Modern political gnosticism -- like its premodern religious variants -- is an expression of "the horror of existence and a desire to escape from it." You will have noticed that for leftists from Marx to AOC, the dream world blends into the real world, such that "the dreamers adopt the vocabularies of reality, while changing its meaning, as if the dream were reality" (Voegelin).
If you've been paying attention to the Democrat clown show, what you see is a magical effort to transform the dream into reality and reality into dream. These two processes necessarily co-arise once immanence and transcendence are conflated and confused. Realms that must be distinguished in order to properly think about existence are promiscuously blended. Thus, "in the Gnostic dream world,"
nonrecognition of reality is the first principle. As a consequence, types of action which in the real world would be considered morally insane because of the real effects which they will have will be considered moral in the dream world because they intended an entirely different effect.
Then -- just watch! -- the inevitable gap "between intended and real effect" is blamed not on the Gnostic's failure to appreciate reality (including the reality of human nature), but on "the immorality of some other person or society that does not behave as it should behave according to the dream conception of cause and effect. The interpretation of moral insanity as morality... is a confusion difficult to unravel."
To put it mildly. Consider poor Joe Biden, who has been doggedly asleep in the liberal dream for some fifty years. But the dream has moved on -- which is to say, metastasized -- so rapidly that he simply can't keep up: busing is good, borders are bad, gender is whatever we want it to be. Frankly, when the first principle is nonrecognition of reality, there's nothing to grasp onto, not even straws, because there is no solid ground to thought:
The identification of dream and reality as a matter of principle has practical results which appear strange but can hardly be considered surprising. The critical exploration of cause and effect in history is prohibited; and consequently the rational coordination of means and ends in politics is impossible.
"Dangers" are recognized -- they cannot not be recognized -- except "such dangers will not be met by appropriate actions in the world of reality. They will rather be met by magic operations in the dream world, such as moral condemnation, declarations of intention, resolutions, appeals to the opinion of mankind, branding of enemies as aggressors," etc.
In short, irrespective of what happens in the real world -- say, for example, a flourishing economy -- Orange Man Bad! And if you are delighted by the record low unemployment of People of Color? White supremacist!
A deeper point, I think, is the jettisoning of our western tradition, which can only result in the eradication of civilization. I mean this literally, for the first step of civilization must be the vertical distinction between transcendence and immanence, which must be maintained in order for order to persist. (The creation story of Genesis is all about ordering primordial chaos by drawing and maintaining vertical and horizontal distinctions between God and man, light and dark, good and evil, man and woman, adult and child, life and death, etc.)
But it doesn't end there. Rather, you might say that the whole arc of salvation -- which is nothing less than the story of the West -- is the elaboration of the transcendent, ending, for the Christian, in Christ and his Church.
However, that "end" is only another (and endless) beginning, as it fertilizes and transforms the immanent. But the Gnostic has no patience for the time this takes (or just say Time, which is qualitative and organic, not mere quantitative duration). Rather, he wants his heaven here and now. He is too sophisticated to believe in God, but not sophisticated enough to distinguish God from man, the celestial from the terrestrial. Terrible consequences follow, every time. In short, this is where the dream turns to nightmare
Hope itself isn't the problem, properly understood. After all, it is a theological virtue. I have here a handy little book called The One-Minute Philosopher, which distinguishes between Hope and Wish.
The former "involves the conviction that, despite appearances to the contrary, truth and goodness will prevail." Thus, it isn't at all easy to maintain hope in the teeth of this depraved world, which is precisely why it is a virtue.
Please note that this is not the magical hope of Gnostic dreamers and ideologues. Any tenured yahoo can imagine a better world, but that isn't what we're talking about.
Rather, we're talking about accepting (and even loving) the world for what it is, and committing ourselves to its betterment. If we do not accept the world for what it is -- and human beings for what they are -- then our hopes will be completely misplaced. They will be reduced to wishes, and wishes to ashes.
For what is a wish? It "involves the fancy that, despite appearances to the contrary, our desire will be satisfied. To wish is to invoke fortune to bring us what we want, even when what we want is not good" (Brown).
Consider some of the implications drawn out by Brown: "hope is creative," but "wish is imaginative." While "I can wish for anything, I hope only for what is possible. My hope looks to the future, but is rooted in reality as it is."
And importantly, "what we hope for, we are also willing to work for." Conversely, a wish "has no particular bond with reality as it is, but feeds on fantasy.... Wishing is like dreaming: it is not confined to reality as it is, nor is there any good reason to believe that my wish will come true.... [U]nlike when we hope for something, we are not necessarily willing to work for it. We wish for all sorts of unattainable and frivolous things" (ibid.).
The left wishes socialized medicine would work, that college were free, that borders didn't exist, that members of the same sex could exist in a state of matrimony, that racial discrimination could end racial discrimination, that human fetuses weren't human, that women weren't women, that men weren't men... the wishlist is endless because desire and imagination are infinite.
But none of these things can be. We can try to force them to be, but the system will crack under the pressure of the denied reality. You could even say that politics -- which deals with the finite -- becomes cancerous when forced to conform to infinitude.
Why, for example, have our Supreme Court hearings become so malignant? Largely due to the twisted pettifoggery of Roe v. Wade. The left wants us to bow before this grotesque example of judicial wishery, so that only those who reject reality -- the reality of the human person -- are acceptable to liberals. This is bound to create tension, a tension that forces infinitude (the human soul) to be finite and finitude (a "woman's right to choose") to be infinite.
The marketplace of ideas is supposed to be a struggle of truth against truth, or, more accurately, a struggle for or toward truth. But what if it becomes a struggle for and against truth? For Voegelin, that is precisely what the political struggle involves, because it is the same struggle that is "waged on every level of human existence."
For example, it is axiomatic in psychology that pathology results from one part of the mind being at war with another. An unwanted truth is denied, repressed, or projected, and the psychic lacunae -- AKA the hole in your soul -- is unconsciously filled with the wish, the desire, the preferred state of reality.
Likewise, we enter dangerous pneumapolitcal waters when confronted "with persons who know that, and why, their opinions cannot stand up under critical analysis and who therefore make the prohibition of the examination of their premises part of their dogma." The result is "a conscious, deliberate, and painstakingly elaborated obstruction of ratio..." (Voegelin), or what we call logocide.
Yes, the cognitive tyranny of political correctness. I wish it weren't so, but for the left, it is what it isn't.