My parents did 2 things correct when they raised me. They let my keep my foreskin and they told me Santa Clause was fake. I probably would've figured that out but I can't be sure. I asked them about it. They told me-
"Santa is fake. Every kid learns Santa Clause isn't real eventually. We thought it would be cruel to tell you he's real."
Of course it would be cruel! And yet I still met children who not only believed in Santa but believed in God. When I was less than 9 years old a girl mentioned something about praying and I told her-
"God's not real."
To me it was the same thing as Santa(It's simple and you've heard it before but that doesn't make it a bad comparison, does it?). I thought it was cruel to teach people to believe in God since eventually they'd firgure out he wasn't anywhere. She took on a stern, cold expression and told me-
"You don't believe in God? You're going to Hell."
That rare glimpse into my formative years pretty much says it all. Faith and superstition were the enemy and skepticism and compassion were humanity's only hope. I still believe that.
I've forgotten that conviction sometimes. I've put faith in things like marxism, humanitarianism, the class war, even pacifism. I believed in those things; because those things told me my side was winning, and the eventual victory was inevitable. At this moment I'm a little bit ashamed and embarrassed because I did the same thing the regressive religionist child would do- believe what their parents told them; and find theories, movements, and history to support the belief.
In order to dictate how society should operate- no one has to base their opinion on any tradition or school of thought. No one needs faith; in fact one should have no faith. You don't need to appeal to the founding fathers, the constitution, 'america's values,' the class struggle, religion, or some some dream dreamed by a baptist minister. All you need to do is take a direct look at the deplorable conditions that exist and say 'this is fucking brutal, we should fix this.'
The United States held onto the practice of circumcision for a very long time. Originally a Puritan effort to stop masturbation(likely before the invention of hand lotion), it continued until now, when only 50% of male infants are circumcised. It took some well informed and educated parents(and illegal immigrants) to look at the practice and say 'this is fucking brutal, we should fix this.'
That's the most radical thing of all. Discussing what's right and wrong for humanity and America based on sympathy, reason, and sense. No god, no father, no masters, no fatherland, no ideology, no texts, no philosophy, no values. Nothing but the people living today and what's best for them. And when I look around, I can't help but say- 'this is fucking brutal, we should fix this.'