11

Leftism as Substitute Religion

 

The howls of incoherent fury with which much of the left has greeted the advent of the Trump administration seems quite strange until we recall that leftism is essentially not a political movement for many of its adherents but rather a substitute for religion.  John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist understands this:

 

The consternation and outrage we’ve seen in response to President Trump’s executive order on immigration has little to do with the policy as such. Restricting immigration from certain countries is nothing new; President Obama did it, as did presidents Bush, Clinton, H.W. Bush, and Reagan.

Rather, it has everything to do with the elevation of progressive politics to the status of a religion—a dogmatic and intolerant religion, whose practitioners are now experiencing a crisis of faith.

Forget the executive order itself. Progressives have reacted with moral indignation and hysteria to everything Trump has done since taking office. His inauguration was enough to bring out hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country. In the 12 days since then, we have witnessed yet more demonstrations, boycotts, calls for “resistance,” comparisons to the Holocaust, media witch-hunts, the politicization of everything from Hollywood awards shows to professional sports, and real tears from New York Sen.Chuck Schumer.

One is hard-pressed to think of something Trump could do that would not elicit howls of outrage from the Left. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats boycotted confirmation hearings for Steven Mnuchin’s nomination to serve as treasury secretary and Rep. Tom Price’s nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services, while continuing to try to block the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for education secretary and Sen. Jeff Session for attorney general. Even before Trump announced his Supreme Court pick on Tuesday night, Democrats had already announced they would filibuster the nomination, no matter who it was.

The obstinacy of Senate Democrats reflects the mood of their progressive base, whose panicked anger is the natural reaction of those for whom politics has become an article of faith. Progressives, as the terms implies, believe society must always be progressing toward something better. Always forward, never backwards. After eight years of Obama, they believed progressive politics in America would forever be on an upward trajectory.

The Left Has Been Moralizing Politics For A Long Time

Trump shook that faith. But his election also unmasked the degree to which progressivism as a political project is based not on science or rationality, or even sound policy, but on faith in the power of government to ameliorate and eventually perfect society. All the protests and denunciations of Trump serve not just as an outlet for progressives’ despair, but the chance to signal their moral virtue through collective outrage and moral preening—something that wasn’t really possible under Obama, at least not to this degree.

Not that they didn’t try. Recall that during the Obamacare debate in 2009 Ezra Klein suggested that Sen. Joe Lieberman was “willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score,” simply because he threatened to filibuster what would become the Affordable Care Act. This is the language of political fundamentalism—policy invested with the certainty of religious conviction.

Religious fundamentalism of course rests on immutable truths that cannot be negotiated. For Klein, that meant health care reform. The same rhetoric—“willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people”—would crop up again and again during Obama’s tenure, every time a Republican governor refused to expand Medicaid or a state attorney general challenged an EPA regulation meant to curb climate change. Policy debates took on a theological significance. Continue Reading

6

Ignorance as Brave New World

quote-there-is-no-slight-danger-from-general-ignorance-and-the-only-choice-which-providence-samuel-taylor-coleridge-115-35-99

 

 

Much of leftist politics today consists of leftists stating that what is manifestly not true must be believed with a religious fervor that would put to shame most Trappist monks.  Dave Griffey at his blog Daffey Thoughts reminds us of the essential element in all this:

Thinly disguised as offended PC sensitivity warriors.  John C. Wright does the take down here.  Yep.  I’ve said already that much of the modern Left is about convincing us that 2+2=4 is hate speech, must be punished, and those who insist on resisting the new math are the baddies.

Why?  Because if you want to follow the basic trend of most Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment era revolutions by setting up a Despotic government where liberty and Utopia were promised, and furthermore want to do so in a nation that was the capstone of 2500 years of a long, agonizing march toward freedom and liberty, you have to make the population stupid enough to declare that 2+2=4 is the most evil, hateful thing imaginable and it’s good that we finally have laws that will punish those who insist on saying 2+2=4.

