Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Christians and Mystics on the Left Get a Pass

Much has been made, and should continue to be made, of religious mysticism and its unfortunate and harmful influence on American conservatism and the Republican Party. But the media and mainstreamers give a wholesale pass to the exact same influences on the left when they are just as glaringly bad and harmful.

For instance, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore are both "Born Again" Christians (as is President Bush) but you might never know it from the media bias and omission. Jimmy Carter as President was directly influenced by his beliefs in his foolish attempts to force a peace between Israelis and Palestinians even though the leaders of these two groups have somewhat differing goals (the Israelis would like to live and the Palestinian would like the Israelis not to live). But even more glaringly, it was under Jimmy Carter's tutelage that a U.S. embassy, which is American sovereign territory, was overrun and the people inside taken hostage by a hostile foreign regime. The U.S. response was to do absolutely nothing aside from a harebrained and half-ashamed covert helicopter rescue which ended in failure and more U.S. deaths. The media portrays this as a tactical error, as opposed to the broad generalizations we would and should expect them to make if similar situations occur under a religious Republican.

But even more dangerous than "Born Again" fundamentalists is the primitive mysticism residing on the left in the form of environmentalism. This issue hasn't popped up much in the campaign, but environmentalists and their concerns make up a large part of Democratic/Liberal orthodoxy and a large part of the constituency of the Democratic Party. They are so blindly beholden to their primitive beliefs in the infallibility of nature and the total evil of mankind that they block out all evidence and rational argument to the contrary. At least the Bible has generally good things to say concerning man's relationship to the environment (the nature of all "revealed" knowledge, such as that based on the Bible, Koran, Buddhist sutras, etc., is the possibility that they could potentially be correct on things, but for the wrong reasons and in a way which is useless once one can throw out "revealed" knowledge as legitimate knowledge), environmentalists are wrong about every single one of their outrageous claims, as well as their fundamental belief system.

Religion is a problem in today's America because an irrational metaphysics threatens everything about America that is rational, i.e. Capitalism, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, etc. But we must also realize that today's religionists, while certainly containing a lot of nuts and wackos who occasionally do very crazy things, i.e. David Koresh claiming to be Jesus reborn and organizing a cult of heavily armed loons in Waco, TX (while also molesting children he was supposedly teaching the word of God to), the religious craziness we see today is timid in comparison to what occurred in this country in the heyday of the Second Great Awakening in the 1820s and 1830s. People routinely claimed all sorts of weird mystical visions as conversion experiences, fasted themselves to death, became so absorbed by religion that they gave up their careers and all other social activity, founded all sorts of different religious sects, claimed they talked to God and were prophets, and basically engaged in the purest practical application of the ideas of Saint Augustine and Martin Luther our country has ever had the unfortunate experience of witnessing. And this was a mere generation after men the likes of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Ben Franklin, and George Washington strode the political and cultural landscape. We are certainly no where near this level of outright hysteria today, but the effects of it are still around today in the likes of evangelical Christians and Mormons.

The point is not to downplay the threat religion poses to the country, far from it, but we must put today's events and trends into the historical context of which they are inexorably a part. The growth of primitive nature worship, or regrowth rather since it was destroyed along with the Indian "way of life," is what is new, combining earth worship with a Luddite-like hatred for mankind's progress (even though man's advanced brain and therefore his ability to reason were produced through evolution, a natural process). The ebb and tide of religionism is an unfortunate recurrence in American life, so long as it can be kept out of the government (an endeavor no more successful now than it was in the days of the founders), it should be contained in the battle for ideas, which it must ultimately lose. Environmentalism is a religious and political movement combined in every aspect from the devout irrationality of its adherents to their propensity for violence when they face dissent and disagreement.

Mysticism and religion are always a threat, a serious threat, to the freedom and liberty of men. They are no more threatening from the right as from the left and in some cases the latter is much, much worse.

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