Even though his Christianity is sometimes heretical, Bruce Charlton is often tremendously brilliant. And I mean “brilliant” in an almost literal way: Shining strong light to reveal an important truth. Witness his recent post, Is Social Justice/ Political Correctness/ New Leftism a religion? Actually *not* (despite superficial similarities).
I have been saying that liberalism is a religion. Not so, points out Charlton. Some quotes:
The Old Left, such as Communism, was very much like a Godless religion; and it did have saints- such as Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao. But the New Left of Social Justice and Political Correctness has only temporary idols, any of whom may be vilified and demonized at any time.
The idols of the Social Justice Warriors are not saints, but merely function as clubs, taken-up to beat the enemy – then usually discarded.
And this is the essence of the beast: it is negative, oppositional, lives by subversion, inversion and destruction of the Good; its stance is perpetual opposition.
Stability and the status quo and tradition [are] attacked, but there is no alternative stable state in view; no Social Justice utopia being aimed-at; no end-point at which political correctness will say ‘enough’, ‘this is it’.
Classical liberalism was a de facto religion, with a plausible (although false) cosmic metanarrative, a code of ethics, “saints,” and even, as one wag put it, the New York Times as Holy Writ. But contemporary, politically correct leftism doesn’t deserve to be called a religion. It has no stable form, only a constant, intuitive hatred of the true, the good and the beautiful. It’s a civilizational suicide cult.
To be sure, the politically-correct Left frequently invokes the ideas of classical liberalism, which still command widespread respect. But when it does, it’s just a demon in wolf’s clothing. The current Left is all about destruction.
Our job, then, as relatively sane men, is to dodge the falling debris.