Much of what Mr. Wright says is, of course, spot on.  The idea that PC Warriors demand courtesy when they provide none, they demand respect when the provide the polar opposite to the traditions and beliefs they hate, and demand tolerance for their eradication of tolerance and diverse opinions, should be the neon warning signs for a generation.

It’s a testimony to our education systems, our entertainment industry and our media that so many Americans are ready to rewrite the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and even the entire notion of a Bill of Rights because we’ve been told it could be hateful to say men can’t have babies.  It takes one stupid nation for that to happen.  Or it takes a nation that is the product of the last 50 years of concerted effort on the part of those same educational, entertainment and media industries to be that stupid. Continue Reading

18

Google Celebrates Their Religion

Ed Driscol notes that Google has a predictable manner of observing Easter.  Ironic, since whatever else you could say about Cesar Chavez he was a devout Catholic:

 

“While two billion Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on this 31st day of March, Google is using its famous ‘Doodle’ search logo art to mark the birth of left-wing labor leader,” Twitchy.com notes, adding that “Google’s Easter insult sparks Twitter backlash, mockery,” as well it should.

 

The timing of latest in-your-face politically correct homepage is oddly appropriate. As Dennis Prager has written, “You cannot understand the Left if you do not understand that leftism is a religion,” and one with its own sources of mythology. Back in 2006 at Tech Central Station, Lee Harris described French Marxist Georges Sorel (1847-1922), and the concept of the Sorelian Myth:

Sorel, for whom religion was important, drew a comparison between the Christian and the socialist revolutionary. The Christian’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that Christ will one day return and usher in the end of time; the revolutionary socialist’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that one day socialism will triumph, and justice for all will prevail. What mattered for Sorel, in both cases, is not the scientific truth or falsity of the myth believed in, but what believing in the myth does to the lives of those who have accepted it, and who refuse to be daunted by the repeated failure of their apocalyptic expectations. How many times have Christians in the last two thousand years been convinced that the Second Coming was at hand, only to be bitterly disappointed — yet none of these disappointments was ever enough to keep them from holding on to their great myth. So, too, Sorel argued, the myth of socialism will continue to have power, despite the various failures of socialist experiments, so long as there are revolutionaries who are unwilling to relinquish their great myth. That is why he rejected scientific socialism — if it was merely science, it lacked the power of a religion to change individual’s lives. Thus for Sorel there was “an…analogy between religion and the revolutionary Socialism which aims at the apprenticeship, preparation, and even the reconstruction of the individual — a gigantic task.” Continue Reading

14

Leftism as a Religion

Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,

2 Timothy 3:2

 

Dennis Praeger has a brilliant post up at National Review Online in which he describes leftism as a subsitute religion:

Within mainstream Protestantism and Catholicism, the same dominance of leftist values exists. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — not to mention the Notre Dame faculty — largely holds the same social and economic views as the Democratic party and the New York Times editorial page, though it differs with the Left with regard to same-sex marriage, abortion, and religious-freedom issues such as those pertaining to Catholic hospitals and government-funded contraception. As for mainstream Protestant denominations, they, too, are largely indistinguishable from leftism. Proof? Ask a liberal Protestant minister to name one important area in which he and leftism differ. Ask a liberal Reform or Conservative rabbi the same question. Their silence will be telling.

 

The truth is that the Left has been far more successful in converting Jews and Christians to leftism than Christianity and Judaism have been in influencing leftists to convert to Christianity or Judaism.

Finally, leftism has even attained considerable success at undoing the central American values of Liberty, In God We Trust, and E Pluribus Unum, supplanting liberty with egalitarianism, a God-based society with secularism, and E Pluribus Unum with multiculturalism. (I make this case at length in Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.)

This triumph of the 20th century’s most dynamic religion — leftism — is why, even in the midst of an ongoing recession, the leftist candidate may win. As I wrote in my last column, it’s not just the economy, stupid. Continue Reading