The tools of despots – deception and misuse of religion

Nasir Khan, December 20, 2015

“The supreme mystery of despotism, its prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and with the specious title of religion to cloak the fear by which they must be held in check, so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation.”

~ Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)
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Some people may find Spinoza’s language in this quotation somewhat intricate. In simple words, what he means is that in despotic form of government the powerful rulers use both deception and religion to strengthen their stranglehold on the people. Thus misled, the subjects serve the oppressive polices of their rulers wholeheartedly as if these provided the only way to a better life for them. If we apply this saying of Spinoza to the contemporary world, we see how realistically he pinpointed the way oppressive rulers use false propaganda and misuse religions to keep their domination and exploitation.

 

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