The changes in our society since the fall of communism were not predicted by anyone at the time. This article summarises what we can see in retrospect and it is not pretty. Marxism and Conservatism are being replaced by a deviant form of secularism.
The most obvious change since the fall of communism is the rise in other forms of extremism. Extremists brand their opponents as evil. The increase in Islamic Extremism is well known and there have been various other extremist movements globally. The truly shocking development however is the rise in secular extremism.
Secular states such as the USA and UK used to have leaders who took pride in trying to understand the other side in a conflict. We were proud of our ability to see the humanity in the other side of a conflict even if we were implacably against their aims. It is notable that when Cherie Blair voiced such sentiments about suicide bombers in 2002 she was vilified in the press. Something had changed.
Democracy only works if we believe that our democratic opponents are basically people like us who happen to have a different viewpoint. If we have been convinced that our opponents are evil then we cannot support their right to have a say in the governance of our affairs. This is why religious conflicts are so intractable because religions label their opponents as evil and lost.
In the absence of religion people still feel a need for moral guidance. The State is now taking on this role and is progressively defining what it is to speak hatefully, what is acceptable or unacceptable in social interactions and what is acceptable in the workplace. It is extending law into what had previously been areas of thought, speech and action that had been between a person and their God. The objective of much of this legislation is to make us into “good” people rather than simply ensuring that the environment supports health and freedom. The State is providing the function of a religion in the absence of a belief in God or gods.
The high priests of the new state religion are largely broadcast media journalists and pundits. Even our comedians now see themselves as custodians of the new State morality and pundits who do not agree with the broadcast media consensus are excluded. The priests are narrowing their cult in the fashion of any new religion.
Those who have lived through these changes can see them as an irksome cult followed by people in the public eye but those who have been raised under them believe that the new secular cult is the true religion. This is extremely dangerous because the priests do not hesitate to use their power of moral condemnation when instructed by their employers.
Political discussion is now about the way in which those who oppose the views of the cult are evil rather than the policies or problems that they advance. This is not a mode of thought or behaviour that is compatible with democracy. It is the soft left parties like New Labour and the LibDems in the UK and the Democrats in the USA, the parties of the comfortable, corporate or government employed middle classes who are the heart of the new extremism.
Looking to the future the cult has no real beliefs and can be manipulated by cynical rich and powerful forces to do its bidding. What has happened is not that people who accept the cult have become “better”, they have become extremely tractable to those who manage them. The new extremism is inherently unstable because it has no real philosophy at its core, it is just a collection of “moral” judgements by those who govern.
The secular extremists have obtained a great deal of power in our democracy. If they are not fought with a never ending campaign opposing the use of moral condemnation in politics and supporting freedom of speech and democracy the West will fall.
Secular extremism is extremely polarising, the comfortable, corporate or government employed middle classes are vindicated by excluding people who they believe to be immoral from their social groups. In the UK the opponents of Secular Extremism are largely members of the old guard, people who believe that politics should be rational, and they have largely resisted being polarised against the extremists. In the USA there is a distinct risk that those who are not secular extremists will polarise against them.
The rise in secular extremism is actually the fruit of a long campaign to destabilise society by what was originally the Far Left – see Postmodernism-poststructuralism-postmarxism
This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog: http://pol-check.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-new-extremism.html