His last State of the Union address has reminded us that Barack Obama is a passé, radical liberal. Liberalism is lying on the ash heap of history. It’s philosophical and “scientific” foundations are gone. But a guy like Obama will never get it because he is not actually an intellectual. He is a light weight. All he has is the hip style of an expensive empty suit.
All Barack knows is his own prejudices — his hatred of average middle class Americans who are conservative and whose name he uses in vain. Only idiots believe that Barack is trying to help the middle class. He is trying to destroy the middle class by redistributing its resources to relatively dissolute people who cannot see through him.
Our overall experience with Obama’s liberalism reminds us that feasibility really is a standard of truth even if it is not a universal standard of truth. Liberals have certainly ignored it from the outset. The economy is limping along despite Barack. George Will and a few other conservative lights had dinner with Barack just after his first election. They concluded that when it came to economics he was literally clueless. The suit was even emptier than they had imagined.
These days, when I look upon Barack all I see is a man who longs to enslave me as the normal middle class American he claims he wants to help. He wants the government to take care of people from cradle to grave and bill me for it. He wants to change society in ways which require the destruction of my freedom including my freedom of speech. (His health care law cannot tolerate businesses which express their religious culture by not handing out contraception.) As long as Christians keep speaking out on social issues the comfortable world which Barack is demanding for fringe behavior will not be realized. He must, in the end, make the state the
moral judge of speech, as it is in Canada. This is just one aspect of the state as church.
In this post-liberal age, in which the project of making people rationally autonomous has been given up by liberals for the tyrannical project of making them cooperate with ‘progressive’ “science” and “expertise”, the goal can be summarized as the transformation of the state into the church. In opposing what the orthodox church insists is good, the state becomes an alternative source of tradition. It is all just pathetic left over Marxism; the last gasp of the great secular analysis and vision of alienation and liberation which progressives are too clever to name. In this postmodern age, it is all just intellectual junk. We have never been more recalcitrant, more skeptical. But the progressives just will not lay down and die until we ridicule them to death. They are now the true believers. Barack is, in fact, living in the past.
The progressive’s goal remains the imposition of his view of Reality on the people, through the state, rather than letting the people impose their view of Reality on the state through democracy. Progressives, as crypto-Marxists, are profoundly anti-democratic. The radical progressive, who has replaced the traditional liberal because the liberal’s more ambiguous socialism made it easy, expects, above all else, to get the state into the business of moral coercion; to repress the independent church and turn the secular state into the one and only empowered church. Classical liberals thought, mistakenly, that they could completely separate the state from religion. The progressives, like Robespierre during the French revolution, know this is impossible and are therefore moving as quickly as they can to transform the state into a religious institution. If you study the French revolution you will be amazed at how quickly evil men began to realize that the consummation of their power could not be irreligious. The French revolutionaries knew that they had to do more than persecute and marginalize the Catholic Church. The state had to become the church. They knew the state could not hold onto the power to transform culture, to mold the values and beliefs of the people, without establishing its own sanctified moral authority based on “reason.”
The problem in the postmodern age is that there is no source of authority for a secular state which is supposedly separated from religion. God’s providential irony is that at this precise moment when the state has overpowering control over the means of cultural production, and is seeking even more, reason and science have died as a source of moral authority. The people have become increasingly skeptical of scientists who want to suspend democracy to save the earth. These pseudo-authorities cannot tell us why we should actually care about saving the earth. Back in Horace Mann’s time, as he founded the government schools in Boston in the early nineteenth century, there was some confidence that non-sectarian education could teach objective values on a scientific basis. Mann never imagined that government education could be value-neutral or perspective-neutral. And of course it is not. But it pretends to be, and the jig is up on this as well. Nobody I know of, even liberals, believe this crap about science supplying a rational basis for value or that the government curriculum is otherwise tradition-neutral. And no one believes in Marxist salvation anymore — except Barack.
This does not mean that the progressives will not press on in their attempt to consecrate the state as our official church. They quite obviously insist that the state is the primary dispenser of not only justice, but compassion and charity. The sure sign of the normalization of this progressive vision of the state as church occurred when even so-called “conservatives” started arguing that the state should be compassionate. And this is precisely when conservatism became a silly failure. It died in the arms of implicit Marxism after Marxism (broadly speaking the notion that the transitional state can make it all better) had already died. It was ideological necrophilia. That sort of thing never ends well.
