The Great Progressive Church
Psychologists say that people need religion in one form or another, and will always invent a theology if they are not given one. I'm not the first to notice that the rise of thetic, unchurched, Godless Secular Humanists has resulted in liberals meeting this human need by converting Progressive Ideology into religious doctrine and admiration for Progressive leaders into unquestioning worship. Self-righteous calls for civility aside, this explains why they get so angry and vicious when you challenge any of their tenets. You are not disagreeing with them over policy. You are attacking the core of their religion, and their reaction is often the same as if you told a member of the Westboro Baptist Church that Jesus wasn't divine or a member of the Muslim Brotherhood that Mohammad was a fake. Blasphemy cannot be tolerated by fundamentalists of any stripe.
Of course, like all religions, the Progressive Church has degrees of belief, from the moderates, who are rather like Christmas and Easter Christians, to the Fundamentalist Progressives, who respond as you'd expect from a Salafist told that Allah wasn't really in favor of slaughtering Jews. (Why are you picking up that stone?)
To understand the Progressive Church, you must first understand that for them, intentions matter, not results for real people. If they can feel all warm and fuzzy about intendions, the actually outcomes are of no interest. Note that they find no cognitive dissonance when their principles collide with each other or with reality -- they just ignore it, in the grand tradition of many great religions.
And just as some Christians believe in "The Elect of God" -- people pre-chosen for salvation -- the Progressive Church has groups of the "elect" and groups of despised infidels who are not going to heaven. But as with many religions, you can join the Progressive Church and be among the saved by accepting all the canons and renouncing other political beliefs.
The Progressive Elect are Muslims, Gays, Blacks, Hispanics, Women, the Poor, and Union Members. I've tried to put this in order, but it changes frequently as the Progressive Mullahs issue a new Fatwa. And I'm sure I've missed some. Thus, right now, Gays trump Blacks, but Muslims trump Gays. So if conservatives oppose gay marriage it is an atrocity, but if Muslims call for the murder of gays, it is a heartwarming display of Multiculturalism.
Of course, all Professing Progressives are among the Elect, including wealthy Progressives, though wealthy non-Progressives are among the worst of the infidels.
Among the Canons of the Progressive Church are:
Multiculturalism. This trumps almost everything right now. Any mention of Islamist violence is, for example, "Islamophobic," and truth is not a defense.
Environmentalism. Progressives make much of their support for the poor, but are willing to grind them into poverty to feel all green and fuzzy. So pumping corn into alternative biofuel while starving the Third World is tough for the hungry, but high on the list of revered behaviors. The Third World poor don't vote here, after all. Global Warming must be accepted and believed, and the poor must tithe to Al Gore to reduce carbon emissions, regardless of cost. The cascading failures of tax-supported green energy companies don't signify, because intentions matter, not results. Looking at any contrary evidence is blasphemy, and not permitted, just as the Medieval divines convicted Galileo of heresy for claiming that the Earth revolved around the sun-and to look at the evidence was not permitted.
Gay Rights. Universities kept military recruiters off campus because of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy ordered by Progressive Mullah Bill Clinton. Go figure. Gay rights in the U.S. are sacrosanct. Gays being executed in Muslim countries are not worth mentioning - they don't vote for or contribute to Democrats, after all.
Feminism. Progressives think it's an outrage if you don't want to pay for free birth control for yuppie law students, but completely ignore the stoning of women, child marriages, female genital mutilation, honor killings of female relatives for even speaking to a strange man and oppressive inequality of women in Muslim countries under Shari'a Law, because to notice it would be heresy against their multicultural canon.
America is evil and must apologize to the world. They don't often say it, because it might lose votes among the bitter clingers, unless you catch one preaching "God Damn America" without challenge from any noted parishioners. But you can see they believe it from their actions.
Israel is evil. Israel is not only an American ally, but the only multi-party democracy in the Middle East, and tries to preserve freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and equality for women. Naturally, all good Progressives despise Israel, even Jewish ones. Scratch a Progressive, and if you don't find a Star of David, you'll likely find an anti-Semite. It's more advanced, of course, in more Progressive countries like France, but violent anti-Semitism will grow here as the Progressive Faith grows.
Race matters a great deal, culture not at all. As a conservative, I believe the opposite, but this is how it is, though they talk about a post-racial America. (If you actually had a way to eliminate all racism, they'd murder you, because it's their rice bowl.) One of the interesting features of the Progressive Church is their ability to believe that any policy disagreement with Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Susan Rice or Charlie Rangel grows out of your brutal Jim Crow racism, but that their most egregious, vile attacks on Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, Colin Powel, Allan West, or Mia Love were entirely based on disagreement with their policies and actions. Sure. And Jesse Jackson can declare Budweiser racist, not fit to drink for Progressives, until Bud rewarded his sons with lucrative beer distributorships, when a fatwa was issued making Bud hahal for Progressives to consume again. Racial blackmail is perfectly acceptable to the Progressive Church.
Racism drives everything non-Progressives do. So White Rule in Rhodesia was evil and had to be destroyed. Never mind that Black Rule there dropped black life expectancy by 10 to 15 years, destroyed the economy through hyperinflation and turned the country from a food-exporter to one stalked by starvation. Intentions mattered, not the deleterious results for the poor black folks who actually lived -- and died -- there. And 59% of whites voting for Romney is clear evidence of terrible racism, while 95% of blacks voting for Obama is not. Thus, the media can edit tapes and pictures to make that "white Hispanic" George Zimmerman look racist, but can ignore black flash mobs attacking whites, Hispanics, and Asians. Also not to be mentioned is that 53% of the murders are committed by the 13% of the population that is black, with upwards of 85% of the victims also being black. But tough law enforcement would be racist, so black folks must die on the Progressive altar. Truth, again, is not a defense.
