I do not know anyone who enjoys receiving bad news, nor of anyone who actively enjoys giving bad news. Giving bad news is unpleasant but it is a necessary task, as it is unjust, dishonest and unloving to lie to people and to pretend that all is well with the world. That is why so many messengers are shot rather than listened to.
It has now been fifteen years since terrorists killed three thousand of our countrymen by destroying the World Trade Center, and attempting to do the same in to the Pentagon. Very briefly, after the initial attack, Americans, whether on the Right or the Left, united in the memory of the blood and melted steel. Today, however, at the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, it seems more likely that the terrorists will win the day rather than us. One reason why this seems so is because the very freedoms which our country was founded to protect and preserve are now assaulted; not from Muslim terrorists but from our own countrymen and supposed leaders. News of recent weeks have been filled with examples of this growing tread. Martin R. Castro, a Democrat from Chicago and who President Obama appointed as head of the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights stated last week that talk of “religious liberty,” and “freedom of religion,” are merely “code words” for “…discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.” According to Mr. Castro, the First Amendment only allows an individual the ability to choose how he worships but gives him no protection in the public sphere. Religious liberty, in other words, according to Mr. Castro, offers no protection to the Christian baker or the orthodox Jewish photographer from being forced into participating in a homosexual “wedding.” In the same vein, Judge Ruth Neely, of Pinedale, Wyoming, has become the object of a witch hunt by the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics because of her religious beliefs. The Commission is arguing that because Judge Neely holds to the truth that marriage can only be formed between a man and a woman, she is unqualified to be a municipal judge, even though her duties do not mandate that she officiate in weddings and, furthermore, she said that if a homosexual pair came to her to be “married,” she would help them find someone else to officiate. In the past, this would have been seen as reasonable co-existence; now, it is treason.
What is saddening about these cases in particular, and other cases of the same nature, is that they demonstrate how far the United States has fallen since her colonization and founding. Despite the energy that still surrounds Thanksgiving, many often forget that the Puritan Fathers, whom we are remembering in our Thanksgiving feasts, braved the perils of crossing the Atlantic and colonizing Plymouth Rock, for religious liberty. They left their home–England–and came to the New World because they believed that God had preserved America for them; the wilderness that they found was the spot where they were to preserve Christianity for the world. In the same vein, the many Catholics who fought in the American Revolution–such as John Barry, Stephen Moylan, John Fitzgerald, Thomas Moore, John Doyle–often took up arms for religious liberty. Even though Catholics only comprised approximately 1.8% of the colonial population and faced persecution, hatred and suspicion, largely from ignorance, it was the thought of religious liberty that animated many of them. Religion and the ability to live one’s faith in the public sphere, was far more important to our ancestors and was taken far more seriously by them than by us, despite all our contemporary protests to the contrary.
The question, then, is why are the cultural and political elites of the country–all of whom inhabit the Left–waging a “holy war” (in the words of the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics) against freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the other rights which animated the Revolution? It is not because the modern Left is godless. Many writers on the Right have described the individuals of the Left, and the Left itself, as pagan and godless but this is not the case at all. The Left is very religious; it is simply that their god is not God.
At its core, Leftism, itself, has become the religion of the Left. Its fundamental teaching is not communalism or some mutation of Marxism but a subjective, atomistic individualism. Within Leftism, the Self becomes the “little god,” controlling the entire thread of reality upon which that particular Self stands. The Self, a la Sartre, can create itself and recreate itself, and can decide the truth value of statements regardless of what others may or might say. in this way, marriage does not become an actual reality with its own essence from which an end can be deduced from natural reason, but merely a societal creation that can be stretched and changed to fit the Self’s desires; a man can become a woman and the entire world must recognize the transubstantiation which the Self has rendered upon itself. Similarly, the Self can decide that a fifteen dollar minimum wage, despite all experiences and protests from common sense, will not cause harm, either to minimum wage workers themselves or to the entire economic system itself. This fundamental belief of Leftism is fully rooted in the system and has been for some time. In 1992, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority opinion for Planned Parenthood vs Casey, gave the country the infamous “mystery passage” which declared, “At the heart of liberty is one’s own concept of existence, of the universe, of the meaning of life itself…”. These things are not solid, according to Justice Kennedy, but are all determined by each individual’s private interpretation. In the same manner, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the most cited legal scholar of the Twentieth Century and one of our own leading intellectuals, has declared since the Seventies, that there is no morality by which one can measure a person’s actions. Even the Nazis, according to Posner’s own words cannot be labeled immoral, since they only acted contrary to our idea of morality.
