The insane asylum that is the liberal West, cont.
(Note: this entry lists the recent entries about gnosticism.)
Consider such recent events as the Fort Hood massacre, in which the Army and FBI before the massacre, and the mainstream media and the government after the massacre, ignored and denied the manifest jihadist beliefs of Nidal Hasan. Consider the fact that Western governments respond to Islamic terrorist attacks on airliners by refusing as a matter of principle to subject young Muslim men to closer scrutiny in airports and instead, in order to avoid discrimination, subject the entire air traveling population to useless, absurd, and demeaning treatment, as though we were the enemy, rather than the Muslim jihadists who are trying to kill us. Consider the fact that the more threatening Islam actually shows itself to be (with very substantial portions of Muslim populations in the West supporting sharia and terrorism), the more forbidden it is to mention this fact.
Then read this passage from Eric Voegelin’s discussion of gnosticism in The New Science of Politics, published in 1952 at the height of the Cold War, when the West was facing and had recently faced different adversaries from today, but the illusions and denials concerning those adversaries’ nature and intentions were similar:
The identification of dream and reality as a matter of principle has practical results which may appear strange but can hardly be considered surprising. The critical exploration of cause and effect in history is prohibited, and consequently the rational co-ordination of means and ends in politics is impossible. Gnostic societies and their leaders will recognize dangers to their existence when they develop, but such dangers will not be met by appropriate actions in the world of reality. They will rather be met by magic operations in the dream world, such as disapproval, moral condemnation, declarations of intentions, resolutions, appeals to the opinion of mankind, branding of enemies as aggressors, outlawing of war, propaganda for world peace and world government, etc. The intellectual and moral corruption which expresses itself in the aggregate of such magic operations may pervade a society with the weird, ghostly atmosphere of a lunatic asylum, as we experience it in our time in the Western crisis. [page 170]Our topic here being the Islam threat, it would be instructive at some point to list the various “magical operations” by which Western intellectuals and governments imagine they can make this threat go away. For example, think of all those liberals and conservatives who say that the answer to the threat of militant Islam is that Muslims in the Western countries “must” assimilate, or that Muslims in the Muslim lands “must” adopt democracy. Think of the security operations in American airports, in which the entire population are treated equally as possible terrorists and have to take their shoes off and have their underwear examined, while the population that contains the actual terrorists is treated as no more suspect than anyone else, because that would be discriminatory.
But what does this gnostic escapism have to do with the core definition of gnosticism as the injection of God into oneself so that one becomes God? Even as political gnostics construct a dream world in which imaginary threats to society, such as carbon emissions or little old ladies carrying bombs onto planes, will be met by solutions, such as Cap & Trade or Scan & Grope, that will give the gnostics political power over society, the gnostics ignore or fail adequately to meet the real threats that face society, such as Islam and mass Third-World immigration, because dealing with such threats seriously would not give the gnostics power but eliminate their power.