Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The False Religion and Comte/Croly's Son, Obama

The 'religion of humanity,' Croly, and Obama.

James Ceaser:

...the 2008 campaign was about something much larger than Barack Obama. The character of the event will not be grasped until the focus begins to shift from Barack Obama to the yearning for Barack Obama. It is in the thoughts and actions of those who adored him that the most interesting and important dimension of the campaign took place.

The rise of the Religion of Humanity is what best describes this event. This strange term designates an actual sect, now defunct, that enjoyed a considerable following and prestige in intellectual circles in the 19th century. John Stuart Mill was a prominent convert, pronouncing the “culte de l’humanit√© [to be] capable of fully supplying the place for a religion, or rather (to say the truth) of being a religion.” In America, where the religion wore the respectable label of the “Church of Humanity,” the acolytes included the well-known journalist David Croly and his son Herbert, the founder and longtime editor of the New Republic.

Many will recognize Herb Croly's name; he was the principal theorist behind much of Woodrow Wilson's aggressive Statism--and that of FDR, for that matter.

Mill and Croly were both intellectual disciples of the French social philosopher Auguste Comte (1798-1857). Though rarely studied in America today, Comte bequeathed an enormous legacy. He was the first to simplify and popularize the idea of a progressive movement of history, which he described as proceeding through three great epochs: the age of theological thinking, the age of metaphysical thinking, and the age of scientific or “Positivistic” thinking. (“Positivism,” referring to the scientific mindset and approach, was one of Comte’s many linguistic inventions.)

The concept of 'legal positivism' grew from that root, by the way. And Comte was influenced by Rousseau, an utterly despicable creature who tossed his children into orphanages. And that "progressive movement of history"? Look to Darwin's theory as applied in social science.

Yes, all the heresies are connected.

Back to Our President:

The combination of confidence in science and a religious-like enthusiasm was the hallmark of the Obama campaign, just as it is the most salient characteristic of the contemporary progressive impulse. Confidence in experts and the pledge to “restore science to its rightful place” went hand in hand with chants of “Yes we can” and with celebrations of the gift of charismatic leadership.

Another thought-provoking observation:

Postpartisanship, we are told, never meant anything as mundane as dealing with the other party. It referred instead to working with those who embrace the consensus of the new era. It therefore explicitly excludes the bulk of the Republican party, which comprises those who cling stubbornly to their theology and metaphysics. Only those elements that have adapted or evolved qualify as potential postpartisan partners. The standard for inclusion is not an expression of popular will, but criteria supplied by the idea of progress. What has made many Americans increasingly suspicious of the office of leader of Humanity is their growing perception that it rests ultimately on contempt for the people.

This is the 'elitism' which quickly spawned the populist reaction--the TEA Parties. To be repetitive, the TEA Parties are not partisan, although they are very convenient for the Republicans. In fact, the TEA Parties are a reaction to Republican elitism--which happens to espouse the very same "progressive/humanitarian" principles that Comte/Croly advocated.

If you think otherwise, that progressive mentality infested the engineer Herbert Hoover--whose activism during the bubble-driven Depression was just as ineffective as is that of his philosophical progeny today. Do you think it's a co-incidence that Hoover was a scientist?

...reality has a way of asserting itself, and it is becoming clearer by the day that being the leader of Humanity is incompatible with being the president of the United States. No man can serve two masters.

Indeed.

Ceaser, mistakenly, identifies GWBush as a 'retrograde,'--a non-Progressive--which is erroneous. Bush and his father were and are certifiable Progressives, although one could argue about the degree to which they are infected with the disease.

The entire essay is not lengthy; read the rest at the link.

HT: Hot Air

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