Why I’m Losing Faith in the Human Race

The Guardian recently reported on a speech in which a senior Iranian cleric blamed “women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously” for earthquakes.

If that sort of crazy were a feature only of theocratic or third-world countries, we might chuckle and ignore it. Unfortunately, however, the amount of lunacy right here at home suggests a wider problem.

A few examples:

A conspiracy theorist named Larry Klaymon insists that the fertilizer factory explosion in West, Texas, was an act of Islamic terrorism, and that the government under Obama (“the Other”) is engaged in a wide-ranging cover-up.

Speaking of Obama, in the wake of his re-election, Matt Barber of the Liberty Counsel explained that that the election result was a “communist takeover” of the United States, and that the IRS will start throwing pastors in jail, invading churches and shooting parishioners.

Then there was the Republican candidate for the Arkansas legislature who wrote a book about the proper biblical approach to child-rearing. And I quote:

“The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellioius children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21:

This passage does not give parents blanket authority to kill their children. They must follow the proper procedure in order to have the death penalty executed against their children.”

Well, yes, I think procedural safeguards before killing one’s children as God decreed are probably appropriate…

Just this month, in the year 2013, the Missouri legislature voted to ban a sustainability program because sustainability is part of the nefarious plot that is Agenda 21!

The Missouri House of Representatives on Monday passed a ban on the United Nations sustainability plan Agenda 21 after a spirited discussion of space aliens and how Walmart could avoid zoning laws to build more stores.

The Republican-controlled House voted 110-40 to ban local governments from adopting the Agenda 21, a broad outline of planning goals and sustainability targets. Agenda 21 was passed by the U.N. in 1992, but has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate and does not contain the force of law in the U.S.

Agenda 21 opponents argue the U.N. document would seize private property and force people to live in walkable communities with a potential end to golf and scuba diving.

Your elected representatives at work, protecting your nine-iron….

I assume psychiatrists have theories to explain what seems to be a vastly increased prevalence of paranoia, hysteria and irrationality. Or perhaps there has always been a significant percentage of lunatics in our population, and the Internet has simply brought them to our attention–although I don’t recall a time when we have had so many elected officials who either inhabit an alternate reality or keep going off their meds.

How do you talk to someone who thinks short skirts cause earthquakes? How do you get lawmakers who actually believe that President Obama is a covert Muslim Communist and the Anti-Christ to focus on solving the nation’s problems? How do you get people who think Adam and Eve saddled up dinosaurs to understand climate change? How do you get lawmakers who think women’s bodies can “shut down” rapist sperm to respect women’s right to equality and autonomy?

More important: how do we get the sane folks who have thrown up their hands and withdrawn from the political process to wake up and reclaim the country?