The other day I was telling a story about a time when I was going to lunch with a bunch of co-workers and we tried to cram too many people into an elevator. As everyone was trying to jam in, I tried to tell them that we were over the weight limit, but everyone insisted it wouldn’t be a problem. When we finally got everyone wedged in, we found that the doors wouldn’t close. This as an example of blind faith as we all felt that just because there’s regulations and inspectors, elevators must be foolproof, therefore we didn’t really need to take personal responsibility for their appropriate use.
Then the person I was telling this to mentioned that someone we both know believes that cigarettes don’t cause cancer. This is based on his theory that the government wouldn’t allow them to be sold if they were actually harmful. This is what you would call blind faith and this phenomenon is one of the core reasons I’m an anarchist. Many people don’t recognize the dangers this kind of faith represents in the long term.
This faith in government constantly shapes our culture in ways that can quickly get out of control. Laws in a democracy are written based on public opinion, not on facts or science. A huge proportion of our society then bases their opinions on law, and also largely ignores facts and science. This creates a reciprocal effect that sends our society down a path that has nothing to do with logic and opens up opportunities for shady businesses and special interest groups to manipulate the process to their own benefit.
This type of thing can be seen in many other areas. Global warming obviously is affected because people believe that if we were really headed toward massive environmental disaster, the government would be doing something about it. People believe that obesity is not a serious health concern because no one is thrown in jail for being fat. People who support the drug war and want marijuana smokers to be put in prison are no doubt people who have never known a marijuana smoker nor studied the actual effects of the drug or how legalization has worked in other parts of the world. They simply have blind faith that their government would not create cruel and unfair laws.
People in our society tend to base their opinions on the laws, and the laws are based mostly on their opinions. As we allow this cycle to continue, we will move further away from a safe and logical organization and closer to increasingly dangerous and volatile social situations. Just one more reason to be an anarchist.