Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Doing the Right Thing - Mithraism

A blogger made a good comment yesterday in the comment section of yesterday's post titled Isolationism - What Is It To Mean?, because the commenter was thinking that I could be "underestimating" the conservative hard right, and was kind enough to share that concern:
I think you underestimate the conservative hard right. They'll support war with their dying breath and blame any ill-effects elsewhere."
A bit surprised, but interested, I replied:
That is not something I would expect many people who read Dredd Blog to conclude.

"Underestimate" is a meaningless word in this context.

I really do give them full "credit" for their madness almost everyday in almost every post.

Diagnosing a disease is not a matter of degree that has to do with overestimating or underestimating, it is a matter of simple recognition.

Recently I gave them full credit for having the ideology that is bringing on the extinction of the human species.

I also pointed out that they glory in the inglorious addiction to war and oil as pointed out in recent Dredd Blog posts.
(ibid). The interesting part (for today's post anyway) is that I had studied Mithras along with its meme-complex (Mithraism) some time back, so since the commenter disaffected had made a good point about the right wing political faction's way of thinking, I could not avoid the link in my mind to Mithraism.

In the excitement of commenting I goofed up and wrote way too much, which generated a "error more than 4096 characters" in my message. When I tried to break it up into segments, I goofed even more from there, eventually having to remove my scribblings because some of them were duplicate sections mixed together out of order.

But the beat goes on, so back to the story.

People like to compare empires to other and older empires of history.

For example, some writers have been comparing the declining empire of the United States to the Roman Empire of old.

Mithraism was a well known religion of the Roman Empire, just prior to its final demise:
Mithraism ... was a mystery religion centered on the god Mithras, [which] became popular among the military in the Roman Empire, from the 1st to 4th centuries AD.
(Wikipedia, emphasis added). There is general agreement about that part of the history, the fact of Mithraism being a religion of soldiers and their commanders.

Then another commenter, on the Dredd Blog post we were talking about, went on to comment:
There is lots of debate on the origins of Mithraism, but as far as it went in the Roman Empire, where some scholars believe it originated (others do not) it clearly is a militaristic religion:

"Upon enlistment, the first act of a Roman soldier was to pledge obedience and devotion to the emperor. Absolute loyalty to authority and to fellow soldiers was the cardinal virtue, and the Mithraic religion became the ultimate vehicle for this fraternal obedience. The Mithras worshippers compared the practice of their religion to their military service."
(quoting David Fingrut, emphasis added). Remember recently that in Afghanistan U.S. soldiers were killing Muslims with rifles with Christian New Testament verses on their gun sights?

This version of "Christianity" practiced by U.S. military religionists is far more like Roman Mithraism than was the religion the Christians were thrown to the lion's dens of Rome for practicing.

The religion which Emperor Constantine made the state religion of the Roman Empire, circa 300 AD, was called "Christianity", but it was Mithraism more than anything else.

We should not underestimate the right wing Mithras religion of the imperialists in the U.S. government military, because they are fanatics like those who brought down the Roman Empire, as blogger disaffected pointed out.

Their Roman era thinking was centered around "control", naturally, because they saw the empire's "things" getting out of control (meaning out of their control), as do their modern counterparts in our midst.

Today, in that sense, really is like the times were when the Roman Empire was going down.

Many people were pointing out just that, as imperialism, along with the military's Mithras ideology, was becoming the political status quo.

The Mithras worshipers demand loyalty, unquestioned obedience to authority, and have a fanatical zeal.

The ultimate incarnation of their foundational world view is well represented in the control statements "the king can do no wrong" and "the Pope is infallible".

The problem is that they do not know what they are talking about, and like their ancestors did to the Roman Empire, they will do to the U.S. empire what was done to Rome.

We have a clear record over the past presidency of the High Priest of Mithras himself, Bush II, as an example of the devastation their ideology brings to us.

The next post in this series is here.


  1. The modern corporate/militaristic/Christian religious fervor also seems to also have its roots in and as the polar opposite to the Muslim religious fundamentalism it seeks to oppose, although I now think Osama bin Laden was simply a strawman - a complete or partial fabrication, possibly loosely based on fact - set up by some neo-con coalition to draw us in to the current brouhaha. As you say, it's certainly a powerful motivator, so they've really hit the jackpot with it. I don't see any way possible now that any of this is going to end happily, but those are the choices we've made, so we'll see where they take us.

    My personal opinion is that once the empire overseas implodes with the predictable domestic political and economic carnage, the military will be redirected to impose order at home, at which time the proverbial shit will indeed hit the fan. Gonna be fun!

  2. disaffected,

    "the military will be redirected to impose order at home"

    Clearly the troops have been trained now to go door to door to kill "insurgents", which evidently includes even pregnant women and journalists.

    Obedience to their commanders is the essence of their soul, their religion of Mithraic lineage.

    Control of the type they fantasize about is an illusion, so, when in the U.S. do as the Romans.

    Who ceased to exist as an empire we could add.

  3. Yeah, the shifting of enemies is not a hard concept at all for a military conditioned to such redefinitions routinely in Iraqistan. There'll be a few defections when it comes time to turn the guns on their own, but I'll bet most will adapt surprisingly easily, and dare I say it, eagerly. They say killing's like a drug once it gets into you. Let's just hope the general populace doesn't get addicted to it as well.

  4. What's next after the apocalyptic period? A new dark ages.

    1. idealist707,

      Good question.

      A new dark ages, to some folk, will seem optimistic.

      Optimism is ok.