Saturday, August 9, 2008

Creeping Tyranny

I'm occasionally asked if maybe Viewpoint isn't a little too hard on liberalism. Many good people are liberals, I'm reminded, and maybe I'm being needlessly offensive in hammering away at them.

Yes, I reply, this is so, but we need to see clearly what is at stake. To help us, let's make a distinction similar to the Christian distinction between sin and sinner (no offense intended by the analogy). Just as we should abhor sin but love sinners, we need to abhor liberalism even as we try to love those who embrace it - even when those who embrace it are exceedingly difficult to love.

An article in the Washington Times a week ago offers an example or two to illustrate the point I wish to make:

In one case, a Georgia counselor has filed a federal suit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), saying that she was fired after she found someone else to counsel a lesbian about her sexual relationship. In the other, a Los Angeles police officer is suing the department, saying it has denied him promotions and pay raises because of a sermon that he gave at a church that cited a biblical verse on homosexuality.

In the first case, the counselor, a woman named Marcia Walden who worked for an agency contracted by the CDC to counsel its employees, was asked to take on a client who needed help with her same sex relationship. Ms Walden, who had counseled lesbians and homosexuals in the past but not about their relationships, felt that her beliefs about homosexuality precluded her from being able to give the client the care she wanted and so she obtained for her another counselor from the same firm who was better suited to address the client's problems.

Ms Walden apparently followed all the proper protocols and the client said she received exemplary advice from the substitute.

Nevertheless, according to the complaint, Ms Walden was subsequently accused of homophobia and extensively questioned about her Christian faith by her supervisor. Within three days of her referring Ms. Doe [the lesbian], Ms. Walden was suspended without pay by Computer Science Corp. and fired outright three weeks later.

In the second case a LA police officer who works as a minister when off-duty was presiding at the funeral of a fellow officer he had once supervised:

Sgt. Holyfield quoted a passage from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians that says "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God" before going on to list such unrighteous people: adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, drunkards and others.

Sgt. Holyfield was off-duty and in clerical garb for the funeral, which was not LAPD-sponsored, and was giving the sermon at a private chapel at the invitation of his colleague's family.

But several senior police officers were in attendance, leading to complaints that the sergeant had made comments disparaging homosexuals and adulterers.

Consequently Sgt. Holyfield has been demoted and passed over for promotion numerous times.

It's hard to believe that this is happening in the United States, but it is, and these certainly aren't the only instances. There's a cancer of persecution and oppression metastasizing throughout our society and it will continue to grow until enough people stand against it.

But what do these travesties have to do with liberalism? Let's ask ourselves a question. How many of the people who are responsible for the firing of the counselor and the demotion of the police officer do you suppose are conservative Republicans? I don't have the facts so I admit I'm speculating, but I'm willing to bet that the number is zero.

Liberals are, in the name of tolerance and diversity, often the most intolerant and conformist people in our society. Ever since the progressives co-opted the word liberal at the end of the 19th century, liberalism has featured a prominent fascist strain (Don't take my word for it. Read Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism). Like all fascisms it promises a bright utopian future, but in fact, under liberalism, our future is likely to be similar to that of farmer Jones' livestock in Animal Farm. You recall that in the name of freedom the animals revolted against farmer Jones and set up their own government, but it wasn't long before the animal government turned to tyranny and all their freedoms were lost. George Orwell's vision of the future is precisely what lies in store for us if ever liberalism gains political dominance: a (government) boot stamping on a (Christian) human face, forever. Just as it has stamped on Ms Walden and Sgt. Holyfield.

That's just one reason why Viewpoint finds liberalism so horrid, and why we feel it a moral duty to set our friends and family wise to its false promises and enchantments.


The Postmodern Candidate

A couple of days ago I mentioned that Senator Obama seems to hold to a postmodern view of truth, i.e. there are no fixed meanings in the text of his words. They mean whatever the listener wants them to mean, whatever has "purchase" with the listener. They're not to be taken literally - they're too broad and contradictory for that. Rather their vagueness and ambiguities invite us, like poetry, to bask in their resonances and read into them our own hopes and desires. For the postmodern, style trumps content and rhetorical power trumps logic. People in a postmodern world tend to think with their hearts rather than their minds, and come to know by intuition and emotion rather than through reason. This is perhaps why so many find Obama such an appealling candidate even though they can't point to a single accomplishment that would qualify him to be the leader of the United States.

Jonah Goldberg amplifies the idea of Barack as a postmodern in an essay at USAToday. Here's an excerpt:

Asked to define sin, Barack Obama replied that sin is "being out of alignment with my values." Statements such as this have caused many people to wonder whether Obama has a God complex or is hopelessly arrogant. For the record, sin isn't being out of alignment with your own values (if it were, Hannibal Lecter wouldn't be a sinner because his values hold that it's OK to eat people) nor is it being out of alignment with Obama's - unless he really is our Savior.

I encourage you to read the whole thing, but with the caveat that the column tends to make postmodernism seem arrantly bad. It's not, but lots of it is, and the idea that truth is whatever harmonizes with your own experience is particularly corrosive. Unfortunately, that's the aspect of postmodernism most frequently on display in Senator Obama's speeches and pronouncements.