People are religious by nature. It doesn’t really matter what you believe regarding the existence of a God or an afterlife. There is an obvious need that is spiritual in its essence and will always find a form of expression. For the last decade or so I have noticed this need expressing itself in American politics.
My personal view is that politics makes a poor religion, and parties are a cheap substitute for a decent sect or denomination. Take for example the two main American parties. We see an extraordinary devotion to the Democratic and Republican parties playing out in our culture that has made the public deeply frustrated to the point of fielding strong support this year to complete outsiders. The party insiders of both sides seem equally frustrated at the public’s rejection of their attempts to anoint candidates of favor. There really seems to be a strange devotion to the chosen from within the machine that is being resisted by the sensible masses.
On the left side of things we have the Virgin Hillary, a kind of high priestess who’s claim to fame is that of being the mistreated bride of an amoral dirtbag who shucked and jived his way into a governorship and a presidency with a kind of bubba populist slickism that a few of us found contemptible, but many liked. She followed that triumph by winning an utterly safe seat that any Democrat not incarcerated could have won as it was vacated by the retiring Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Her final victory was to loose her party’s nomination to an unqualified teleprompter parrot who skated into the Presidency on the power of his amazing minority status, aided by white guilt and a lack of serious competition. She then went to work for this underachieving tool and became the lackey of a distracted failure who has more interest in how much gay ass-pounding goes on in Africa than he has in our national security.
On the right, things seem even more absurd if you can believe that. The insiders started with a mediocre governor who had the distinction of the name of Bush, yet possessed none of the likability of his brother. Jeb went nowhere, but he’s still running. In search of a likable prophet, the insiders have looked at a variety of options including the now defunct Lindsey, the anti-states’ rights nationalist Rick, and the very junior Senator Marco, who is turning out to be a lot more pliable in his commitment to the base than he campaigned as. None of these dillweeds seems to have the balls to really stand for what their base seems to want, and this is really a kind of commentary on the fallacy of the likable prophet. A prophet is one who ‘tells forth.’ Truth is implied in this, and in religious tradition, nobody likes a truth telling prophet who shows up declaring what’s wrong rather than what you want to hear. Ask Isaiah. They stuck his ass in a log and sawed him in half.
As far as religious themes go, this is very much a familiar tale. In the Biblical account, there was a newly founded nation called Israel arisen out of the oppression of a tyranny called Egypt, and in typology, this represents a virtuous remnant taken from a corrupt world. The nation was divided into twelve tribes, each one unique, not unlike the federalist structure of America’s fifty states. Occasionally God would send them a kind of prophet called a ‘judge’ who would… You guessed it… judge them. It wasn’t their favorite thing, and so by the time you reach the prophet Samuel, the people have largely abandoned the limited and divided structure they were given and demanded of Samuel, ‘Give us a king.’ It’s not at all unlike America’s movement away from federalism toward nationalism and a much more empirical presidency. The past is prologue. The problem with centralizing power and responsibility is that when evil men acquire power, the whole of the nation suffers instead of just a part. This was true under Jeroboam and Rehoboam as much as it is now. Let the civil war begin. There does come a point after all when there’s nothing left worth saving.
Devotion to the cult of politics holds precisely these types of conclusions, but of course nobody is interested in history, so these cycles simply repeat themselves. When politics becomes a quasi-religion, history is reinterpreted and reinvented to serve the dogma of the hour. It doesn’t matter that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ and the issues we deal with now have been dealt with already.
Sodom, Greece, and Rome all had their self-ruining fun with homos, but somehow this is a new and enlightened issue of civil liberties that will serve us better. The immorality of abortion was addressed by Hypocrites, but you think this is a modern argument about privacy and a woman’s choice. You give little or no charity of your own volition, but you vote for the people who create the programs that make other people take care of the poor, so you think you’ve absolved yourself of your moral obligation by thinking the right thoughts and feeling the right feelings. The cult of your politics arises. You are now invested with a partisan ideal to replace your personal need for a moral ethic to satisfy your spiritual obligation. You are very religious, yet you may not even believe in a God.
Within a religious cult there arise sacred doctrines that take upon themselves an infallible mystique. For example, in Catholicism, there is the doctrine of transubstantiation which mystifies the sacrament of communion. It doesn’t matter that Christ himself calls this sacrament a memorial; the establishment of the mystical character of the doctrine creates a moral objection to questioning its premise; this is dogma. By the same token we see the rise of political dogma. For example, wherever we have gun control we see a rise in crime, yet the partisan response to gun crime is almost always more gun control. The fact that it has never worked is not relevant. The dogma of the hour is that guns equal crime therefore less guns will equal less crime in some non-existent fantasyland out there. Another is that women are concerned about the legality of abortion. Now some of the polls I’ve read suggest that a floating majority of women between 55 and 60 percent generally want abortion to be legal. However, there are the occasional polls that ask whether or not a woman would ever themselves have an abortion, and the last poll of that brand I read said about 87 percent of American women would never themselves have an abortion for any reason. What does it mean? Clearly it means that the vast majority of women in America do not have any actual use for abortion, but there is an expectation upon them to confess their faith in the theology of the virtue of on demand abortion as a part of the cult of political theology for correctly thinking women. In other words, the polls are bullshit, and the vast majority of women have no use for abortion in America, yet it has become a doctrine and a statement of faith that is hard to speak out against. There is a pseudo-religious pressure that prevents the speaking of heresy.
