What’s hard for normal people to wrap their heads around, I think, is how modern liberalism is not a set of fact-based opinions, but a crazy quilt of beliefs that are untethered from reality. Normal people tend to assume that people can look around, see the world as it is and act accordingly. Those who fail to acknowledge reality are either mistaken or insane. For as long as anyone reading this has been alive, conservatives have assumed liberals are mistaken and therefore they can be corrected.
Over the last decade, many on the right have come to the conclusion that the people we call Progressives are suffering from a mental disorder. Maybe it is the nutty aunt who thinks Obama is Jesus. Maybe it is that neighbor who has covered his Prius in “coexist” bumper stickers. These are not people with whom you can have a conversation because they find some way to preach Progressive craziness at you, even over the damned weather.
I tend to think of it a third way, which is as a religion. I call it the Cult of Modern Liberalism because what we call politically correct is what we used to call “pious” in another age. The PC enforcers deeply believe in egalitarianism, anti-racism and multiculturalism as pathways to salvation. It’s Congregationalism with God removed from the cosmology. Here’s a good example of it in the Washington Post.
This month, Jennifer Cramblett lost her “wrongful birth” lawsuit, which centered on a troubling ideology that has been creeping into mainstream discussions in ways not seen in decades. Cramblett claimed that the sperm used to inseminate her came from the wrong donor, leading to a biracial child, which she had not wanted. Her lawsuit claimed that this mix-up in the lab caused her and her family personal injuries of various kinds.
This lawsuit was shadowed by a troubling logic: the idea that race is a biological reality with particular traits and behaviors that can be avoided through proper breeding practices. In doing so, Cramblett’s claims echoed arguments made in a darker era of global history of “scientific” racism.
Here’s how the argument goes. Some people are born with outstanding talents, easily mastering basketball, mathematics, languages or piano, if given the right environment in which to grow. What biologist or social scientist could argue with that? But alongside that genetic understanding, an old and pernicious assumption has crept back into the American conversation, in which aptitudes are supposedly inherited by race: certain peoples are thought to have rhythm, or intellect, or speed or charm. That’s a fast track toward the old 19th- and early 20th-century problem of “scientific” racism.
First off, you’ll note the tone. These are two deeply religious people speaking to an audience they assume to share their religion. If instead of “racism” the bogeyman was the devil, it would be something you would expect from certain Christian sects. If the bogeyman was Western decadence, then this would read like a sermon from the local imam. Instead, the bogeyman is biology so it is a boiler plate lecture we’ve all come to expect from people who enjoy diversity seminars.
You’ll also note that the authors are both professors with degrees in nonsense fields like racism and sociology. These are not fields of study that add to the stock of human knowledge about the world. These are fields dedicated to enforcing religious orthodoxy. When your kids go off to college, they are forced to sit through diversity lectures by these types of people as part of the “orientation.”
The Washington Post gobbles up submissions like this because it helps the faithful resist the temptations of biological science, which is becoming a real threat to the Cult of Modern Liberalism. When genetics can trace your genealogy back to the home country by merely taking a mouth swab and correlate physiological attributes to intelligence, biology becomes the same sort of threat to the New Religion as it was to the Old Religion.
Because this new religion inherits so much from the old religion, it even comes with an apocalyptic element. This breathless story on “climate change” is a daily feature in Progressive media. Christianity used to keep people in line by promising eternal damnation in the fiery pits of Hell if you broke God’s laws. Progressives promise an extremely high air conditioning bill if you keep using the lawnmower.
The interesting thing about the New Religion is it is a throwback to the pre-Christian days. Before the Jews gave us a fixed, rational God who created a fixed and rational world, people truly thought appeals to the gods would change the laws of nature. Hang a bull’s penis around your neck and your next kid would be a son. Burn a couple of heretics and the rains would come and end the drought.
Climate change is paganism for guys and gals on the private jet circuit. They force the state to pass some regulation making it hard for you to cut your grass because that will appease, well, whatever is in the blank spot where Elagabalus used to sit. As has always been the case, the rich guy making the sacrifice to the gods is never sacrificing anything of his. It’s always some other guy stretched out on the altar, having his heart ripped out.