Tilting At Windmills

I (and many others) have written often about the obvious religiosity of Progressivism, and about its being, quite plainly and transparently, a secular continuation and direct descendant of the Puritan “mission into the wilderness”. A particularly instructive aspect of this atheistic quest for holiness and salvation is the patently crypto-religious “climate-change” crusade. Early last year, after a conversation with a liberal friend on the topic, I had this to say:

I was struck once again by the clarity with which global-warmism reveals itself as a secular repurposing of the religious impulse — a deep and universal human yearning that, in the corroded cultural aftermath of the Enlightenment’s skeptical acid-bath, has lost a transcendent God as its referent, and now wants very badly something else to plug into.

The mythos, from Genesis to Redemption, has been transplanted almost entirely without alteration:

In the beginning, there was only God.

From God arose Man.

Before his Fall, Man lived simply, and in perfect harmony with God. It was a Paradise on Earth.

Then a disaster happened. Man acquired a new kind of Knowledge: knowledge that he did not need, but that conferred upon him enormous temptation. In his unwisdom, and against God’s wishes, Man succumbed. His new Knowledge gave him great power, but at a terrible cost: he had turned his back on God, and his Paradise was lost. In his exile, he would wield his ill-gained power in prideful suffering and woe.

But then came a Messenger, offering the possibility of Redemption: if Man were to renounce his awful Knowledge, and learn once again to surrender himself to the love of God, he would be forgiven, and could find his way back to Paradise. It would not be easy — it would require that he make terrible sacrifices, atone for his many sins, and give up his worldly comforts and much that he had come to love — but if his faith was strong, his Salvation could become a reality, and he could once again live in Paradise, in sweet communion with God.

In order to move from the old religion to the new one, we need only substitute “Nature” for “God” in the passages above. That the two conceptions are almost perfectly isomorphic, and that both are manifestations of the same underlying impulse, should be plainly evident. But perhaps one must be a heretic oneself to notice it.

A hallmark of religious crusades, and of mass movements, is an indifference to unintended consequences. For the True Believer, when the end is holy enough, it justifies any means. For an excellent and illuminating example, of this, read this account of the E.U.’s missionary work on the lonely Atlantic island of El Hierro. It has it all. It is also a fine example of why centralization of vast federations under remote and indifferent bureaucracies, whose functionaries are entirely insulated from the consequences of their decisions, is such a very, very bad form of government.

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One Comment

  1. whitewall says

    El Hierro may as well be Detroit or East Saint Louis or any number of lost causes. The sheer “goodness” of the lost cause makes its support a sacred duty. Ever growing “sanctuary cities” seem to be in this line of “thinking”.

    Posted November 16, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink