Antichrist Update Vol. 8: Left Wing Gnostics and their Chronic Temperament Tantrum
There's a reason why hardcore leftists -- I mean, the true believers, not just the typical confused or dim Democrat -- are such assouls, since political inclination has more to do with temperament than people might realize. Being that the B'ob is temperamentally sunny, lighthearted, and so very gay, he could never find his soul's rest in leftism, which is predicated on such anger, envy, bitterness, paranoia, leaden seriousness, deep unhappiness, and general "sourness." For the leftist, life sucks, and only the government can turn things around and make it really blow.
That being the case, one wonders how Barry Obama, the young stoner with the seemingly laid back, live-and-let-live "island temperament," could be a member of an angry and paranoid church that preaches racial supremacy, America hatred, anti-Semitism, and other vile doctrines that can only find fertile soil in a soul that is already enraged and looking for a place to organize, focus, and project the rage? In other words, this kind of church doesn't make you nuts. You have to be a nut in order for it to appeal to you in the first place.
First of all, by his own admission, Obama has struggled with the notion of "identity." Now, most mainstream commentators -- since they are virtually all materialists -- have reduced this to a superficial materialistic analysis, i.e., that he is "bi-racial" (as if there can even be such a thing outside the race-obsessed leftist's mind), so that he was essentially left without a tribe. And in primitive tribal culture, a man without a tribe is a dead man. A leftist without his tribe is like a bee without a hive, or an ant without a hill, or a rapper without his posse.
Again, this all follows from the leftist's cosmological inversion, in which existence precedes essence, rather than vice versa. In other words, on any properly spiritual view, one is born with a spiritual essence that is anterior to existence, as it is "created" by God, not a contingent result of accidental cultural and historical forces, such as raceclassgendersexualorientation. Therefore, the idea that any leftist candidate could ever be "post-racial" is not even a lie, it's an absurdity. It would be like a sheep running for shepherd on the grounds that he will be a post-flock candidate. He can bleat about this all day long, but it is in the nature of sheep to identify with the flock.
Likewise, the Democrat party is a coalition of groups, not individuals or consistent ideas. It is a "herd of independent group minds," a Big Chief Crazy Quilt of flocking idiots, journalistic hack animals, buffaloed herds, moveable riots, mass rally crying jags, giant snit-ins and other demonstrations of affect, schools of economic fish stories, snivel rights agitators, cairing allahgators, heards of poor listeners, whordes of sex-workers, feline prides of lyin' shemales, educational kennels of K - 9 kosbags, pods of peaheaded publications, plagues of lawyering locusts, boring nests of teeming tenuremites, coops of chicks who look more like dudes, and gaggles of gaydom and boring Goredom spanning the gamut from goofy weathermen to those who don't know whether they're men.
So Obama, in order to be a viable Democrat, had to tap into one of the prominent streams of anger, envy, bitterness, and divisiveness that define and animate the left. Oddly, his whole appeal was based on the misperception that he was beyond this sort of destructive divisiveness, but this is about as realistic as an Arab leader claiming to be "beyond the differences between Muslim and Jew," without which they could not be an Arab leader. For what does the Arab political world have to recommend itself except for an officially sanctioned target for their overflowing rage, envy, sexual insecurity, and low self-esteem? In other words, all the Arab leader has to offer his people is death to Israel.
Similarly, what does the Democrat leader have to offer his various tribes except for Bush, or Cheney, or Rove, or Halliburton, or the Wealthy, or scary Christians, or Creationists, or White Racists, or misogynists, or "homophobes," or the End of the World? What's left of the Left if you remove these "containers" of projected rage and fear? Only the free-floating rage and fear.
Now, America was founded as a -- as the -- Culture of Liberty. But as it so happens, there is no liberty without individuals, and no individual without liberty. (By the way, this is one of the areas where I strongly disagree with the "integral movement," which talks about a "higher we," which is actually just Marxism in disguise, and why they are almost always on the left; there's already a "higher we," i.e., the Body of Christ, understood in its Cosmic dimension -- in other words, the cosmic Body of Christ is the proper "we" with which the individual "I" may be reconciled, bearing in mind that this Christ is merely focussed in the lens of Christianity, but permeates the spiritual dimension in a nonlocal manner, "blowing where it will" in "other sheep who are not of this fold.")
