If one is going to go after sacred cows, one should really go after sacred cows. Most of the people in our society who get credit for "going after sacred cows" are just going after unfashionable ones. At least ones that are unfashionable in the circles they want to appeal to. We live in a world of iconodules posing as iconoclasts.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Enforced Belief Part I

A friend sent the following in reply to something I sent her, via e-mail:

Well that was sobering... Thoughtful in a sarcastic "life is so unfair" sort of way, but I have questioned often the defeatist attitude people have towards seperation of church and state. Honestly, the issue with that was based on Monarchy, not religion, and today there just isn't a strong national religion thing going on in the USA, so I don't get why we can't let students be christian, muslim, etc. and be ok with it? If they can be gay or pregnant and we are supportive (financially even) then how is saying "god" going to undermine our national foundations? I don't get it.
Defeatist attitude: As far as the country goes, things are going to get a worse before people will do anything to make it better again. A lot worse. I hope to help, well be by your side through it; prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We need to think about the future in that sense, create as much stability and security as we can. One thread: The country's already bankrupt, and they are spending more, and lost in a fantasy-land. Another thread has to do with the meat of your paragraph: Enforced belief.

The problem with replying is that if I'm brief, it will sound nutty, but going in depth will make it long, and you might not have time to read long things.

For 150 years, what you said had been accepted as common sense, and had been the practice. Why did things change, so that such expressions in the public square became increasingly restricted?

A lot of the original colonists came to America because there was a State Religion in England and they felt they could not practice their own faith freely. The Puritans that came here had their own issues along those lines once they arrived, but in any case it was recognized by those who drafted the 1st Amendment that people had a fundamental liberty of thought, and so beliefs should not be enforced by the Federal Government (later extended, via the 14th Amendment, to government at all levels).

In their experience, government-enforced belief came in the form of a State Theistic Religion. So they enshrined within the Constitution the Establishment Clause, as part of the Amendment intended to guarantee that liberty of thought and expression would be respected (note today that "freedom of expression" is commonly described to be one of the things protected by the First Amendment; there is some double-think here, because it extends only to certain kinds of expression). This was to prove a profound mistake.

No sooner had the Constitution been ratified than the first non-theistic State Religion was created, in Revolutionary France, complete with its own calendar, holidays, ideology, and a non-theistic inquisition in the form of revolutionary terror aimed at enforcing this belief on those deemed unsuitably enthusiastic about it, including inevitably supporters who weren't seen as fanatical enough (thus the end of Robespierre, hoisted on his own petard).

Enforced belief is nothing if not as jealous of rivals as Hera, so during the French Revolution Christianity was driven from the public square. That revolution foundered as a result of the bloodbath it produced, but its legacy lived on, and it would not be the last non-theistic (as opposed to atheistic, though some are) State Religion. What was Fascism and NAZIsm if not enforced beliefs? Or Communism in the Soviet Union and Maoist China (and even now, potential rival religions are kept to state-tamed/approved versions, or driven underground).

Today America has a set of enforced beliefs, increasingly fanatical and intolerant of rival views (ironic from a belief set that ostensibly teaches tolerance, but in reality is only tolerant of differences it itself claims are superficial - race, sex, sexual orientation). Its roots, the roots of Progressivism, are tied to a branch of Christianity, and indeed it's origins are from New England's Puritan Roots (thus it's popularity on Harvard). Ethnic Studies Departments and the like are nothing if not Faith-Based Initiatives, valued not for their scholarly worth but as ideological proving grounds. Similarly, ethnic organizations (on campii and outside of it) serve not merely as social organizations, but as enforcers working in collusion with administrative power to punish those who stray into heresy.

Coincident with the Warren Court decisions on "Separation of Church and State", a balderization of the First Amendment that gets us what we have now, this belief-set dropped its explicitly Religious ties and "secularized" (though it is still widespread among many mainline Protestant churches - such as the ones I went to - the "Liberation Theology" branch of Catholicism, Trinity United/Black Nationalist theology &ct). This was not a conscious move, but a subconscious one, to give Progressives a tool to which to hound their still-Theistic rivals and initiate what amounts to a wave of (relatively mild, but still powerful) persecution, and also introduce the sort of religious indoctrination the 1st Amendment was intended to prohibit into schools, universities, workplaces, &tc. Any time you receive "diversity counseling" or are taught multiculturalism (I have nothing against other cultures - as a historian, how could I? But in reality, "Multiculturalism" ends up meaning not having to know anything about other cultures, simply projecting Progressive beliefs upon them and describing them all as communal, consensus-based, peace-loving, &tc &tc. Scratch the surface of 95% of Multiculturalists, and they know next to *nothing* beyond the superficial about any actual civilization).

As a non-Theistic State Religion enforced by the Extended Civil Service (the bureaucracy, whether under putatively Republican or Democratic elected office-holders, the education establishment, NGOs, Responsible Press, &tc), it is intolerant of rivals, and accepts only "tamed" versions of theistic faiths. This is one reason why the information-systems are full of invective against "the Religious Right" and their supposed influence, but you hear very little against the Religious Left and its wide influence, except (naturally) from opponents on the Right, who naturally react to the war being waged against them (thus being portrayed all the more demonically in the "Responsible Press" and State institutions of learning/instruction/indoctrination: Thus is born the Consistent Standard of Progressivism, having two standards for the same behavior, I.E. protest movements, one for itself and its mascots, and another for its opponents/anyone else), and their abhorrence of "culture war", which really boils down to "Cet animal est tres mechant; quand on l'attaque, il se defend." Like any other fanatical faith, they detest resistance and respond viciously (thus why they are soft on foreign enemies - wanting to extend understanding and not engage in inflammatory rhetoric - but harsh on domestic opponents).

Very worth watching, 8 min of your life, a *must* see.

The Origins of Political Correctness, Pt. 1 of 3, worth watching all 3 if you have time.

The Ideological War Within the West & Transnational Progressivism; long, but good.

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