Karl Marx famously stated that “religion is the opiate of the people“, claiming that the ruling elite used religion to subdue the proletariat into accepting their place in society, in the mines and in the factories, by convincing them that God had ordained their lot in life.
If they did not upset the social order, they, the meek, would inherit the Earth in the afterlife. If they resisted, they would be punished with eternal damnation for questioning the will of God. Countless suffered and died under this theocracy, waiting for a salvation that never came.
Marx was right in many of his sociological observations, but he missed that any aspirational and transcendent ideology could be used in such a manner. His own ideology would be hijacked, and millions more would die, struggling in vain for a communist utopia that also never came to pass.
Today, we see how secessionism has become the new opiate of the Scottish people. How they too endure horrifying conditions and social injustice and how those who dare to question the theocracy are set upon as heretics. The independence movement is both theocracy and cult. Like all cults, predictions of judgement day are made, and then pass. Yet, the faithful continue to believe in their leaders when they predict yet another doomsday. Reality never gets in the way,
And as with all cults, adherence swells in times of great uncertainty, like the ones we are in now.
What brought home to me that the Nationalist movement is functionally little more than a new religion was this tweet.
It promises everything from a better NHS to a Scottish pound that is stronger than the Pound Sterling, cheaper food and fuel, and a more tolerant society.
All promises made by people who cannot guarantee them and who, frankly, have no interest in delivering them. They only need people to believe them.
These promises, shared by the faithful, serve only to indoctrinate believers and are products of the same arrogant cynicism and blind fundamentalism that the priests and kings of old once peddled to the suffering serfs and plagued peasants.
They had no control over them, and no need for them, after death. They only used such narratives to dupe and control them while they were alive and toiling.
These memes, like the countless graphs, arguments and images pushed by true believers to us unbelievers, remind me of another exercise in mass collective dissonance: Scientific Creationism, sometimes known as Intelligent Design, a pseudo-science that some high-profile adherents of the new Scottish theocracy also believe in.
The study of Scientific Creationism, with its academic journals, lecturers, university courses, textbooks and even museums, is all aimed at proving something that the scientific consensus has long since abandoned as patently wrong. No, Adam and Eve did not have a pet dinosaur.
This unscientific community publishes endless material, demands that “missing links” are filled, asks their opponents to prove negatives, disavows presented facts as biased or fabricated and, above all, constructs their investigative paradigm around faith rather than evidence. They aim to strengthen the opiate of the people.
Debates surrounding Scottish secession have that same level of cognitive dissonance and rejection of fact. The Separatist faithful also publish endless supposed “truths” and faith-led propaganda. And it’s just as bunk.
They have pinned all that they are, their very identity, to the causes of secession and must, therefore try and convince us to join their cause. Rather than face reality, they create the facts to suit the utopia they desire. A utopia that, I hope for their sake, they know cannot be real.
A prime example is the so-called “GERS deniers”, who deny the Scottish government’s own financial reporting and seek to dismiss its veracity. It doesn’t matter that these figures are compiled by the Scottish Government and acknowledged by Nicola Sturgeon and her finance ministers as correct — the facts don’t suit their narrative and must be denied, dismissed and denounced.
Secession has become the newly established religion of Scotland. The great thinkers that were once the pride of Scotland have been abandoned in favour of flawed reasoning, false equivalence and stringent orthodoxy.
When I see their memes, graphs and slogans, I cannot but think of those who try to tell me that the Earth is only 6000 years old. As our population, and our future, suffer the delusions of these new Scottish Creationists, and are sedated by the opiate of secessionism, I finally understand the frustration which Marx must have felt.
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