Monday, 1 July 2019

Why Leftism is a Spiritual Poison

It can be hard to make the case that leftism is spiritually destructive if you are discussing the matter with someone who operates under a totally different set of assumptions about life. Such a person can only see how their ideology might liberate a person in a worldly sense. And so it might (in some respects anyway), but they don't see that this aspect of things is altogether secondary. Indeed, it may even be counter-productive in terms of what really matters.

Everything comes down to first principles. If you have the foundations of your view of the world wrong then whatever you build on top of that is going to be wrong too. Leftism is essentially an ideology that derives from a this-worldly focus. It is grounded in materialism and atheism (clearly, since the two rose together), even if many of its adherents might think of themselves as spiritual believers. But their spirituality is humanistic which means it puts man first and any idea of God is only fitted into the needs and aspirations of man as he is on this Earth. Basically, leftism is the religion of humanity and it denies God, if not literally then as the chief end to which human attention should be directed. This is why leftism is, when viewed in the light of a God-centred understanding, actually evil. That might seem an over-the-top thing to say but hear me out. Because leftism reduces good to material good ( which we may tritely sum up as being nice), it obscures the real good which is rooted in the transcendent and its values of Goodness, Beauty and Truth as conceived spiritually, and focused on the spiritual needs and proper destiny of the soul. Such an approach which diverts attention from spirit to matter, prioritising the latter over the former, does effectively make it an enemy of the true good, and that is why it is encouraged by those supernatural forces who wish to separate man from God which also means separate man from his own true self.

Although this anti-good aspect has always been present, it has only recently become clear that leftism ends up (because nothing stays the same and seeds sprout) by giving preference to quantity over quality and replacing a natural, hierarchical order with an imposed spiritual disorder that is liable to conclude in totalitarian control because that's the only way the disorder engendered by egalitarianism can be managed. The (undeniable) fact that the old order was corrupt was used as an excuse to sweep it away entirely instead of returning it to its proper origins in God. But the inroads made by leftism could only have been made in a society that had already begun to lose touch with spiritual reality since once the basis of order with its roots in God is no longer acknowledged then the whole edifice becomes shaky and all the component parts of it can be challenged. So there are valid grounds for saying that there was a real need for the goods that a leftist ethos represents to be introduced into society. But what was suitable or even necessary as a temporary medicine became harmful when transformed into a permanent diet.

If all this had been instigated by love, love of the poor, the left behind, the suffering, then the results would not have been so bad. And, of course, there is this aspect to it. There was real concern for those groups and for people who were seen as the world's underdogs. There was a real need to redress an unfair balance in society. But this was not all there was to it and, increasingly, it became less and less of a factor. The real motivating forces behind much of the rise of the left over the last couple of centuries were resentment and hatred, and this has been easily exploited by the demons who pervert the course of history for their own anti spiritual ends. 

Essentially, and despite its good points which, of course, it has or it would not have been the success it has been, leftism is a rebellion against God. If you don't see that it may be because you are not properly orientated in your heart. You might have a spiritual health problem as so many people in the world do today. The fact that leftism, though false, derives from the misconception of a truth (the oneness of humanity) might make it harder to see, but a rightly ordered person should still be able to see that the truth has been distorted and twisted out of its proper context. Some people do see the falseness of the left and how it will result in a death spiral but their reaction to it takes place on the same level and is therefore part of the same materialistic/secular process. What is required is a higher response that shifts the whole debate to a spiritual level. Then leftists not solely motivated by grievance would see that the things they value are included but their relevance will be considered in a new light. For the greater includes the lesser but if you try to force the greater into the framework of the lesser, you mutilate it.

Leftism is an ideology. It is not based on an understanding of the human being seen in the overall perspective of what it really is but on a limited (material) part of it that has no independent reality. In contrast, traditions may need to be modified as humanity evolves (and it does, human consciousness does not remain the same) but they are built on real experience over centuries. They do not come from theories or abstractions but from life itself. And when they are modified, they are modified not uprooted and thrown out. The growth should be organic like that of a tree not artificial like a machine. Christ did not come to abolish the law or the prophets but to fulfil them.

Some of the ideas behind the left arose in response to a real need at one time. There is still a need for them. But this should be within the overall context of the world as traditionally conceived; that is to say, as spiritually conceived. It should not replace that but supplement it, as and where needed, and it should always be secondary to that. Now, unfortunately, it has supplanted it and what may once have been nourishing has become a poison. There is no doubt that leftist ideas arose at a time when humanity was discovering itself anew, and they were part of that discovery which, roughly defined, involved the advance into a more creative consciousness, more focused on the individual. But when they became separated from higher spiritual understanding and taken on their own terms the good they might have done turned to harm. The servant usurped the role of the master, and when natural hierarchies are toppled the only outcome possible is disorder and chaos.


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - All the major and mainstream Christian churches have adopted explicit policies that amount to a strategy of aligning Christian theology, doctrine, ritual, and activities with mainstream modern politics ... antiracism, socialism, pacifism, environmentalism, and esepcially the sexual post-sixties revolution through all its developing phases - all, of course, being various flavours of Leftism.

William Wildblood said...

