The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
- Albert Einstein -
Patriarchal religions foster mental communism. By this I mean the view that a knowledge deficit can be brought into balance by religious devotion to some creed, or a "belief" devoid of understanding. When you see a religious authority railing against one of the planet's foremost experts on biology or climate science you are seeing this intellectual communism in action.
Scientific progress and democratic progress rely on the same mother of invention, and it is no surprise that democratic societies tend to be technologically superior societies. A scientist gains influence based upon the usefulness of his ideas and a democratic society gains influence in the same way.
The Taliban in Afghanistan is a society that I would refer to as mental communists. The word of the theocrats is law, and those who object can be bathed in acid or have various body-parts removed until they see the wise point of view. I know that president Obama wishes to turn more American attention onto Afghanistan and I can't think of two more incompatible ideas than democracy and theocracy.
So what will we do there?