Priests refer to their parishioners as "my flock."
Rightly so. They are sheep -- to be herded, to be fed mysticism, to be intellectually and morally slaughtered.
The flock must bend to religion's make-believe metaphysics, to religion's insistence on epistemological retreat (faith), to religion's demands of immorality, to religion's self-sacrificing politics.
Religion is the ideal training camp for fascism, socialism, communism, liberalism, conservatism, progressivism, despotism -- any political "ism" that demands self-sacrifice and obedience. The sheep believe they rebel, but even when the sheep enjoy their tea parties, they demand sacrifice from fellow sheep via taxation, regulation, subsidies, welfare. Sure, these sheep say they want less authority and less obedience, but they simply ask for smaller knives at the throats of their fellow citizens. They can't help it. They are sheep.
The non-religious are sheep, too, though they like to think they are rebels and hippies and anti-establishment and trend-setters and intellectual. They are better sheep than the religious sheep. They lambast "greed" and wealth on par with Jesus, unlike their conservative brethren, who ignore the hypocrisy.
The god of the non-religious is Immanuel Kant, who proclaimed that duty is what rightly drives human beings and that we are born with "categorical imperatives" in our mind that guide duty and "good will." In other words, we ain't in control; we should obey some intrinsic things in our minds, and we should sacrifice ourselves and happiness to others and duties to others. (Kant was the King of circular reasoning)
There have been many Kant disciples through the last two centuries, but it is ultimately Kant that the atheistic sheep worship -- ironically, because Kant himself was a theist, whose main purpose was to give alleged vindication of a god's presence and authority over morality: god is necessary for the "ideal of the supreme good."
And so we have the superstitious left and right in this country, who've abandoned their minds to their gods of the heavens and universities. The sheep have surrendered their rationality for obedience and irrational doctrines and concomitant self-sacrifice. They have disdain for themselves and, therefore, for all individuals. Their self-loathing projects itself up the rest of us, insisting that we be punished physically for their intellectual misery.
They cannot believe that individuals have efficacy, the ability to understand reality and the ability to be independently happy. They cannot believe that individuals must be left alone. Individuals must be commanded, and individuals must obey. They must serve. They must, ironically, try to make others happy but not themselves.
And, so, they cannot understand individual rights. They cannot understand rights. They do not want rights and they insist that others do not have them either. We are all sheep, after all -- unworthy of rights, waiting for our next commands, waiting to be rightfully slaughtered. Bound sheep do not like unbound sheep.
As long as the vast majority of humanity allows superstition to grip it by the throat and cut off oxygen to the brain, we will not have individual rights. We cannot even discuss it seriously until great gobs of individuals take ideas and themselves and reality seriously. We will continue to live in the Dark Ages as our "modern" brethren and sisters flock to their particular brand of mysticism.
I sometimes wish I could live 300 years hence, when Objectivism has won and young children's mouths gape open as they hear of a time in the 21st century when people, even adults, actually BELIEVED IN GODS!
At least the very thought of such a time and such children makes me smile. And I've seen that gaping mouth on the face of my own lovely daughter. And, oh, how I smile!