Anarcho-Bokononism

Ok, there’s no such thing as anarcho-Bokononism. But Bokononism, the fictional true religion created by Kurt Vonnegut in Cat’s Cradle, does have some interesting similarities with Christian anarchism. Perhaps the most obvious is the Bokononist repudiation of granfalloons, or false communities. A “textbook example” of a granfalloon (or false karass) is the association of Hoosiers, or people who feel that hailing from Indiana somehow bonds them in some meaningful way. Writ larger, there’s strong anti-nationalism here for “any nation, anytime, anywhere” is also a granfalloon. I think Christianity at its best can work as a true karass, but we ignore this when, say, we bomb fellow Iraqi Christians because of our misplaced trust in the granfalloon known as America.

There’s also some explicit Bokononist verses that I find very interesting. The first is from an unspecified chapter of The Books of Bokonon: “The words were a paraphrase of the suggestion by Jesus: ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.”

Bokonon’s paraphrase was this:
“Pay no attention to Caesar. Caesar doesn’t have the slightest idea of what’s really going on.”

Which seems to me a great anarchist rendering of Matthew 22:21. I’m also pretty partial to this “calypso” which is apocryphally attributed to Bokonon but doesn’t appear in The Books of Bokonon:

So I said good-bye to government,
And I have my reason:
That a really good religion
Is a form of treason.

Today’s Kierkegaardian either/or for you: Legitimize the state, dilute our religion, and taste power… or oppose the state, keep our religion, and become marginalized.