The beginning of the re-thinking process on which our survival depends

Bartholomew writes:

Good morning Mr. Auster,

I thought I’d pass along an encouraging word which was offered to me after I read from an essay of yours yesterday in Sunday school (for adults).

I was visiting a church which was going through a book by Dr. David Jeremiah, What in the World is Going on? A lively discussion ensued, and since I was a visitor, I remained silent and listened. It was evident that several in the room were aware of and angry about the trashing of America’s Christian heritage, which I gathered is the primary focus of the book, and yet they did not understand why or how it was happening. In the video, Dr. Jeremiah offered several theories (moral decay, historical cycles, etc.), and yet I could tell they were not satisfied by these rather question-begging answers.

I wanted to say something, yet it seemed that my own thoughts were as chaotic and grasping as the ones I was hearing. Finally, something reminded me of your response to the Pope’s speech to Muslim leaders last September (which you had re-linked a few days ago here, under the title, “How right-liberalism opens the door to left-liberalism”). I remembered how well I had thought it explained the leftward slide so ubiquitous in the West. When I finally took my turn to speak, I read the article, struggling to keep my voice under control. You have to understand, these are Christian people, but they are by no means truly conservative. I wondered how they would react to the broader references you make in your discussion of culture and race.

The room fell silent. A few people asked me to read parts of it again, and I provided some clarification of what I thought you meant in this spot or that. People began nodding in agreement. More than one thanked me for reading it, and one even asked for the source so he could study it in more detail later. Speaking slowly, as if still working it out in his head, he said that after hearing what you had written, he finally understood why, for example, the church was having so much difficulty defeating homosexuality (an on-going fight in my own denomination). People are afraid to tell the homosexuals “No,” he reasoned, because we are afraid of violating their equal dignity just as we’re afraid to tell the Muslims “No” because we’re afraid of violating theirs.

At that point, I was having trouble listening to the Holy Spirit and just keeping my mouth shut (which I knew I was supposed to do). I was too excited. Here before my eyes people were beginning to put the pieces together, regular church-going folks. Your article said nothing about homosexuals, explaining only the general principle of leftism as it relates to Muslim-Christian relations. It didn’t matter. They saw immediately the implications for every other item on the leftist wish list.

Keep up the good work, sir. And know that the understandings and insights you have expounded on this blog are being re-sown. Who knows? Perhaps the time of harvest is not so far off.

LA replies:

That’s very good to hear. Thanks for sharing it with me. I think that entry about the Pope’s position on Islam is my clearest and most concise statement of how right-liberalism (known today as “conservatism”) leads automatically to left-liberalism and thus to the destruction of society. Particularly this passage:

Now, “the inviolable dignity of every single person” is a classic articulation of right-liberalism, also known as “conservatism.” Right-liberalism says that all men have equal dignity, therefore all men must be treated alike, therefore we must without discrimination let all kinds of men enter and be part of our society. But because in reality all men are not alike but belong to very different and mutually incompatible cultures, religions, nations, races, etc., the right-liberal respect for all kinds of individuals instantly leads to the left-liberal accommodation and surrender to those individuals’ cultures, religions, and races, which in turn leads to the destruction of the host society, including its right-liberal principles which caused the society to admit those individuals in the first place.

I am thrilled that you read this to the church group and that they responded positively. And it’s even more exciting and impressive that, as you point out, they accurately applied my analysis of the Muslim problem to the problem of the church’s inclusion of homosexuals, even though the homosexual issue was not even mentioned in my article. This shows that they were grasping the principle of right-liberalism, not just responding to a one particular hot-button issue.

LA continues:

You say that the people in this church group are not real conservatives. However, insofar as they are concerned about the spreading acceptance of homosexuality by the Christian churches, to that degree they are conservatives. And, as such, they have been paralyzed by the same contradiction that besets all conservatives. Which is:

(a) They believe that all individuals should be treated alike and without discrimination regardless of their background, culture, sex, sexual orientation, etc., because people’s backgrounds don’t matter, only their equal individuality and equal rights as human beings under God matters;

(b) They are concerned and anxious about the growing threats to their culture or religion coming both from liberals and from demographic groups and sexual minorities that are hostile to their culture or religion; and

(c) They never make the connection between (a) and (b). Because (a) is a sacred, unquestionable belief, it doesn’t occur to them that (a) is the cause of (b).

Here is a story that exemplifies this intellectual paralysis. In 2006 I attended a dinner in New York City in which Baroness Cox addressed the Islam problem. At one point in the discussion, British columnist Melanie Phillips, seated a few seats to my left, spoke with searing passion about the Muslim threat in Britain. I then made my usual point, that Muslim immigration had to be stopped, and, preferably, reversed. In reply, Miss Phillips, with the same searing passion with which she had just been decrying the Islamic threat in Britain, said that Britain was a “secular liberal” society and that its secular liberal belief system must not be challenged. Her clear implication (though she did not put it in those words) was that my proposals regarding Muslim immigration were out of the question. It never occurred to her—it was beyond her grasp—that the secular liberal belief system, with its ideal of the non-discriminatory inclusion of all peoples of all backgrounds, was the sine qua non of the growth of the Islamic threat in Britain.

If the West is to have any chance to save itself, one of the things that must happen is that conservatives begin thinking through their own, so-far unexamined (liberal) premises. That some members of your church group seem to have begun this re-thinking process is very heartening.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 25, 2012 04:01 PM | Send

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