For example, William F. Buckley, the founder of the modern conservative intellectual movement, was primarily concerned with preserving the individual, and for obvious reasons. I don't know if you had the chance to read the commemorative edition of National Review, but after reading all the eulogies and tributes, one comes away with the overwhelming impression that there has never been someone like this, nor will there ever be again.
This was a man who incarnated American ideals by utilizing liberty to actualize his potential in the most extraordinarily diverse ways, but always in the context of the "higher we" of the "American spirit," so to speak. It was not individualism for its own sake, but in order to "become" everything that his Creator intended for him to be, which is the purpose and vector of our liberty. His political philosophy came down to arguing that "the culture of liberty deserves to survive": "freedom anticipates, and contingently welcomes and profits from, what happens following the calisthenics of the free mind, always supposing that that freedom does not lead the mind to question the very value of freedom, or the value and authority of civil and moral virtues so to designate themselves."
Thus Buckley's unwavering -- but good natured -- hostility to the left. "Good natured" because he knew that life was short and that there was no ultimate salvation in politics anyway. Perhaps the best we can hope for is a righteous battle in a (horizontally) lost cause, but that's life, and it is surely Christianity.
And this is indeed the broad purpose of the spiritual life -- or let us just say "life": to become what you already are. The purpose can never be to become what the group wishes for you to be, for this is slavery, not liberty. Classical liberalism enshrines a sort of liberty that implicitly promotes the use of it for higher ends, since it is a "gift" given for that purpose. Its alternative -- leftism in all its forms -- enshrines the idea that your liberty is a privilege granted by the state, subject to revocation if you do not use it to promote slavery, whether intellectual, political, spiritual, sexual, or economic, for liberty is One.
As Michael Heller argues in Creative Tension, postmodernism has succeeded in displacing man from the "privileged margin" to an "average center" of the cosmos. In other words, flatland materialism actually effaces the spiritual individual and replaces him with the selfish atom, as it were, so that Man's true existential needs -- which are intrinsically spiritual -- can never be engaged in any meaningful way.
Yes, the One became many so that the many might become One. But not so the bourgeois could become the faceless proletariat, or so that you and I and our children's children could slave away not just to fund the fantasies of the left, but to work toward the abolition of Mankind and the individuals of which it is composed.
It's a shame when one perfectly good word gets tarred by another through no fault of its own. A case in point is genuine spiritual gnosis vs. the political "gnosticism" discussed by the philosopher Eric Voegelin. In the April 7, 2008 National Review, Jonah Goldberg has an insightful article on the politics of left wing gnosticism as it pertains to the Obama campaign, a campaign that goes to the very core of the left's spiritual pathology. It again demonstrates what happens when one abandons the "authorized" channels of religiosity for manmade ones, which ends up elevating man to a god and politics to his religion. In so doing, it collapses the critical distinctions between time and eternity, natural and transnatural, freedom and constraint, and other essential complementarities within which man lives -- and without which he isn't a man at all.
One difference between gnosis and gnosticism is that people without spiritual gnosis -- e.g., atheists and materialists -- are necessarily "exterior" to the domain it discloses, and yet, proclaim this infirmity to be a kind of superiority, or ultimate health. But in reality, a person who is not seduced by the group fantasies of left wing gnosticism is in a superior position to judge them, since he remains within the confines of objective spiritual reality.
In this regard, it would be interesting to know how many of Obama's supporters, like Obama himself, belong to heretical gnostic Christian churches that preach a spiritually inverted "liberation theology," as this would tend to confirm my view that real religion is the best defense against false ones.
We shouldn't be surprised that the spiritual path of the left mirrors the universal stages of purification, illumination and union, only in reverse. First comes union with the new messiah. For example, Goldberg notes that "Obama recruiters are encouraged to proselytize not by talking about 'issues' but by testifying about how they 'came to' the candidate..." In short, there must be a "conversion" process, a "metanoia," in which the scales suddenly fall from the Obamian's eyes -- i.e., he "sees" the truth, the thigh tingles, and he joins the cult.
Goldberg writes that "Obama’s apostles include his wife, Michelle, who insists she is 'married to the only person in this race who has a chance at healing this nation.'" In this regard, she has testified that “We need a leader who’s going to touch our souls because, you see, our souls are broken.... The change Barack is talking about is hard, so don’t get too excited, because Barack is going to demand that you, too, be different.”
