These creeds don’t deliver what they promise, but they do provide their followers with a sense of their own virtue — a sense that comes to trump the millions of lives shattered or lost in the course of the creed’s actualization. For all their good intentions, the true believers somehow seem to forget that each human “sacrifice” to the greater good had a life as urgent as their own; had dreams, loves, thoughts, experiences each more worthy of reaching fruition than even the finest of cloud-based utopias.
Barack Obama is not a monster like Stalin or the jihadis. Conservatives who say he is are hysterical children who haven’t lived, who don’t know what a real monster can be. The president is just an empty mediocrity who trimmed his narcissism to the credo of the age and became its incarnation. We can survive four more years of him, I’m sure. But when he’s gone, we’ll still be stuck with the leftist pundits and pols who accuse reformers of racism even as their own policies turn African-American lives into crime-ridden nightmares; the economists who spread the gospel of debt and who ridicule the free market even as the bankrupt nations of the west spiral into decline; the feminists who hector women out of their homes and away from their families and then try to rationalize the steady decline in female happiness; the militant atheists who evangelize and enforce a philosophy that decreases joy and increases despair wherever it takes root; and all the rest of the well-intended workers on the road to hell.
I’m embarrassed to say it, but in my youth I thought humanity stumbled slowly but surely toward the light of truth. Now I believe that we cling desperately, even violently, to the sense of our own virtue — and that the light of truth, which reveals us as we are, is our natural enemy. We would rather destroy the world than know ourselves.
So welcome to Obama’s second term.
Image made courtesy image from shutterstock / timy