Gore Vidal, b. 1925-Oct-03

In these dismal times when evangelical support for Donald Trump is unwavering, no matter what indecency he commits, this is an especially good time to pay close attention to Gore Vidal’s low opinion of religion. Faith, unreasoning belief, stands near the center of both international and domestic discords — and it will remain there for so long as faith is supposed to be a virtue.

  • Never pass up a chance to have sex or appear on television.

  • The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved — Judaism, Christianity, Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal — God is the Omnipotent Father — hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is in place not for just one tribe but for all creation. Those who would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good. Ultimately, totalitarianism is the only sort of politics that can truly serve the sky-god’s purpose.

  • Congress no longer declares war or makes budgets. So that’s the end of the constitution as a working machine.

  • At least when the Emperor Justinian, a sky-god man, decided to outlaw sodomy, he had to come up with a good practical reason, which he did. It is well known, Justinian declared, that buggery is a principal cause of earthquakes, and so must be prohibited.

  • Happily for the busy lunatics who rule over us, we are permanently the United States of Amnesia. We learn nothing because we remember nothing.

  • We must always remember that the police are recruited from the criminal classes.

  • Modern Christianity is an encyclopedia of traditional superstition.

  • There is no terror equal that of the ignorant in a strange place.

  • The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return.

  • Religions are manipulated in order to serve those who govern society and not the other way around.

  • The reason no one has yet been able to come up with a good word to describe the homosexualist (sometimes known as gay, fag, queer, etc.) is because he does not exist. The human race is divided into male and female. Many human beings enjoy sexual relations with their own sex, many don’t; many respond to both. This plurality is the fact of our nature and not worth fretting about.

  • My father had a deep and lifelong contempt for politicians in general. “They tell lies,” he used to say with wonder, “even when they don’t have to”.

  • I regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race. I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam — good people, yes, but any religion based on a single… well, frenzied and virulent god, is not as useful to the human race as, say, Confucianism, which is not a religion but an ethical and educational system that has worked pretty well for twenty-five hundred years. So you see I am ecumenical in my dislike for the Book. But like it or not, the Book is there; and because of it people die; and the world is in danger.

  • Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.

  • Lonely children often have imaginary playmates but I was never lonely; rather, I was solitary, and wanted no company at all other than books and movies, and my own imagination.

  • Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won’t be. Any individual who is able to raise $25 million to be considered presidential is not going to be much use to the people at large. He will represent oil, or aerospace, or banking, or whatever moneyed entities are paying for him. Certainly he will never represent the people of the country, and they know it. Hence, the sense of despair throughout the land as incomes fall, businesses fail and there is no redress.

  • As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.

  • American society, literary or lay, tends to be humorless. What other culture could have produced someone like Hemingway and not seen the joke?

  • There was more of a flow to my output of writing in the past, certainly. Having no contemporaries left means you cannot say, “Well, so-and-so will like this,” which you do when you’re younger. You realize there is no so-and-so anymore. You are your own so-and-so. There is a bleak side to it.

  • We’re the most captive nation of slaves that ever came along. The moral timidity of the average American is quite noticeable. Everybody’s afraid to be thought in any way different from everyone else.

  • You know, I’ve been around the ruling class all my life, and I’ve been quite aware of their total contempt for the people of the country.

  • It was ready-made for them to call an emergency and pretend it was war-time, you know, the war on terrorism is a metaphor, and terrorism is an abstract noun. It’s like a “war on dandruff.” There’s no such thing, you know. It isn’t war, it’s just a slogan. But using the slogan they got through the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which removes many of our liberties. Nobody made a sound when we lost Habeas Corpus—due process of law—and suddenly Bush managed to get rid of it. Where was a voice on television, aside from mine, that spoke out against this? Where were all those noble jurists, those great lawyers, those lovers of liberty, where the hell were they? They were nowhere!

  • Those who seem to think that the Bush administration had something to do with 9-11… I can prove that they didn’t. They are totally incompetent! 9-11 was a brilliantly executed strike on the United States. I can’t imagine anybody… I can’t even imagine… Can you imagine Cheney, mumbling around, orchestrating something like that?

  • You hear all this whining going on, “Where are our great writers?” The thing I might feel doleful about is: Where are the readers?

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