To properly introduce this article, I needed an example of egregiously brainless progressivism. So here’s one example I found by spending 30 seconds on CNN: “What Justin Trudeau, the anti-Trump, could show America.” I’ll provide the relevant excerpts:
When President Barack Obama hosted him at a state dinner Thursday at the White House — the first for a Canadian leader since 1998 — it offered a prime opportunity for Justin Trudeau to show the new face of Canada, the second most diverse country in the world, as progressive, moderate and tolerant.
It is not accidental that his delegation to Washington includes two senior women ministers, underscoring the fact that his Cabinet is half female. When asked in November why he insisted on gender parity, he answered, “Because it’s 2015!”
He is accompanied as well by the minister of national defense and the minister of economic development, both Sikhs who wear turbans. And his foreign minister, a Francophone from Quebec. There are also many parliamentarians who are visible minorities.
The point: Canada is about diversity. Since the Liberals took office, Canada has admitted 25,000 Syrian refugees; Trudeau greeted the first planeload personally in Toronto.
They are among the 300,000 immigrants Canada will accept this year, the highest in some time.
Female ministers, mass immigration, Muslim and otherwise, “gender parity,” the list goes on. Diversity: check. Progress: check. Tolerance: check. “It’s 2015!” Checkity-check-check-check.
Our more perceptive readers will have by now already identified the ethnic origin of the article’s writer. David Cohen isn’t trying to hide anything, after all. This will close the case for some of our less perceptive readers. It is fairly easy to read these bizarre paeans to diversity and conclude the motivations stem from interethnic competition, whether overt or covert (or even subconscious). Between expulsions, pogroms, the Frankfurt School, Marxism, Freud, etc. there would certainly be an extensive historical record to back up the reality of such competition. And yet, “/pol/ is always right” is more accurately “/pol/ is right about half the time, which, demographically speaking, is about twenty-five times more right than /pol/ should be expected to be, although the farther back in time /pol/ looks the less and less right it is.”
Diversity, equality, tolerance and the rest of the lot of contemporary progressive values are indisputably corrosive to civilization as they are today practiced. Interethnic competition, especially between comparatively larger and smaller groups, can be indisputably vicious, whether openly violent or more discreet. And yet, the measly lot existed before the emancipation of the Jews in the early 19th century, before which Europe’s Jewish population was less Wall Street and Hollywood and more like Europe’s gypsy population, but with rabbis and Torah study. You don’t need Mencius Moldbug to determine that leftism and progressivism predated Marx and Marcuse. Even Wikipedia notes that “Jewish emancipation followed the Age of Enlightenment.” Here’s a telling page titled “Napoleon and the Jews.” Long story short, Napoleon made Jews equal with Christians because equality, liberty, diversity fraternity.
Moldbug spent a lot of time proving that progressives are a “nontheistic Christian sect,” specifically, a sect of Protestant Calvinists. He spent a lot of time going over the mutations of beliefs and the cladistics thereof. I won’t repeat him too much because I recommend everybody read Foseti’s excellent review of the Puritan Thesis here. Moldbug’s theory of the origins and workings of leftism/progressivism obviously conflicted greatly with the other main theory going around the thoughtcrime underground, which had to do with Jews, Marx, Bolshevism, ethnic competition, and the Frankfurt School.
If Moldbug had a weak point, it was that he emphasized too much history and too little general theory. It is easy to set up a false dichotomy of Puritans vs. Jews, and even easier to try and compromise between the two with: must’ve been both, let’s all get along here.” The truth is that Moldbug’s theory was basically one well-researched instance of a larger phenomenon of decay, specifically, the decay of religion and belief, and, through that, the decay of civilization as a whole.
How can we demonstrate this? One good way would be to find an instance of a religion other than Protestantism that degenerated into leftism, progressivism, or something similar independently of the Calvinists, Universalists, et al., and decayed in a similar fashion as Puritanism decayed into today’s puerile progressivism.
Meet the 1800s French Religion of Humanity.
The Religion of humanity was described by Thomas Huxley as “Catholicism minus Christianity”.
Sounds pretty similar to Christianity without Jesus, no? I will continue to quote liberally:
In addition to a holy trinity of Humanity, the Earth and Destiny, it had a priesthood. Priests were required to be married, because of the ennobling influence of womanhood. They would conduct services, including Positivist prayer, which was “a solemn out-pouring, whether in private or in public, of men’s nobler feelings, inspiring them with larger and more comprehensive thoughts.” The purpose of the religion was to increase altruism, so that believers acted always in the best interests of humanity as a whole. The priests would be international ambassadors of altruism, teaching, arbitrating in industrial and political disputes, and directing public opinion. They should be scholars, physicians, poets and artists. Indeed all the arts, including dancing and singing should be practiced by them, like bards in ancient societies.
If we replace “destiny” with “progress” and “the Earth” with “climate change” (or perhaps “the Environment”), this weird, made-up 19th century French secular religion sounds a lot like contemporary progressivism – Humanity, the Environment, Progress. The ennobling influence of womanhood? This was what, 1851? I can’t help but find all this stuff about increasing altruism for the best interests of humanity vaguely familiar. And the other three activities listed for priests of the Religion of Humanity correspond almost perfectly to academia, diplomacy, and the media, the three lynchpins of today’s progressive Cathedral that reigns from Harvard to the State Department to The New York Times.
The High Priest of Humanity was to live in Paris, which would replace Rome as the centre of religion.
The fellow who came up with this secular, positive, and rational religion was Auguste Comte, founder of the discipline of sociology and of positivism. Comte was French through and through, and his chief influence and one-time employer and mentor was Henri de Saint-Simon, an 18th century French aristocrat who was very concerned with ensuring meritocratic, rational managers and scientists made the key decisions in the government. Comte influenced Marx and Durkheim, one generation younger than him and both Jewish.
Davies argues that Comte’s austere and “slightly dispiriting” philosophy of humanity – viewed as alone in an indifferent universe (which can only be explained by “positive” science) – “was even more influential in Victorian England than the theories of Charles Darwin or Karl Marx”.
Is our Cathedral more French and Catholic than Jewish or Puritan? Possibly. It would explain why Cathedral remains an instinctively apt description but Polygon or Synagogue just don’t quite capture the essence of it. I would bet in France the Cathedral is more French than foreign. David Cohen is not echoing particularly Jewish ideas about diversity, humanity, etc., but particularly French and Anglo-Saxon ideas that originated in the 18th and 19th centuries, some seemingly independently of each other. Canada, coincidentally, is the world’s only Anglo-French country.
It looks like French Catholicism, reeling from the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, also demonstrated an ability to have the Jesus surgically removed by an enterprising religious entrepreneur. It wasn’t just Anglo-Saxon Protestantism that had the demanding parts of religion cut out over time until it was left with nothing but sentiment and platitude. Going back through history reveals a lot of religious oddities, not rarely connected or related to new or odd ideologies, especially comparatively left-wing ones.
Religions, as complex sets of beliefs and ideas that underpin civilization, can undergo decay – intentional or not – and this decay is probably predictable based on the particular make-up of the religion itself. What is interesting is that more than one unique religion has perhaps decayed into almost exactly the same kind of leftism/progressivism.