Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Return of the Inquisitors

Here’s some food for thought, via Kevin Williamson.

Attempting to make sense of the American Left’s newfound lust for censoring thought, Williamson offers this observation:

The American Left, having lost the contest of ideas — the Left’s last big idea was Marxism, which never has been successfully replaced as an intellectual foundation — is in the grip of moral hysteria, and its main occupation is heretic-hunting, inventing ever-more-absurd pretexts for simply declaring beyond the pale any idea or intellectual opponent progressives cannot successfully engage or, nearly as often, to bounce any white male occupying cultural space the heretic-hunters covet.

In fact,he is entirely correct.

A few glosses are in order. Many members of the radical left do not know that Marxism failed. They think that it is going to return with a vengeance when capitalism collapses. They want to do whatever than can to precipitate that event.

Never underestimate the ability of deluded ideologues to stay deluded.

True, the American Left is consuming itself with a moral hysteria, with heretic hunting. It should not come as a surprise. The Obama presidency and its sequelae were all about fighting bigotry. Thus, dividing the country. Destroying anyone who uttered the least bigoted slip of the tongue has come to resemble a witch hunt or an inquisition.

Are you now or have you ever been … a bigot? It was the rule for the Obama presidency. In past times, people were hunted and hounded for heresies. On college campuses the same rule now applies. So, it’s an historical regression, a return to a time when superstition reigned and where the important thing was what you believed.

If you accept, as many liberals and conservatives believe, that America is an idea and that the American nation is based on a creed, then being a good American involves what you think, feel and believe… not whether you salute the flag or stand for the national anthem.

Once patriotism is defined by what you think or feel, the grand inquisitors will ride again. You can tell to a certainty whether someone is standing for the national anthem. What he has in his mind or heart… it’s much more difficult to ascertain. Thus, we must invade the privacy of his mind, in order to maintain what is called the right to privacy.

Congratulations to Williamson for nailing it.


trigger warning said...

Far from being anachronistic, hunting and hounding for heresy is just as Progressive as wind power and "lived experience" epistemology. You just don't get Progress, Schneiderman.

Back to the Pleistocene, comrades!

JK Brown said...

The modern secular Progressives are descendants of the radical pietists of the 19th century. Evangelicals are the branch that continued with Christianity. The Progressives adopted Marxism as their dogma.

Murray Rothbard described the pietists

"Most pietists took the following view: Since we can't gauge an individual's morality by his following rituals or even by his professed adherence to creed, we must watch his actions and see if he is really moral.

"From there the pietists concluded that it was everyone's moral duty to his own salvation to see to it that his fellow men as well as himself are kept out of temptation's path. That is, it was supposed to be the State's business to enforce compulsory morality, to create the proper moral climate for maximizing salvation. In short, instead of an individualist, the pietist now tended to become a pest, a busybody, a moral watchdog for his fellow man, and a compulsory moralist using the State to outlaw "vice" as well as crime."

Murray Rothbard, 'Lysander Spooner: Libertarian Pietist',