31 March 2016

When Progressives Get Religion

(Part one of two)

Columbia University linguist John McWhorter penned an essay last year which he defended on CNN:

In 2015, among educated Americans especially, Antiracism—it seriously merits capitalization at this point—is now what any naïve, unbiased anthropologist would describe as a new and increasingly dominant religion. It is what we worship, as sincerely and fervently as many worship God and Jesus and, among most Blue State Americans, more so.


For those who insist that religion must include a divine being, not so fast. Communism scholar Peter Sperlich:

Supernaturalism and specific deities are common, but not essential elements of religious systems.  ... Several indisputably “traditional religions” have managed to function perfectly well without specific deities; for example, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Jainism.
... If the chief characteristic of a religion is the belief in the reality of an unseen, it matters not whether this unobservable entity is a specific deity, the “spirit of history,” or the “laws of nature.” (1)
But psychology tells us that the conservative is far more apt to traditional religious belief than the progressive. So is McWhorter just blowing smoke?  

As it happens, he is not the first to test the waters of leftist ideology-cum-religion. The 20th century's greatest progressive idea, Communism, has been intriguing scholars for the last 100 years for its likeness to spiritual belief. The millions of pages written on the subject have taught us this if nothing else: The leftist, in his own way, seems just as prone to religious thinking as the rightist.

So to test McWhorter's assertion, let us take a deeper look at how the progressive has succumbed to the religious aspects of both Communism and Multiculturalism. Are there any real parallels? And what can this tell us about the pitfalls to which the leftist mind is vulnerable?