In 1993, “the politics of meaning” was introduced by Hillary Clinton into the vernacular of the times, when she said during a commencement speech:
“We need a new politics of meaning. We need a new ethos of individual responsibility and caring. We need a new definition of civil society which answers the unanswerable questions posed by both the market forces and the governmental ones, as to how we can have a society that fills us up again and makes us feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.”
For most Americans, “the unanswerable questions posed by both the market forces and the governmental ones” are answered quite satisfactorily by religion. For self-admitted “Progressives” such as Hillary, that’s rather…problematic…to borrow the hip word all the cool kids are saying these days. Because for over 150 years, “Progressivism” and religion have been two fundamentally opposed forces. Which is why last night, Hillary told the attendees at the 2015 Women in The World Summit:
“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton said.
“Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will,” she explained. “And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”
Comparing the bolded line above to Obama’s infamous “bitter clingers” speech, Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air that Hillary is striking a very different pose today from 2008, when she thought that she had the Democrats’ nomination locked up, and needed to only worry about some tyro anti-religious rookie politician to her left named Barack Obama and could safely pivot to the center:
In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is. As Hillary admits here — albeit unwittingly — the at-will destruction of the unborn goes against religious beliefs, long-held cultural values, and the structural “biases” that exist to recognize the value of human life. That’s what the “clump of cells” fallacy has to overcome, and as Hillary and the Left have discovered, it’s a tall order. And it’s not just abortion, but also same-sex marriage and forced participation in it, euthanasia dressed up as “right to die” movements, and the rest.
Politically speaking, this kind of hostility to religion plays well … among the “safe space,” “trigger warning” crowd. Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change “deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs” might be the most honest progressive slogan in history, but it’s not going to endear Hillary to the people who got offended by Barack Obama’s “bitterly clinging” comments — which she exploited in 2008 to paint herself as the friend of those denizens of middle America. Those voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.
What does Hillary do to counter this? I’m waiting to hear If you like your religion, you can keep your religion. That will fit the progressive pattern well.
The headline quoted above by Hugh Hewitt co-blogger John Schroeder neatly sums up Hillary’s worldview, and it’s not a new one. When Jonah Goldberg published Liberal Fascism in late 2007, it was written with the assumption that Hillary was likely the next Democrat nominee for the presidency, and her worldview dominates the second half of the book; Barack Obama is only mentioned twice, if my Kindle search function is accurate. Hillary believed since at least her college days that religion needed a serious overhaul if not entire junking; a trait that has been believed by every dyed-in-the-wool “Progressive” since the 19th century. As Jonah wrote in his chapter on “Brave New Village: Hillary Clinton and the Meaning of Liberal Fascism:”
The politics of meaning is in many respects the most thoroughly totalitarian conception of politics offered by a leading American political figure in the last half century. Hillary’s views have more in common with the totalizing Christian ideologies of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell than they do with the “secular atheism” such Christian conservatives ascribe to her. But they have even more in common with the God-state Progressivism of John Dewey, Richard Ely, Herbert Croly, and Woodrow Wilson and other left-wing Hegelians. Hillary’s vision holds that America suffers from a profound “spiritual crisis” requiring the construction of a new man as part of a society-wide restoration and reconstruction effort leading to a new national community that will provide meaning and authenticity to every individual. Hers is a Third Way approach that promises to be neither left nor right, but a synthesis of both, under which the state and big business will work hand in hand. It is a fundamentally religious vision hiding in the Trojan horse of social justice that seeks to imbue social policy with spiritual imperatives.
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Hillary is no führer, and her notion of the “common good” doesn’t involve racial purity or concentration camps. But she indisputably draws her vision from the same eternal instinct to impose order on society, to create an all-encompassing community, to get past endless squabbles and ensconce each individual in the security blanket of the state. Hers is a political religion, an updated Social Gospel—light on the Gospel, heavy on the Social—spoken in soothing tones and conjuring a reassuring vision of cooperation and community. But it remains a singular vision, and there’s no room in it for those still suffering from the “stupidity of habit-bound minds,” to borrow Dewey’s phrase. The village may have replaced “the state,” and it in turn may have replaced the fist with the hug, but an unwanted embrace from which you cannot escape is just a nicer form of tyranny.
If you’d like a real insight into Hillary’s worldview (beyond her pure money-grubbing avarice that makes Gordon Gekko look like a piker, of course), the later chapters of Liberal Fascism are real eye-openers, and I urge you to read them, if you haven’t yet.
….Unless of course, as a result of her myriad fundraising scandals, Hillary really is “Dead Candidate Walking,” as Michael Walsh believes today over at his PJM column.