Scipio Africanus was a great Roman general. He was the man who bested Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general, at the Battle of Zama. In addition to being a great general, Scipio was a great politician. Then as a now, you did not get a chance to be a great general unless you were very good at politics. Politics being what it is, even the great Scipio had his enemies. For example, the warmongering lunatic Cato the Elder, the neocon of his day, accused Scipio of corruption, after he had retired from public life.
One of the ways Scipio navigated his way through the political system was by showing the Roman public he was a man of great piety. He showed his filial piety by risking his life to save his father’s life, when he was wounded and surrounded by enemies at the battle of Ticinus. Later, he volunteered to take command of the army of Spain, even though it was not a glamorous position, in order to follow in his father’s path. Scipio also made sure the public saw him making sacrifices to the gods and conducting himself with great probity.
The point of this, is that it is a natural part of civic life, for the rulers to make a big show of their honor and morality. As in the case of Scipio, public acts of piety are an important part of the political process. They signal to the public and the political class, that the person supports and defends the codes of society.There is the civic code, which defines the political life of society. Then there is the moral code, usually religion, that defines the daily life of the people. The shrewd politician is careful to make sure he is good at both.
This works out well when there is a commonly held religion, even in a very general sense like Christianity. A century ago, an American politician was expected to be seen going to church, for example. He would salt his language with references to the Bible and religious teaching, in order to signal that he was a good Christian. Of course, it was also important to have a unifying set of civil customs. A century ago, most Americans agreed on a set of beliefs, that constituted being a good citizen, Politicians signaled them as well.
Today, we live in a post-Christian age, where most of ruling class is unfamiliar with traditional religion and often hostile to it. Instead, our rulers believe in a grab bag of fads that define multiculturalism. Political correctness is the enforcement arm of this amorphous new faith, so signaling agreement with the current PC causes is how our rulers try to tell us they are moral people. People hoping to rise into the upper ranks, invest all of their time in public acts of piety, often on-line, to prove they are worthy of admission.
Similarly, there is no agreed upon civics. Instead it is a collection of mystical chants based loosely around the concept of democracy. In the cosmopolitan globalism of our age, there is no longer the concept of citizenship, so it is impossible to appeal to our patriotism and civic duty. Instead, our rulers invest their time worshiping undefined things like “our democracy” often using the same language of the prior era. The difference is, “our way of life” meant something, while “our democracy” means pretty much nothing.
The thing is, those old sets of codes had limits built into their definitions. One was pious, in the Christian sense, as long as you lacked the sins common to most men. There was no level beyond pious and even the most faithful man was always tempted. Perfection was not an option. Similarly, civic pride had a natural limit. You were a good citizen, as long as you lacked the things associated with being a bad citizen. In other words, piety was not about what you had, it was about what you lacked, with zero being the natural limit.
In the new religion, there is no limiting principle. It’s utopian nature encourages the adherent to seek the next step, the next higher plane of piety. Twenty years ago, being nice to homosexuals was a sign of goodness. Then embracing the homosexual lifestyle was the next level of piety. Then civil marriage then marriage and now we have people demanding school boys wear sundresses. Since multiculturalism is, by definition, the nullification of culture, there’s no limit to how much one can hate their own society.
That’s the other thing that makes the new religion so bizarre and erratic. There is no well defined promised land to this utopian cult. They talk about equality, but in the vaguest terms. There’s no standard of equality against which we can measure progress. There’s just the demand for more equal. The same is true of justice. There’s no definition of the concept, which is why it most often sounds like vengeance. No matter how much the despised group does, it is never enough. “We can always do more” is the only rule.
Reality is the natural barrier between the fanatics and their desired utopia. Their inability to to reach the promised land, however, does not cause them to reconsider the project. Instead, they re-double their efforts, staking out even more bizarre positions. Thirty years ago, homosexual marriage was a punch line for popular comics. Today, laughing at those jokes gets you thrown in jail. Just take a moment and consider what comes after the compulsory acceptance of transvestites. The new religion moves quickly.