I have made this statement on social media once or twice. After the recent news of the Pope stepping down, I feel like reiterating:

2013 could well be the year of fallen idols, shattered illusions, and revolutionary truths. I say bring it on, for only after we cast off the shackles of authoritarianism, religious idolatry, and social dogma can human kind truly be free.

Every time a politician is shown to have violated privately the ethics he espouses publicly, every time a religious leader admits he does not have the divine strength his followers believe him to have, every time a so-called “authority” is discovered to be inept at their role, we are reminded of these people’s humanity- and of our own- and the difficult truth that none of us is any better or more worthwhile or more divine or more worthy of worship than any other.

Humanity has spent millennia placing faith in a ruling class of some kind or other, or in so-called divine representatives on Earth. They have wanted to believe that if they can just pick the right people to put in charge, they can just go about their lives happily and never worry about the hard questions in life- like how to feed the populace, or provide for the poor and needy, or how to best educate their children, or regulate what they allow into their diet… the list goes on. There have always been people in charge of those issues- elected representatives, religious clergy, government, church, and all the bureaucracy, dogma, and top-down authoritarian mindset that comes with it. After all, these people are smarter, better educated, more well-credentialed, or more divine than the rest of us… right?

Wrong. Humanity, I hope, is now learning that these people are just people like you and I. None of us has a special divine mandate to rule over the others and even when that mandate comes from a democratically-elected majority as in contemporary politics, the end results tend to be the same- inefficiency, waste, fraud, abuse, regulatory capture, debt, moral bankruptcy, hypocrisy, etc. These are all by-products of trusting another person to choose what is right for you. We put a class of men in charge of the nation’s money and they drown the country in debt and devalue the only legal tender. We put a class of men in charge of regulating medicine, and we have a drug-addled populace experiencing serious side-effects and societal consequences. We put a class of men in charge of connecting us with God and we have a clergy that rapes young boys and makes a habit of fighting significant scientific discoveries which controvert the Church narrative.

But with the information age, and alternative media outlets providing a much-needed counterpoint to the mainstream historical narrative, people are starting to see the waste, fraud, cronyism, and outright corruption that is possible when a large, centralized body of bureaucrats hundreds of miles away pretend to represent your best interests and those of your countrymen/neighbors/community/family. With historic events like the first resignation by a living Pope, people are starting to see that making a man into a demi-god and the one worldly conduit to the Divine can end, at least for one Pope, like so many other careers: with the poor old man just getting too tired to carry on.

We are learning that these men are just men and for that, I am hopeful. We must all realize that each of us has a duty to govern our own lives, regulate our own commerce, and watch out for our own best interests and those of the people we love. We must realize that only you are in a position to effectively advocate for yourself. We must realize that this duty of self-stewardship is constant and unwavering.  We are responsible for ourselves always. We do not get a day off- and I think this is what intimidates many people. These people would rather assign someone else the responsibility of thinking about the hard questions and get on with the business of buying cars and jewelry (with the wages left after taxation) and watching trash TV while taking FDA-approved pharmaceuticals (that often have long-term side-effects a bad as the original condition) and eating FDA-approved processed and genetically modified foods (which have created an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease)… but it’s okay. “Desperate Housewives” is on and I have my Coca-Cola ready.

People are starting to realize that important decisions that affect a community’s health, well-being, and productivity (for these three things are inexorably intertwined) should be made by that community. Furthermore, decisions that affect an individual should be made by that individual to the extent possible. Mandates, wealth manipulation schemes, and debt-based economics at a national level all destroy the community’s ability to effect important change on the local level (not to mention UN/EU-style international controls).

The message that will carry the world forward into a better age is the message of productivity, personal responsibility, and the satisfaction and happiness attendant to having both in your life. So let the fires of truth rage across the internet, and illuminate a path out of the murky forest of bureaucracy, war, duplicity, and double-think we find ourselves in this year, 2013.