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One of the ironies, as some have observed, is that the secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor. It is taking on all the trappings of a religion – including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake – social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.
I will not dwell on all the bitter results of new secular age. Suffice it to say that the campaign to destroy the traditional moral order has brought with it immense suffering, wreckage, and misery. And yet, the forces of secularism, ignoring these tragic results, press on with even greater militancy. Among these militant secularists are many so-called “progressives.” But where is the progress? We are told we are living in a post-Christian era. But what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? And, what is a system of values that can sustain human social life? The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion.
In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.
In the past, when societies are threatened by moral chaos, the overall social costs of licentiousness and irresponsible personal conduct becomes so high that society ultimately recoils and reevaluates the path they are on. But today – in the face of all the increasing pathologies – instead of addressing the underlying cause, we have the State in the role of Alleviator of Bad Consequences. We call on the State to mitigate the social costs of personal misconduct and irresponsibility. So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion. The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites. The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as the ersatz husband for single mothers and the ersatz father to their children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with the wreckage. While we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them. We start with an untrammeled freedom and we end up as dependents of a coercive state on whom we depend.
The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of ‘Resistance’ against this Administration, it is the Left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law. This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day. It was adverted to by the old, curmudgeonly Federalist, Fisher Ames, in an essay during the early years of the Republic.
William Barr Quotes 1-5 out of 5
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