Ed Driscoll

Leftism: The Alternative Religion

Given the number of comments (300 and counting!) on Dr. Helen Smith’s article at PJM, “How Should Conservatives Deal with the Left’s Disrespect and Lack of Empathy?”, you’ve probably seen it already. If not, definitely read the whole thing™, as her spouse would say.

Smith’s article was inspired by a post by Jeff Goldstein, and found via Helen’s blog, Jeff responds to it, with a reminder that “Of course, to be fair, the ‘right’ exhibits its share of intolerance — which, like that from the left, generally manifests in a kind of ostentatious public sanctimony:”

The difference is, for all the worry we consistently hear about the “religious right” threatening to turn the US into a theocracy, very rarely will we see any actual agitation from mainstream conservatives to turn religious doctrine into state or federal law. Whereas the churches of environmentalism and government-mandated “charity” (which isn’t; charity tends not to be backed by fines and guns) have joined up, of late, to fortify the Church of Progressivism, which is very quickly becoming a de facto “official” church of the United States.

How proud the founders would have been…

The Church of Progressivism was a topic that Dennis Prager addressed recently:

Many Americans find it difficult to understand why Jews on the left, including many who would call themselves “liberal” rather than “left,”continued to enthusiastically support President Obama after the revelations about the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish views of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the president’s religious mentor and close friend. This confusion is all the greater now that President Obama has humiliated the Israeli prime minister and created the tensest moment in U.S.-Israel relations in memory.

Likewise, many Americans wonder how Democratic congressmen who claim to be faithful, pro-life Catholics could vote for a health-care bill that allows for federal funding of abortions after opposing it up to the last day.

There is an explanation.

Leftism, though secular, must be understood as a religion (which is why I have begun capitalizing it). The Leftist value system’s hold on its adherents is as strong as the hold Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have on theirs. Nancy Pelosi’s belief in expanding the government’s role in American life, which inspired her passion for the health-care bill, is as strong as a pro-life Christian’s belief in the sanctity of the life of the unborn.

Given the religious nature and the emotional power of Leftist values, Jews and Christians on the Left often derive their values from the Left more than from their religion.

Now, most Leftist Jews and Christians will counter that Leftist values cannot trump their religion’s values because Leftist values are identical to their religion’s. But this argument only reinforces my argument that Leftism has conquered the Christianity and the Judaism of Leftist Christians and Jews. If there is no difference between Leftist moral values and those of Judaism or Christianity, then Christianity is little more than Leftism with “Jesus” rhetoric and Judaism is Leftism with Jewish terms — such as “Tikkun Olam” (“repairing the world”) and “Prophetic values.”

But if Christianity is, morally speaking, really Leftism, why didn’t Catholics and Protestants assert these values before 19th century European Leftism came along? And, if Judaism is essentially a set of Left-wing values, does that mean that the Torah and the Talmud are Leftist documents? Or are the two pillars of Judaism generally wrong?

More questions:

Why are almost no Christians and Jews who believe that God is the author of the Bible (or, in the case of Jews, the Torah) on the Left?

Why are so few pro-life Catholics and Protestants on the Left? Do they not care about the poor?

Of course, that is what people on the Left believe. As the former head of the Democratic party, Howard Dean, said, “In contradistinction to the Republicans, we don’t think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night.”

They believe such things despite the fact that traditional Protestants and Catholics have created more institutions to take care of the sick and needy than probably any other group in the world, and despite the fact that religious Americans give more charity and volunteer more time than secular Americans do.

And why have the great majority of Orthodox Jews rejected the Left? For Jews on the Left, the explanation is simple: Orthodox Jews have primitive beliefs and, therefore, primitive values.

For the Leftist, all opposition to the Left, secular or religious, is primitive and usually worse (Racist, Sexist, Homophobic, Xenophobic, Ignorant, Bigoted, Intolerant, Mean-Spirited, etc.). So this doesn’t tell us much. What might tell us much? This: With a handful of exceptions, Orthodox Jews know Judaism far better than non-Orthodox Jews do. Given how few of them are Leftist, this would suggest that Judaism and Leftism are indeed in conflict.

But that doesn’t matter to most Jews on the Left, because to be a good person (and, to those for whom it matters, to be a good Jew), one need not know Judaism, let alone follow Judaism. One needs only to feel what is right (Leftism is overwhelmingly based on feeling); and, when in doubt, one can determine what is right from the New York Times, not from sacred Jewish texts.

Related: Ed Koch discovers who the rubes were.