Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Liberalism as Secular Religion [SK]

Jonah Goldberg nails it:

As someone who subscribes to the view that liberalism is a secular religion, it is very frustrating that liberal politicians do not offer up a paper trail for people to scrutinize the way conservatives do. Liberalism has a dogma as rich and serious as conservatism, but you can't go to a liberal politician and ask: Are you loyal to John Dewey? Richard Rorty? John Rawls? You can't ask what their bible is because they are acolytes of the bookless faith of good deeds, the cult of do-goodery. So when they argue for keeping "religion" out of politics they are saying "keep your religion out of politics." When they say that we need to "get past ideology" they are saying we need to get past your ideology. This means that conservatives must constantly defend their own territory rather than demand a similar accounting from liberals.

Unfortunately, our political culture is ill-equipped with dealing with this fact. This wasn't true before Woodrow Wilson and the New Deal cemented a new conception of the primacy of government in our lives. The assumption that the state should be an all-purpose problem solver is a deeply ideological — I would argue religious — position. But we have been trained not to see it that way. And so we don't ask the right questions.

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