Polls have acquired the mystique of doxology. They are like some bizarre sermon from a populist preacher who tells you what you are supposed to think. This is accomplished by reporting polls in the media as if they were published sermons. People feel a pressure to fall into line with what the Catholic body politic believes. If there is a majority opinion, your disagreement becomes a kind of heresy that you are uncomfortable expressing because this puts you outside the body looking in. If there is a growing minority opinion, you find yourself losing the the tide, or being swept into the new movement. It makes no difference that a growing tide of opinion is not a proof of anything being right or wrong, good or bad, divine or carnal. There is only the perception of being on the winning or losing side of things. The longing for a divine justice is present here and encourages you to conform or wait. If you conform, you acquire the perception of winning. If you wait, you keep your objection in silence and trust the divine to figure it out on judgement day. Either way, popularity becomes truth, and accuracy is irrelevant. In this way polls are a kind of lie that pressures conformity and dismisses objections. They are inherently biased by nature, and do not at any time serve the love or pursuit of truth. Sometimes that bias is flagrant. PPP recently conducted a poll and asked Americans if they approved of military action against an imaginary city with a Muslimish sounding name from the Disney movie Aladdin. This was followed by numerous articles deriding Republicans for wanting to bomb an imaginary city. The implication of this is what the media has already determined, to be a Republican and to disagree with us is to be stupid. Of course, the media did not report that a large number of Democrats wanted to save the imaginary city because they fancy themselves as the pacifist champions of peace, and the media also didn’t touch upon the point that the majority of the people answered the trick question with an ‘I don’t know’ answer. Of course they couldn’t speak to this because what’s obvious in it is that the people are generally honest, the polls are generally fraudulent, and the media is generally biased. It doesn’t support the sermon notes in the preacher’s message, so it doesn’t get discussed.
What does get discussed is confession and ecclesiology, as presented by the ministry of politicians who hope to find themselves elevated to the American papacy by our very own college of Cardinals, as directed by the sermon of populism. Floating to the right you will find the confessors who make their claims to the beliefs they say they hold dearly, a confession in the traditional principals of Americanism. They don’t actually do anything to preserve those principles, quite the contrary, in their zeal to acquire the day’s victory, they rush to the top and build a roof upon a sinking house with a broken foundation. They chase the imperial presidency like the prize of their faith yet wonder why government grows. They are the equal opposite of the same coin in the coffers that believe salvation is nigh if only they might reign as a Christ upon the throne of government, and they centralize power almost as quickly as their opponents would. They do little to achieve victory by the people and the states via Congress or the states and local communities.
Then there are the ecclesiasts, preachers of the leftward morality seeking to normalize deviance and gain victories without cost. They will tell you marriage can be defined by a log in the shoot and this has parity with procreation and the survival of the species. They will tell you their drone war shall defeat ISIS, even though no war in history has ever been won without soldiers. It is the false preaching of the hyper-religious cultist who promises victory without cost. You can call yourself married, even though there is no ‘marier.’ You can win a ground war with cylon-like air drones. You can get free food, free rent, free money, free education, free health care, free phones, a free fucking life of leisure that will cost you nothing because the mythically fantastical rich pixies of civilization’s top one percent shall be taxed of their magic dust whereby the evil fairies shall be chased out of Cornwall. Let us now sit with pious leisure beneath a tree beside Marx and compose a poem… a deeply religious poem or psalm in honor of a God called government, and the President is his prophet.
Then come the zealots. They used to knock on your door under the pretense of conducting a survey, “Don’t you think candidate so and so looks and sounds a lot like Hitler?” Then they call you during dinner, “Do you think it’s possible candidate so and so is the prodigy of Satan?” Next you could hear them on the radio calling in to popular talk shows, “I’m an independent, so you can trust me to be unbiased when I say such and such party is actually the kingdom of the anti-Christ.” Now we find them on the internet. Partisan shills float from site to site looking to misdirect discourse with bullshit arguments presented by websites devoted to how the other side is a big meanie. They troll those they don’t agree with and get into their business, harassing them on places like Facebook and Twitter, following them around the internet with sock-puppet accounts pretending to be other than who they are in their zealotry like the fanatical cultists they are. They think they do their side a service by winning at all cost, no matter how they slander, defame, lie, and deceive. They do not grasp that part of good religion is sound doctrine and personal morality. These are not the things that move the zealot who is eager to demonstrate that his commitment to the cause is very great because his religion is about his performance. In this way he becomes the self-proclaimed God of his own cult, he defines his own brand of alternative morality that suits his purposes, and he proceeds on the course of persecution against the blasphemous sinners who oppose him. Ultimately, the zealot of politico-religiosity is nothing more than a weak-minded fool who makes himself the tool and lackey of his party’s priesthood. Reason is lost on him. If you dissect his arguments he will misdirect the conversation. He will assert parity when he or his side has been caught in dishonesty by claiming they do it too because dishonest people always believe everybody else is just like them. They will waste your time with never ending arguments that eventually become nothing more than justifications of what they already think rather than a pursuit of truth. When all else fails, they will bully you. They will stalk you online and they will set up fake accounts pretending to be you so they can post outrageous nonsense in your name as an attempt to discredit you, label you a racist or an idiot. These are the tactics of the pathetic little pussy who is the zealot of his partisan cult. He hates your freedom and will do anything he can to shut you up, and he imagines he is making America a better place because little people without significance love to imagine themselves the hero of their own tale.
There’s nothing really that can be done about the rise of politico-religiosity. Real religion costs something while fake cults seduce you with ease and pleasure. It’s always going to be easier to pull down your neighbor instead of restraining yourself. Pursuit of self is ultimately the chief theology of politics as a religion. Denial of self is at the core of good religion. Personally I’d rather hang out with a real religious figure like Jesus then a fake politician like CultBama, or insert your favorite whipping boy. I’m not after a quick win, a dishonest victory, and I have no need to make of myself something more than I am, so while you pledge your oaths of loyalty to your favorite cult, I think I’ll hang out and drink a beer with Jesus. He’s better company.