Thus, after one merges with Obama and is illuminated by the Truth for which he stands, ones commences with the hard work of purification, as we struggle to make ourselves worthy of the grace we have received. In other words, ask not what Obama can do for you. Ask what you can do for Obama.
Goldberg cites numerous examples to show how much of the messianic language that encircles Obama "is more New Age than New Testament." He quotes Gary Hart, who says that the Anointed One "is not operating on the same plane as ordinary politicians,” but is an "agent of transformation in an age of revolution,” whatever that means. Likewise, the dreadful spirit hustler and enlightenment pimp, Deepak Chopra, claims that Obama represents “a quantum leap in American consciousness,” while another pneumapath and career guru, Eve Konstantine, says that he “is our collective representation of our purest hopes, our highest visions and our deepest knowings.... He’s our product out of the all-knowing quantum field of intelligence.” (Deepest knowings? She doesn't even know that "knowings" isn't a word.) And Oprah Winfrey suggests that Obama doesn't only "speak" truth but is the Truth who will help us “evolve to a higher plane.” Ironically, such sentiments are possible only in a Christianized mind that is no longer Christian.
Of course, in left wing gnosticism, God does not work through the individual. Nor does he work through the interior collective, or any kind of "higher we." Rather, he works through the instrument of that coerced labor camp known as "the state," which will take control over the spontaneous order of the free market and attenuate the true "interior bonds" of civil society. For progressives, liberty is not the solution, it's the problem, because it tends to lead to the exercise of free will, which in turn emphasizes the sanctity of the individual.
The heart of Goldberg's piece involves a discussion of Voegelin's point that progressivism is a political religion and therefore a form of gnosticism. This religion has "two core assumptions. First, it condemns the existing world as broken and alienating, plagued by evil forces preventing a complete and happy restoration of man’s spiritual and material life."
So the progressive, in his own garbled way, recognizes that man is "fallen." However, "the gnostic promise, to borrow a phrase from John Edwards, is that 'it doesn’t have to be this way.'" Thus, the second assumption; as Russell Kirk observed, these religions promise "a mode of deliverance or salvation from the prison of the world for man through a secret gnosis." By manipulating people with the right policies, we can create a "'kingdom of heaven on earth' -- not coincidentally, a phrase invoked by Bolsheviks, progressives, fascists, and every other variety of utopian collectivist. This effort to lasso the hereafter and pull it down to the here-and-now was dubbed by Voegelin 'immanentizing the eschaton'" (Goldberg).
Different denominations of leftism will have different secret formulas and incantations to create their utopia. For Marxists, "the secret lay in the intricacies of scientific socialism.' With just the right manipulation of material or historical forces we could -- ta-da! -- create a land where each lives according to his need.... For the progressives, the trick was giving ourselves over to the social planners and gnostic 'ideologists of Christ'.... today, the secret is Barack Obama." Goldberg cites a creepy video "in which children testify about the dire state of the world." It then "cuts to a baby opening a copy of The Audacity of Hope, complete with a whispery spirit voice promising a 'secret.' The video concludes with one child after another announcing that the secret is -- Barack Obama."
As I mentioned above, the wave of Obama support rides on a deep structure of religious energy that is unrecognized by those most susceptible to it. In fact, as Goldberg says -- and as I have noted in the past -- "the craving to create a heaven on earth is the inevitable consequence of a godless society." Or, to paraphrase Pope Benedict, "the loss of transcendence leads to the flight to utopia."
The very definition of "totalitarianism" is the "existential rule of Gnostic activists": "Indeed, the story of totalitarianism is the story of men trying to replace the allegedly discredited old God with one of their own creation." So de-divinization always preceeds the "redivinization" of explicit left wing brainwashing. This is certainly how it worked for me in college. First you discredit religion, and then replace it with with a pseudo-religion that occupies the vacant spiritual territory. It took me years to undo this ironically named "higher education," which specifically forecloses the higher.
From this follows the worship of man -- not even Man as Such, the image and likeness of the Creator -- but usually a man. "Or, in Voegelin’s words, they 'build the corpus mysticum of the collectivity and bind the members to form the oneness of the body.” In short, we finally become the anonymous ones we’ve been waiting for. Or, more accurately, you will be forced to wait upon the narcissism and self-victimization of the infantile ones constituting the progressive mob.
Time to cowboy up!