Yes Bruce, and the reason for that is that their grasp of spiritual reality is virtually non-existent. They interpret it in the light of the fashions of this world. They quite literally do not know what the spiritual is and how it often conflicts with even the best worldly wisdom has to offer, someone like Gavin Ashenden being an honourable exception. There really is a sorting out of the sheep and the goats going on at the moment.

Bruce Charlton said...

"Some of the ideas behind the left arose in response to a real need at one time. There is still a need for them. But this should be within the overall context of the world as traditionally conceived; that is to say, as spiritually conceived. It should not replace that but supplement it, as and where needed, and it should always be secondary to that."

Yes, I agree that the original impulse was good, but was diverted and perverted.

Luke 11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

There was a spiritual hunger; but Leftism has given the sufferer stones and snakes to eat.

Chris said...

Hi William,

I've brought this up before ...... On your understanding of " leftism" , would that include the classical liberalism of the modern Western "right"? This is a question that has vexed for many years , is leftism a departure from classical liberalism or a natural consequence of it ? And more importantly , to what extent does Christianity or even a non-naturalist worldview have to do with this issue ? After all , secularism has a strong voice in the "right" and anti - materialists have a strong voice in the " left" . Would you make the case that an atheist fascist right winger and a liberal progressive open theist hold incoherent views ?

William Wildblood said...

Sorry Chris I don't feel qualified to deal with all the nuances of what I am calling leftism which is basically a secular way of looking at the world which regards humanity as existing in and for itself. Essentially any view that doesn't see our reality and destiny in God is incoherent as far as I am concerned and there can be many varieties of that, some more alienated from reality than others but all off centre.

Anti-materialists who have a strong voice in the left are trying to ride two horses going in different directions. Politics and spirituality don't mix. That was Judas's mistake. I wouldn't call myself of the right but I see the left as deriving from the rejection of God and the elevation of Man in his place.

Not a very satisfactory answer, i know, but I believe that politics is what you get when proper spirituality is denied.

Chris said...

No, I think it was a very satisfactory answer . It seems to me that you regard the key ingredient in leftism to be atheistic humanism . Is that fair ?
But , on such a POV ,that would make Nietzsche a representative of the left along with many strains of fascism . I don’t think that makes sense . See where I’m going with this ?

William Wildblood said...

Could we agree that the atheistic humanism derives from the left but spreads and infects other things which don't have to be pure left but are influenced by it?

Chris said...

I still don’t think so . In fact , I’m inclined to say that the left and right has little fundamentally to do with metaphysics . What I perceive as basic to this matter is the issues of liberty and equality . I think the defining feature of leftism is making human equality the sole highest value . What animates the right is the rejection of this . A dyed in the wool atheist can logically embrace either position .

Edwin said...

The difficulty of defining the principles that motivate what we call the Left is that there aren't any: it is entirely reactive. St. Augustine tried to describe evil as analogous to shadows in color or half-tones in music. Leftism has no autonomy but attaches itself to something else and tries to appropriate its values, but always distorts them. For example, equality in spirituality is based on sacrificial love as exemplified by Christ: everyone has a claim on Christian charity along with a duty toward it. But equality for the Left is defined in material terms: no one is allowed to have more of anything than anyone else - more money, more brains, more virtue, more beauty, etc. All inequality is considered an offense against justice. So, the field must be leveled, always by government fiat. The desideratum of the Left is impossible to achieve because it is unnatural, which makes it anti-God and anti-spiritual, and it foments endless anger and division- the very opposite of the fraternal charity that is its ostensible motive. Trying to find positive principles that form the bedrock of the Left is a fruitless task that will only end in contradictions. It is built on sand, and the sand always shifts with the wind.

William Wildblood said...

Edwin has made the point better than me (thanks Edwin!), but you are also right Chris that liberty and equality are the great dividers. However the point I would still want to make is that it is leftism that broke with a spiritual world view. Isn't it true to say that the right as such only arose in reaction to the left so the left was the great disrupter and the political right came about in response to that. In a way left and right are two wings of the same false thing but one was the initial falsehood and the other tried to counteract that and preserve something of what was real.

Chris said...

Edwin ,

I think what you said was basically correct
as far as it goes . But what would you say the “ Left “ is a reaction to ? The status quo ?
Is it merely another name for change ?

But, surely not all change is negative- there was a time when Christianity was the revolutionary force in society and the culture changed as a result of it .Was the early Church leftist ? Funny thing is that there are many on the “ right” who claim just that .

Chris said...

William ,

I see what you are trying to say , but I just don’t think it holds up . If the essence of the left is atheistic humanism, than Ayn Rand and George Bernard Shaw are in the same camp and that simply makes no sense . I think what you mean by “ leftism “ is a much broader concept like “ modernity “ . But I’m reluctant to say even that because I don’t know if it is true that the essence of modernity is the rejection of God and/or the spiritual ?

edwin said...

Chris: it is a reaction to God, to the order of creation as given. Change and reaction are not the same thing. You seem to be looking for categories, but life is not reducible to logic. As for atheists being diverse in outlook, Chesterton said that a man can fall at any number of angles, but he can stand upright at only one.

William Wildblood said...

Re Rand and Shaw, leftism and atheistic humanism are not the same but there is considerable overlap and each feeds the other. They are both, to borrow Edwin's phrase, rejections, possibly hubristic rejections, of the order of creation.