The Spiritual Unthropology of the Left
No, that's not just a rhetorical question, because the answer denotes a very different anthropology -- even an unthropology, really, since it is so anti-human. In my the margin notes to The Gospel and the Mind, I posed the questions: "what kind of person does liberalism produce?" and "What is the anthropology?"
Those questions were provoked by a brief discussion of Alan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, where he writes that "the teacher, particularly the teacher dedicated to liberal education, must constantly try to look toward the goal of human completeness..." (in Green). (Bloom is obviously referring to liberal in the classical, not contemporary political sense; in order to avoid confusion I will use the word "leftist" for the latter connotation.)
Since contemporary leftism knows nothing of "human completeness" (which it would reject on a priori grounds, i.e., a fixed human nature), this implies that an education steeped in leftism will not only fail to complete us, but actually aggravate our incompleteness and nurture a deeper alienation. It will thereby defeat the very purpose of education, and become a symptom of the disease it is supposed to treat.
It can hardly be overemphasized that Obama is our first president who is totally a creature of this illiberal, infrahuman, postmodern academic environment. A plurality of voters might well regard him as diabolical, but on a college campus, nothing about his beliefs would stand out.
For example, in The New Class Conflict, Gilder notes that 96% of presidential donations from Ivy League schools went to Obama. That is a level of ideological conformity that surpasses totalitarian states, because in the latter, people know they are being lied to and are therefore more skeptical.
And this depressing level of conformity is obviously similar in the media, so there is truly a media-academic-political complex at the root of the new anthropology: in short, it involves a system of people similar to Obama, reproducing people similar to Obama (foreseen by Bram Stoker's Dracula, in that the spiritually undead survive by putting the bite on the fresh living).
What does stand out about Obama -- and accounts for his success -- is a superior ability to conceal what he is about. In other words, what stands out about him is an ability to not stand out (at least to the "stupid" voters identified by Jonathan Gruber). Most likeminded ideologues are not the least bit ashamed of letting the world know what they think (speaking of Gruber).
For example, Dinesh D'Souza's America is full of leftists who are eager to beclown themselves, even knowing what D'Souza's project is about! That is, they are so insulated, that they think they can say the same things to D'Souza that they tell their impressionable students. Thus, they are clueless precisely where Obama is clever.
For us, the mandate is to be as wise as serpents but innocent as doves; but for Obama it's the other way around: dumb as a pigeon, cunning as a snake.
Everyone is a liberal and everyone is a conservative, in that we all have things we would like to change and things we'd like to conserve. Above all, the left wants to conserve its new anthropology, since it is the key to everything else.
Just as we have "organized crime," the left may be thought of as organized vice. For most of the history of the west, vice was recognized by the majority, and certainly had no articulate collective to defend it. The notion of vice being "organized" would have been absurd, except in the sense that satan must have his own way of organizing things.
But you name the vice, and it's there in the DNC's platform: class envy, homosexual lust, racial pride, slothful welfare dependency, greedy public employee unions, feminist wrath, and a fantastically gluttonous state -- not to mention violations of virtually every commandment, e.g., idolatry, atheism, theft, dishonoring the centrality of mother and father, and the main subject of this post, lying.
"What each generation is," writes Alan Bloom, "can be best discovered in its relation to the permanent concerns of mankind." To which the leftist responds: permanent things? No way.
In the relativistic and historicist fantasy world of the left, there can be no permanent things, which goes a long way toward explaining the systematic spiritual incompleteness it engenders.
That is to say, in reality, we are only made "complete" with reference (and in living relation) to things that are not only permanent, but outside and beyond us. Exclude these things from an education, and it is like excluding the answer from the equation. Or insisting there is no right answer, just meaningless equations for which we may supply our own answers.
Therefore, ironically, there is a kind of faux completeness to the left, something that has been true since at least Karl Marx. That is, Marx had all the answers; Marxism is a complete system that unfolds with scientific inevitability (the source of the progressives delusion that the left side is the right side of history). As with Islam, if it's not in the book, then it's untrue. Likewise scientism, despite Godel's assurances that such (merely) logical completeness is strictly impossible.
And nothing could possibly be as joyously incomplete as a genuine religious education, since this education is precisely a lifelong process of completing oneself via a living relationship with permanence as such.
"No real teacher can doubt that his task is to assist his pupil to fulfill human nature against all the deforming forces of convention and prejudice" (Bloom).
Which means that academia is overflowing with unreal teachers who deny and stunt human nature with deforming forces of social convention and ideological prejudice.