IS RELIGION THE ULTIMATE WEAPON IN THE CULTURE WARS?

If so, the Right is doomed, freedom is doomed, and the future wears a burka

crusaderknight

America just endured eight years of radical Left-wing government, and . . . where were the protests from the Right in that long, grim interlude?

Where were the city-choking marches against Obama’s open-door immigration policy? Where were the balaclava-wearing Republican mobs when the passage of Obamacare effectively took healthcare away from the hard-working self-employed and gave it instead to the indolent, Democrat-voting unemployed? Where was the pushback when the Obama administration bullied the police, feminized the military, coddled and pardoned criminals, and stirred up racial and gender strife? Where were the Molotov cocktails and their righteous blossoms of flame when the Supreme Court, under pressure from the administration and Left-wing protesters, decreed that the Constitution, as envisioned by Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Hamilton et al, protects gay marriage—so firmly and conclusively that state legislatures may never disallow it?

Obviously there was very little drama, let alone violence, from the Right in response to these Left-wing triumphs. There was only the usual speechmaking, tweeting, essay-penning, talk-show spouting—and of course calm and lawful ballot-marking, in an election that went the Right’s way by a whisker.

I once thought that it would be otherwise, but all the violence, all the civic disruptiveness, all the revolutionary energy, seems to be concentrated on the Left. That was true even when the Left held the White House (e.g., the Ferguson riots). Now when the Right holds the presidency temporarily, and has hardly even started to peel away the former administration’s policies, the Left’s mood is already fulminant: Its mobs are involved in routine acts of violent harassment and rioting, while the so-called mainstream media looks the other way or eggs them on.

A popular explanation for this difference between Right and Left is that people on the Right are older, are too busy working for a living, and/or are simply more likely—as conservatives—to be sedate and law-abiding, and thus are a lot less likely to go out into the streets and yammer and throw things and loot stores.

That’s not a wrong explanation. It just seems incomplete, and more than a little complacent, for it neglects the religious-like faith that moves the Left—a faith that may be its true and ultimate weapon.

I’ve argued before that that faith—Multiculturalist Progressivism, for want of a better term—has anti-cultural elements that prevent it from being the basis of a free and stable society. It has too many philosophical and emotional contradictions. It can tear old stuff down; it can create a vacuum into which stronger, more coherent cultures rush—as Islam has been rushing into Progressive Europe for the past several decades—but it can’t on its own build anything sustainable.

In a way, that doesn’t matter. Whether the Left’s progress yields a Venezuela-like socialist chaos or an ISIS-like Islamic theocracy, the West is equally screwed.

It also doesn’t matter if the Left is smaller than the Right—if the Right enjoys a “silent majority” in other words, as many seem to think. Silent majorities are weak and lazy majorities: history’s losers. Tightly knit, highly motivated minorities are history’s winners, or at least drivers. Think of the Bolsheviks, or the Nazis, or of any underdog tribe that has managed to dominate its rivals (the Ba’athists of Iraq and Syria are recent examples).

The important thing for the future of the West is that the Left—however bereft of reason, coherence, and civility—appears to possess a key source of unity and energy that the Right lacks, and thus may be destined to defeat its rival.

How is Multicultural Progressivism religious?

To start with, like Christianity and many other religions it envisions History as following a more or less definite path with conflict and sacrifice but a Happy Ending.

It also offers a strong sense of salvation and social inclusion to those who publicly declare and embrace its beliefs and thereby speed History’s course. These public affirmations of faith have become so routine that we hardly notice them anymore, but they have been sprinkling the collective consciousness for decades now: declarations by business people, actors, politicians, etc. that they are gay, or feminist, or anti-racist, or otherwise committed to the Left’s vision of diversity and social justice.

The flip side of that salvation/inclusion feature is even better known: That is the Left’s punitive, ostracizing impulse towards those who publicly go against its dogmas, even in their tone. It seems to me that Donald Trump’s recent campaign and victory did much to blunt the force of this impulse, which is why the Left has moved more and more towards overt violence.

In short, Multicultural Progressivism is, like the stronger religions, very good at defining and separating believers from unbelievers, giving the former a strong sense of Higher Purpose, and attacking the latter—relentlessly and without much regard for law, since the Higher Purpose justifies any means they might employ.

Doesn’t the Right have religion too? Admittedly Ayn Randism is thin gruel, but what about all those evangelical Christians?

Well, Christianity has come a long way since the days when it was the great cultural weapon, and helped motivate Europeans to conquer and dissolve the cultures of much of the world beyond their shores. It’s not muscular at all these days; it’s been heavily feminized and de-judgmentalized, and now seems more a form of personal therapy than anything else. In fact, the most culturally relevant aspects of modern Christianity, the compassion-based, New Testament, turn-the-other-cheek stuff, have been adopted by the Left and form at least a partial basis for some of Progressivism’s more culturally destructive policies, particularly open immigration.

So is the Right doomed? I hope not, but I expect so. There are just so many examples in history of religious or religious-like movements punching way above their weight and overturning long-established orders. I could start with Early Christianity, the Multicultural Progressivism of the mid and late Roman era, though I’m sure there are many good cases to cite before that.

There are of course examples of successful reactionary put-downs of Leftism and other religious-like movements—such as Franco’s Nationalist quashing of Spain’s Communists in a bloody civil war 80 years ago. Despite a lot of help from Moscow, and from energetic young leftists in America and Britain and so on, history failed to arc in the way the Reds wanted. Then again, Franco too had a religion on his side: a still-formidable Spanish Catholicism. And anyway where are Franco’s Nationalists now? The last time I went to Spain it had a socialist government and a welfare system it couldn’t afford, and every other shopowner was a Pakistani.

IS RELIGION THE ULTIMATE WEAPON IN THE CULTURE WARS?