Saturday, December 6, 2008
Via Maggie's Farm, I came across the essay "The Religion of the Left" by Gerard Van der Leun. I think it's awful, and that its awfulness takes multiple forms: The accusation that the left is all about "the self," as if collectivism and egalitarianism were not leftist tendencies. The unbacked assertion that since there are mysteries at the frontiers of cosmology and quantum physics, therefore we are impelled toward a traditional theism. The conflation of the material world and meaninglessness, as in the phrase "purposeless matter hovering in the dark," without any sense of the differences between, say, a human brain and a cloud of debris. The confusion of political and metaphysical disagreements, as if there were no religious leftists or secular rightists. Smug pseudoprofundity has no fixed position on the political spectrum, as Van der Leun proves.