L-dotters love Commentary’s wacko redefinition of America
The other week I discussed David Gelernter’s idolatrous article about America that appears in the current Commentary:
Gelernter redefines Americanism as no longer merely a civic religion, but (I kid you not) as a “Judeo-Christian religion” (you heard right: he defines Americanism as a “Judeo-Christian religion”), the central belief of which is that every person in the world is “entitled” to “democracy, freedom and equality,” because “freedom comes from God.” … What the neocons mean by this “entitlement” lingo, which conservatives of all stripes used to shun like the plague, is that all humans on earth—just as they are, with no demonstrated commitment to these principles on their part and no demonstrated capacity to realize them in practice—have a positive right to democracy and equality, and that it’s our God-given mission to give it to them.Well, the Gelernter piece was linked today at Lucianne.com, and guess what? The L-dotters are just wild about it.
Gelernter’s re-casting of Americanism as a religion reminds me of a similar ploy the neoconservatives tried to pull off in the early 1990s. Immigration restrictionists had criticized the neoconservatives for defining America as an idea, not a culture. In response, neoconservatives such as Francis Fukuyama came back and said that they too saw America as a culture. This seemed like an important concession on their part, until you realized that what they they meant by this American “culture” was simply the values that lead to a productive economy; in other words, they had adopted an old conservative term, “culture,” and given it a neoconservative meaning. (Fukuyama’s trick was exposed by some letters published in Commentary.) Something similar is going on with Gelernter’s article, though it’s not clear to me that he consciously intends any Fukuyama-type trickery. That is, he calls Americanism a “Judeo-Christian religion,” and to na´ve conservatives this sounds very “conservative,” because it seems to be defining America in terms of a substantive religious tradition. But this “religion” turns out to be just another formula for expressing the neocons’ global democratist ideology, which in fact is destroying America’s substantive culture. Thus in the name of the “Judeo-Christian religion” of Americanism, the neocons continue to support the open-borders policies that are bringing Jew-hating, Christian-hating Moslems into this country.
Like the left, whom they increasingly resemble, the neoconservatives adopt conservative-sounding rhetoric in order to win public acceptance of agendas that are anything but conservative.