The View From 1776

Theocracy and Liberal Paranoia

Liberals express fear of an imagined conspiracy to impose a brutal Christian theocracy upon the nation.  Ironically, Christians and religious Jews are subjected to a real liberal jihad that claims the prerogative to ban expressions of their faith outside the closed doors of homes and religious meeting places.

Liberals see themselves as entitled to regulate public discussion, because they have conflated their own religion of socialistic atheism with the supposed objectivity of the physical sciences.  This combination of historicism and scientism leads them to the unquestioning certitude that they alone represent political and social truth.

Liberals are offended and feel threatened by all expressions of spiritual religious faith, which they perceive as evidence of a theocratic conspiracy and therefore sufficient grounds for banning Judeo-Christianity from all public discussion.

Opposition by Christians and religious Jews to abortion, fetal stem-cell research, same-sex marriage, and the hedonistic license of sexual promiscuity is equated by liberals with medieval ignorance and abolition of modern science. 

Robert Reich, President Clinton’s Labor Secretary, wrote: “The underlying battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernist fanatics; .... between those who believe that truth is revealed solely through scripture and religious dogma, and those who rely primarily on science, reason, and logic. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism is not the only danger we face. “

Randall Balmer, a professor of religious history at Columbia, is sure that Christian conservatism ?hankers for the kind of homogeneous theocracy that the Puritans tried to establish in seventeenth-century Massachusetts.? (see Ross Douthat’s essay).

Liberals contend that spiritual religion is fictional ignorance, Karl Marx’s opium of the masses imposed by the rulers to oppress the workers, which must have no role at all in political life.  They fail to recognize the uniform lesson of history that societies survive only when they are united by common traditions and common precepts of morality.  As Abraham Lincoln noted in 1858, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Atheistic materialism, unfortunately, is not a unifying set of traditions and morality.  It is merely the Darwinian doctrine enunciated by Thomas Huxley that there is no such thing as sin, that human life is merely survival of the fittest, with no meaning beyond self-indulgence.  A world dedicated to nothing more than every-man-for-himself, in-your-face “doing your own thing” is inherently Thomas Hobbes’s war of all against all, in which life is nasty, brutish, and short.

Traditionalists merely wish to sustain the ethos that underlay the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from the 18th century until the 1930s.  They may attempt to persuade liberals of the error of their ways, but that is hardly the liberals’ imagined theocracy. 

The liberal jihad, in contrast, leaves traditionalists no choices but to surrender their faith or fight.  The jihad seeks to impose atheistic religious doctrine upon all of public education and politics and to scourge all expressions of of Judeo-Christian religious belief that are not confined to the closed quarters of churches, synagogues, or private homes.  As under the sharia of Islam, Christians and religious Jews are tolerated, so long as they keep their faith private and pay their taxes to support teaching atheistic materialism in the public schools.

The liberal jihad also has the full backing of the Federal and most state judiciaries and the benefit of unending propaganda from the self-designated mainstream media, including taxpayer-financed NPR and PBS.

Quietly keeping religious faith as a personal matter is not an option for traditionalists.  With public education controlled by the doctrines of atheistic materialism, we already have three generations of citizens who have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the gospel of materialistic social-justice.  It’s as if the body snatchers of the 1978 movie were replacing the souls of our children with alien, amoral sensuality.

The gray-beards of today’s liberalism were, in the 1960s, the anti-establishment rebels on college campuses who perceived the entirety of existing society ? from New Deal liberals to Republican conservatives ? in C. Wright Mills’s expression, as the power elite.  Student anarchists of that era added a guerilla-tactic edge to the normal rebelliousness of youth.  Even Tom Hayden’s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) became too tame for the violent wing, who split off into the Weatherman underground of bank robbers, murderers, and bombers.

From the perspective of those rebels, who are today’s politicians, judges, and educators, even the bland society of the 1950s had to be obliterated, under the impetus of solidarity with the “black colony” in the United States and Vietnamese freedom-fighters in Southeast Asia.  That militant spirit remains the subtext in today’s paranoid reaction against any questioning of the gospel of atheistic materialism.

Ross Douthat in his essay on the First Things website concludes:

“What all these observers point out, and what the anti-theocrats ignore, is that the religious polarization of American politics runs in both directions. The Republican party has become more religious because the Democrats became self-consciously secular, and the turning point wasn?t the 1992 or the 2000 elections but the putsch of 1972, when secularist delegates?to quote Phillips, quoting Layman?suddenly ?constituted the largest ?religious? bloc among Democratic delegates.? ...... it?s the second half of the story, the Republican reaction against the Democrats? decision to become the first major party in American history to pander to a sizable bloc of aggressively secular voters….. So the rise of the Religious Right, and the growing ?religion gap? that Phillips describes but fails to understand, aren?t new things in American history but a reaction to a new thing….. The hysteria over theocracy, in turn, represents an attempt to rewrite the history of the United States to suit these voters? prejudices, by setting a year zero somewhere around 1970 and casting everything that?s happened since as a battle between progress and atavism, reason and fundamentalism, the Enlightenment and the medieval dark.”

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