AT The Orthosphere, Kristor argues that liberalism is a type of mental and spiritual disease. He writes:
Liberalism errs about the order of being, and so disagrees with the world. It’s poor policy to argue with the universe, no? Yet that is just what liberalism does, and not just in the economic realm. Liberalism is at war with life itself, at every level; for it carries its profound philosophical errors into concrete practice. It implements its misprisions. As I have elsewhere said, the liberal is engaged in a death struggle with his own body.
Perhaps the liberal needs something like the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous to wean himself gradually from unreality.
Sin is an obsession – literally, a siege. As the siege conquers the soul and gains dominion over the psychic economy, sin becomes an addiction – the peccant part dictates to the rest of the soul.
This is all perfectly clear to Alcoholics Anonymous. The first step of their twelve step program is an admission that the addict is himself powerless to resist his addiction. All twelve step programs consider the root of addiction to be the spiritual disease of self-worship.
Chapters of Liberals Anonymous may be the answer. The problem is, most liberals don’t recognize they have a problem.
—- Comments —
Jane S. writes:
And while we’re at it, let’s have Codependents Anonymous meetings to help conservatives stop enabling liberals.
Yes, definitely. But that might require an inpatient program.
Jesse Powell writes:
Kristor’s idea of liberals entering into a “12 step program” to recover from liberalism basically equates to liberals “curing themselves” of their liberalism through finding or developing faith in God. God being the “transcendent reality” that liberals deny.
I like Kristor’s idea very much. I don’t think however that it is necessary to approach the importance of God indirectly even when trying to reach an audience of unbelievers. I think that transcendent reality can be argued for directly even when talking to an audience of atheists.
Modern social liberalism can be taken to be the result of a widespread loss of religious faith, the weakening of faith being the central problem that leads to all the other problems becoming manifest. Even today religious communities that are insular and devout are able to maintain very good social indicators. These are communities such as the Amish and Ultra-Orthodox Jews. These “islands of religiosity” have been able to sustain themselves in good working order in spite of the whirlwind of decadence that has swept over the rest of the nation.
So, even among the mainstream religious population the central cultural problem is the spread of what I’d call “atheistic ways of thinking” or “atheistic values.” The denial of transcendent reality or as I’d call it the “externally imposed moral order” is the core defect in liberal thought. It is the idea that human beings decide collectively how they shall live and what their values are, that man and man made institutions (such as the government) are the core of the social order. This is false, only God can serve as the core of any sustainable social order.
So, the question is; what is to be done? I think the idea of God or transcendent reality should be promoted and advocated and explained directly. If there are a lot of atheists in your audience it might be wise to use all inclusive and more general language but the principles of religious thought should be advocated and taught to all people, atheists included.
Jesse is right that America needs education about transcendence. Without the education, I suspect we are doomed. People now demand rational explanations. This is in contrast to nineteenth- and early-twentieth century people who accepted God as fact without elaborate explanations.
Transcendent means beyond the world and yet refers to real things. God is transcendent. A transcendent being such as God is not an object of direct human experience or of scientific reason based on the evidence of the five senses. Yet there are a vast number of testimonials by people who experience miracles attributable to this transcendent being and turn their lives around based on a belief in Him. Some rare humans have experienced God directly. Look at St. Paul.
Human values and emotional feelings are transcendent. Most of us value love yet we cannot experience it with our five senses and cannot sit down and deduce it from mathematical equations. Joy is not a sense but a state of mind like sadness that we call a feeling as we do our sense of touch. Joy and sadness are beyond the world because neither we nor those around us can sense them with our five physical senses. We call them feelings not because they are additional senses but because they are similar to what we feel with our senses such as touching a comely woman or a poisonous jellyfish. Yet love and feelings are real.