To use the most culturally transgressive phrase possible, God killed the Left.
David Gerlenter writing in the Wall Street Journal says something self-evidently true. The Left seems to have won every single culture battle fought.
“Although the right reads the left, the left rarely reads the right. Why should it, when the left owns American culture? Nearly every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation. The left wrapped up the culture war two generations ago. Throughout my own adult lifetime, the right has never made one significant move against the liberal culture machine.”
Yet the real mystery — one which even Orwell himself did not anticipate — is why, despite having won every culture battle, the Left has lost the war. Look around you. Every single country which adopted socialism as an economic system went bankrupt. The Soviet Union collapsed. Now the Western Gramscian project is self-immolating in the fires of its own absurdity. The current political crisis is the collective shudder of mortality passing through “every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation”. The left may have “wrapped up the culture war two generations ago” but it is rotting inside the wrapping.
The only thing one can be sure of is that the Republican Party didn’t cause it; nor did their tame and feeble publications. In fact not even publications like Breitbart, valiant though their efforts were, can claim credit. Trump couldn’t have done it either, since the proud tower that Gerlenter describes would have been impervious to the mere touch of the orange-hued real estate mogul without some other factor in play.
Yet most of us know who did it, though we hesitate to name the obvious suspect. The Left even in its downfall has stilled our tongues. The word comes to the edge of our lips before we choke it back, fearful even now of the ridicule and abuse we will get should we blurt it. That word is God. God killed the Left.
The problem with the unconstrained vision of mankind as one that can be “improved” upon, moulded and shaped into a perfect form to create the ideal utopian society is that human nature cannot change.
And time and time again, the Progressive-Liberal experiment in all its forms throughout history–at least as far back as the first utopian-seeking settlers who came to these shores in the 1600’s looking to improve society who found their reality crashing up hard against the rocks of starvation, disease and death–is that no matter how good our theories are, reality intrudes.
The Bible suggests man was created in the image of God, and the right embraces this limitation, understanding that we are who what we are. Our fall from grace, our personal struggles, our climbing to redemption: these are all personal affairs, necessary for each of us to face in our own ways. The right does not seek to improve the nature of man, only to build guard-rails and fences in order to protect society. And while we may engage in a deep and potentially divisive debate as to where those guard rails and fences belong–certainly my own view is far *far* more libertine than many of my conservative fellow travelers–the ultimate debate is not how to change man, but how to protect his fellows.
But the Progressive Left has its own theories and visions of the future, most of them drawing upon a distant past which the Left would rather deny in its own nihilism. And these theories seem wonderful: a world without hunger, a world without violence, a world without want–but they never really examine what these things would actually cost. And I think many on the Progressive Left fool themselves as to the price we would need to pay–and that is the fundamental transformation of mankind into a supposedly “better” view.
One “better” than our own God-given image.
And that’s why the Progressive Left may continue to win the ideological battles: the vision they present is too good, the image of the future they desire too wonderful, too idealistic for us to set aside casually. Who wouldn’t want a world without want, without hunger, without need?
But they will forever lose the war. Because a world without want can only exist with people who are programmed not to desire. A world without hunger is one where people are programmed to provide regardless of their own desire. A world without need is populated only by those without desire for self-preservation.
And a world without desire is an utterly pointless and disgusting exercise in futility and nihilism and self-extermination.
So the Progressive Left may fall, their image may degrade, they may run screaming into the night.
But they’ll be back, with their idealistic visions of a utopian society, forgetting the price to be paid is the extermination of our collective souls.