The state cannot try to save us without tyrannizing us. It tryannizes us. For one thing it wants to impose its compassion on people who do not want it. Most of us do not want Obamacare. The state is taxing us to the bone in order to transform itself into a church which is so well-funded that the real church simply cannot compete. It sucks cash out of the independent Orthodox Church, its chief competitor. Imagine most of the money which is poured into government entitlements going to the church instead. Imagine the behavior of the welfare class being regulated by the church instead of the state. This is a progressive’s nightmare. It is his strange conception of authoritarianism. The progressive cannot tolerate any authority which competes with his own and that of the state.
In order to become the primary source of social construction the state must transfer financial resources and moral authority from the Orthodox Church to the state. The progressive despises any expenditure on the afterlife; even just psychic, moral expenditure. Call the whole process a “progressive caliphate.” That probably fits Obama, who claims to serve all’ya.
And so we must stop pledging allegiance to this government and start understanding that when the real church does not do its job, including stern, insurmountable resistance to the government’s attempts to coopt its functions, the church loses its relevance and power. In other words, modern liberal “liberation theology” is simply the death of the church. Liberal liberation theology transforms the state into the church. The church has pushed its chest into the barrel of the assassin’s gun.
Perhaps the ultimate expression of the state as church is the concept of hate crimes and the rise of protected classes. This moves the state far beyond dispensing human justice. It is the state proposing to judge the heart and mind in the former case and our tradition in the latter case, as if it were God. I am not saying that the state can dispense justice without a tradition. I am saying that establishing justice on the basis of the people’s tradition is one thing. Establishing privileges which violate that tradition is pretense to divine wisdom.
In summary, the progressives are attempting to transform the state into the one and only effective church by:
- Taxing the people out of their capacity to fund our competing private church and private charity
- Becoming the primary means of distributing charity
- Becoming the primary authority for recognizing need
- Transforming private enterprise into public property (a “public accommodation”) and regulating its culture just as our churches would otherwise expect us to run our businesses in a Christian fashion
- Muzzling the church politically with tax policy
- Becoming the judge of who should be protected as well as who should not be protected (who should pay for it)
- Becoming the discerner and judge of criminal emotions and thoughts
- Becoming the primary source of practical compassion
- Becoming the primary source of education and culture about Reality
- Treating the traditional morality of the church as discrimination and oppression
- Owning and controlling the primary means of cultural production (the schools and universities)
- Regulating speech to the extent possible, including internet speech, on the basis of a fairness doctrine
- Administering fairness; ignoring justice; dispensing grace
- Ignoring equality before the law, and emphasizing economic equality
- Immigrating more and more dependents who demand charity and grace from the state
- Turning politicians into moralists and “liberators”
- Appealing to patriotism, loyalty, equality and fraternity
- Creating a police state as a substitute for the fear of God
- Teaching the children to demand social (not just material) benefits from the state
- Implicitly suggesting that the state has the right to all of our income (like God) and that what we retain of it is grace
- Teaching children allegiance to the state rather than teaching them to demand freedom and justice from the state
It goes on and on. Keep this transformation of the state into the church in mind as you watch the state news and listen to the progressives describe their program, especially Barack with his novitiate, monkish charm. He makes me long for sack cloth and ashes; the prelude to a monastery beer with the mentor-in-chief in the backyard of the state parsonage. He wants us all in hoodies and rope belts. (Leather is for tax dodgers who make his eyes humid because they will not pay their fair share.)
The overarching goal is to make the state the primary source of morality and social construction, forcing us to take it, and its busybodies, seriously. Instead, it becomes the butt of well-deserved satire as it continues to fail. Dennis Miller is the cultural product of the Marxist delusion.
So besides exploiting the fact that Marxism is dead, that science is not going to provide any normative understanding of Reality, any rational justification for any of these progressive values, what can we do to reverse even the half-baked transformation of the state into the one and only effective church?
We can be completely irreverent.
We must become completely disloyal to the progressive state, insert wrenches into its gears whenever and wherever we can, and above all else, blaspheme it. We must mock and deride it for its hopeless pretense. We must practice and encourage sacrilege. It is our turn to be derisive of blind and bad faith.
The old Communist Party and its old Soviet Union was brought down, at least in part, by the ridicule of the people. Just talk to Russian émigrés.
The moment the progressives get serious about transforming the state into the one and only effective church, they become vulnerable to ridicule. We can shorten the whole pathetic experiment with wit and glee. Above all else we must teach our children that the state has no foundation for its self-glorification — for its legislative cathedrals, robed judges, and unctuous self-regard. We must teach them that reverence for the real church requires irreverence for the poseurs.
As usual, this implies the fundamental tactic — removing our children from the government’s schools where they are taught the most irrational, maudlin, silly religion ever invented — pious respect for the modern, incompetent, failing state including its grasping experts, great tyrants (like Lincoln), and self-serving politicians.