblance to the unquestioned religious exercise that the State has sponsored in this instance.

“It is clear [from these words],” Cavanaugh comments, “that what separates religion from what is not religion is not the invocation of God. God may be invoked in public ceremonies without such ceremonies thereby becoming religious exercises, provided such ceremonies express ‘love for our country.’ Separating religion from nonreligion in this case depends not on the presence or absence of expressions of faith in God, but on the presence or absence of expressions of faith in the United States of America. God without America can be divisive; God with America unifies us all.”

In other words, theistic religion in the service of and subordinate to the secular religion, i.e., nationalism, is okay. But theistic religion had better know its place or else.

If you need more evidence that nationalism and religion are cut from the same cloth, consider the presidential State of the Union address. This annual rite signifies something more than merely the chief executive’s compliance with the Constitution’s instruction to “give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

It’s also more than a rally for the particular politician holding the office. It is that, of course, with each White House occupant cherry-picking good news about, say, the economy — whether he deserves credit or not  — and delivering a long list of objectives for the next year(s), most of which will be promptly forgotten.

No, it’s more than these things. The State of the Union affair is a religious ritual intended to convey to the public the majesty of the state and the awesomeness of the presidency, if not the president, as well as the Congress. I like how Kevin Williamson put it in National Review during Obama’s reign:

The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.

This is all true, but it doesn’t fully capture the religious aspect. The State of the Union affair goes along with the many other secular rituals — the pledge of allegiance; the rules for handling the flag, the national anthem at sporting events with its required decorum; the reverence for military might, the national holy days, er, holidays — not to mention the dogma and catechism (America is the exceptional, indispensable nation; America is a force for good in the world; America is the world’s last best hope; America and its president are the leaders of the free world), all calculated to awe the citizenry, lest the people remind themselves that those who rule them — for deep down they know they do not rule themselves — are a bunch of mediocrities, posers, and usurpers — misleaders, misrepresentatives, and public self-servants, as I call them. Even if they dislike the particular person who holds the presidency at the moment, their reverence for the church-state and its offices persists. Members of the opposition party used to say about a given president, “I don’t like the man but I respect the office.” I think most people feel that way. So we shouldn’t let the Democrats’ cool reception of Donald Trump the other night distract us.

The keepers of the Official View have a vested interest in denying the commonality between religion and nationalism. In that view, religion is potentially divisive and prone to inspire violence (a distorted take on history is offered as evidence; see Cavanaugh), while in contrast, nationalism and the nation-state are unifying and peace-inducing. Thus, Cavanaugh writes,

In public, our identities as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unitarians and Catholics and atheists no longer take precedence. We are all Americans, and devotional exercises meant to instill love of our country are unitive, not divisive. Such exercises, however, are not religion. Patriotism, in this world view, is defined over against public religion….

Religion belongs to the private realm of opinion; patriotism belongs to the public realm of fact. Dissenters from religious orthodoxy must be protected from religion; dissenters from patriotic orthodoxy may be tolerated but not allowed to interfere with the inculcation of the fervent love of country.

Thus is the game rigged in the service of power to the prejudice of liberty. I agree that religion has the potential to sow civil strife and violence, but that necessarily includes nationalism too. So if we value liberty and social cooperation we’ll have to figure out how to deprive all religions of government power. One sure way would be to abolish the state.

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