The Rich are evil-but only if they earned their money in business and are not Progressives. So mega-millionaires Michael Moore, Warren Buffet, Al Gore, George Soros, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Jim Johnson, Franklin Raines, Tax Cheat Tim Geithner, Angelo "Friends of Angelo at Countrywide" Mozilo and any number of entertainment and athletic stars are all righteous people, while a couple each working 60 hours a week to bring home $260k are among the evil rich who aren't "paying their fair share." Of course, Progressives who get caught with their hands in the cookie jar become invisible. See Obama's real estate angel and convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko or Obama bundler Jon Corzine, who misplaced a billion bucks of the customers' money. Hey, I bet you've misplaced at least $100M yourself more than once.
The Bush Tax Cuts Benefited only the Rich. Never mind that the tax bill for average folks also went down, that many on the lower end stopped paying any taxes at all, and that after the tax cuts, the wealthy paid a larger share of the total tax revenues -- which went up. Raising taxes is about theology, not revenue.
Guns are evil. Never mind that the cities with the strictest gun control have the worst crime, or that as gun ownership has gone up crime has dropped, or that thousands of decent citizens save themselves from violence every year with their legally-owned guns. The Progressive Church decrees guns evil regardless. And don't think of making your hunting rifle into an "assault rifle" by putting a black folding stock and bayonet lug on it. Guns that look more dangerous are more dangerous.
Everything depends on who says it. If Obama said in 2008 that raising the debt ceiling was unpatriotic, and in 2011 that voting against raising the debt ceiling was wrong, both statements were true, because Obama said them. If Democrats and George Bush both looked at CIA intelligence and concluded there were WMDs in Iraq, the Democrats were using the best data they had, but Bush lied. When Obama and Susan Rice repeated CIA talking points about Benghazi (mysteriously changed by persons unknown) they weren't lying, they were repeating the intelligence they had. If Bush had said it was a spontaneous demonstration, that would have been a lie, because Bush said it.
Children are a high priority. As long as they are children of the Progressive Elect voting blocks in the US. So banning DDT to save the birds to feel good about the environmental was wonderful, and several million dead black, brown, and yellow kids from malaria in the Third World mattered not at all. Nor did the birds, of course, when it was time to build eagle-chopper wind farms in homage to Big Green.
A Progressive fatwa making something Halah (allowed) or Haram (forbidden) may be issued by any of the Progressive Mullahs such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Michael Moore, Harry Reid, Jo Biden, Paul Krugman, Nancy Pelosi, the New York Times or many others and will be instantly adopted without question or thought by all Fundamentalist Progressives. There is, it must be noted, a theological debate right now in the Progressive Church as to whether Barack Obama is the reigning Progressive Pope, or actually a Progressive God -- our "Lord and Savior" as Jamie Foxx recently preached.
The issuing of fatwas means that new Progressive Canons pop up all the time. The most recent is that requiring voters to identify themselves to vote is racist, there is no real voter fraud and thus requiring ID is evidence of conservative voter suppression. (The NBPP thugs with nightsticks outside polling places in Philadelphia are, of course, not voter suppression because they are black.) Never mind that voters were required to have voter cards for a long time without Progressives noticing the racism. Never mind that voter fraud has a long history in the city political machines (mostly Democrat) from Tammany Hall to the First Ward in Chicago, where "floaters" were paid 50 cents a vote to chain vote as often as possible. (I recommend The Lords of the Levee.) Never mind that Lyndon Johnson became a senator through voter fraud and JFK may have been elected president in 1960 due to it. The Church decrees now that fraud doesn't exist.
But if you ask why it isn't racist to require minorities to identify themselves to cash a check, fly, drive, buy a gun, buy alcohol, buy tobacco, sign up for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Welfare, or to enter a government building, Obama rally, or the Democrat National convention, they will deflect or ignore the question. Apparently it's fine with liberals that a large number of Blacks and Hispanics are prevented from doing these things because they can't get ID, as long as they can vote as often as they want, no questions asked. The Fatwa was issued by Mullah Holder and others and they all now really believe that any effort to eliminate fraud is racist. And they will not look at the evidence. One Progressive told me there was no evidence, but if I sent him some he'd look at it. When I did, he decided the site that linked to the evidence was biased, therefore it would be blasphemy to look at the links -- thus saving himself from having to look in the telescope or challenge his beliefs.
As with any great religion, there is a lot more to the Progressive church than this brief overview, but I hope I have put it into perspective. I will continue to engage with Moderate Progressives, who are willing to discuss policy rationally. But I'm going to try to avoid the Fundamentalist Progressives, who believe anyone who disagrees with them is evil, stupid or both, because disagreement is heresy. It's not worth the conflict. And, eventually, they'll justify violence as a response. The extreme Left, like the extreme Right, always does. Progressive Jihad is coming.
Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam Veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts Senate. He is the author of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic. All royalties go to help wounded vets, but for a free PDF of this 80-page book, write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.