The only heresy in the religion of Leftism is the belief that heresy exists. As such, a man such as Jack Phillips, the owner of the Denver bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, can now be declared to be an “enemy of the state,” because his beliefs do not meld with the religious zealots of the Left. His crime was simply telling a homosexual pair in 2012 that he would be unable to bake them a wedding cake since, as a Christian, he believed that marriage could only exist between a man and a woman. The state of Colorado has punished Mr. Phillips for his heresy:
The shop was not only ordered to alter its policy and start participating in gay weddings or else face debilitating fines, it was told to provide comprehensive staff training, ensure compliance, then file quarterly obedience reports with the government for two full years. In these reports, Phillips was to describe exactly which remedial measures the shop had taken to conform, and document the reasons any other patrons were denied service.
What does all this have to do with 9/11 and terrorism? As usual, a great deal more than many of us might think at first glance. Leftism, now the de facto official religion of the United States, thanks in large part to the Left’s capture of the culture, is unique in the fact that the Self is the center of reality. Only Gnosticism has the same idea concerning the Self and, in fact, a case has been made that Leftism is simply another incarnation of Gnosticism.
This fact has deep implications. Every other religion is projecting outward. This is quite clear in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but even in the pagan religions and other belief systems, such as Hinduism and Zoroastrianism, worship was directed outward to some Being (or beings) outside the physical world and to which the faithful had to adhere by sacrifices, prayers, rituals, and/or the aligning of one’s life to certain commandments and teachings. Leftism reverses this so that with the Self as the center, whatever the Self desires is sacrosanct. President Obama displayed this when he was asked what he thought sin is. He replied, “Being out of line with my values.”
If Leftism’s core is the Self, there is nothing of substance for which they will fight. This might seem unintelligible at first since the Left is constantly fighting, with religious zeal, for “transgender bathroom rights,” a fifteen dollar minimum wage, the destruction of religious liberty. But there is nothing of substance for which they will fight.
Whittaker Chambers predicted that the Soviets would win the Cold War because, unlike the West, the Communists had something for which they were willing to die and for which they were willing to live. The Soviets fought for global, communist utopia. The terrorists are fighting for the glory and will of Allah. Because the terrorist is fighting, not for the Self but for Allah, he is willing to live or die, however Allah decrees: if he dies, he will attain paradise; if he lives, he will live in the caliphate, the Dar al Islam, destined to encompass the world. But because Leftism’s god is the Self, two results come about.
First, leftists are incapable of understanding terrorism. When ISIS declares that they are butchering infidels for Allah, leftists declare this cannot be since they cannot comprehend a mentality which that actually believes in a metaphysical being such as Allah. Secondly, leftists become cowards in the face of terrorism. Leftists will meekly follow the demands of terrorist nations, such as Iran, and turn a blind eye to, for example, the inequality of women there, but will persecute Christians at home and abroad, such as in Uganda, for refusing to convert to Leftism. Money and power, in the Leftist mind, is enough to crush dissidents of a “soft” and “out-of-date” religion such as Christianity, but they are not enough to stand against the fury of the followers of Allah. Christians may protest injustice but terrorists will behead infidels and, then, there will be no more Self to create reality. This cowardice is a direct result of making the Self a god. As Dr. Peter Kreeft has argued, when the Self makes itself the center of creation, it will lose itself; only when the Self seeks something outside of itself will it be complete. The example Dr. Kreeft gives is Gollum, from The Lord of the Rings. Gollum makes himself the center of the world with the Ring of Power and, after five hundred years, becomes incapable of saying “I.” Gollum can only speak of himself as “we” and “us”; the Ring has completely consumed him and turned him into something less than what he was.
It will be impossible to defeat the terrorists unless we, as a people, return to what Russell Kirk called, “the permanent things.” And that will be impossible with Leftism enshrined as the national church.