Mass confusion!

Talking past each otherDanny, here! Have you noticed how we, as a nation, increasingly talk past each other? So, hang with me here while I make my case for why.

We are trying to accommodate two fundamentally incompatible and opposite moral codes: a Judeo-Christian code and a Marxist-Progressive code. We on the Judeo-Christian side of the equation make the mistaken assumption, when we appeal to terms such as “good”, “evil”, “right”, “wrong”, that these words mean the same thing to our audience. For many (most?), they don’t. Unfortunately, the Marxist-Progressive code has been ascendant in the U.S. since the late 19th Century (even among conservatives), whereas the Judeo-Christian code has been in decline. Most people today flounder to resolve their world perceptions in the penumbra between these two completely different and opposite moral codes: hence, the confusion. So we need to understand the “why” of this divide.

The Judeo-Christian code, buttressed by deep roots into Ancient Greek moral philosophy, is an ethos that emphasizes the singular worth of every individual and accountability to a higher power (God). This person-centered moral code views each individual as an agent of their own destiny with the capacity and responsibility to choose between right and wrong and to suffer consequences of their actions. We may or may not buy into this individually, but this ethos still defines much of our national character.

The Marxist-Progressive code, which began in the 1700s, rejects Judeo-Christian definitions of “good” or “evil”, “right” and “wrong”, “virtue” and “character”: in the Marxist-Progressive world view, such term are largely meaningless. Instead, their moral code breaks down as follows:

Materialism: there is a militant emphasis on wealth and power. Right and wrong, despair and happiness are usually defined by the degree of people’s access to “stuff”. What matters not is how much stuff one has, but how much one has relative to others. Witness their approach to poverty: whereas Judeo-Christians emphasize the virtues of thrift and industry and decry materialism, Marxist-Progressive solutions to society’s ills (think social justice) inevitably revolve around reapportioning stuff from disfavored groups to others. Ditto for foreign affairs.

Collectivism: Their code defines humanity not as individuals but in terms of group memberships. Individuals are no longer held responsible for their individual decisions but are forever fated by their group identities. These groups are arranged hierarchically of easy-to-apply labels, such as religion, race, ethnicity and wealth. For example, if you are black, you are by definition poor and oppressed by white people. Thus does the Ivy League-degreed daughter of a wealthy black dentist in Washington, DC trump victimhood status over the GRE-holding son of an out-of-work, Appalachian coal miner. Heck, even Oprah Winfrey can still claim victimhood status. But not if you are a white cop trying to preserve law and order in a black community. Collectivist labels don’t work, of course. When labels overlap and conflict, great confusion: witness the hilarious force-fit of terms like “white Hispanic” in the Trayvon Martin affair.

Power structure: Finally, this code arranges society into three different umbrella classes: the oppressed, the oppressors and (wait for it…tad da!) The Champions of the Oppressed…let’s call them COOPs. The COOPs represent a self-anointed Brahmin class that encompasses the Liberal-Progressive elites. Membership in the COOP class is cheap: whereas oppressors and the oppressed easily fit under the collectivist labels described above, all one needs to do to qualify as a COOP is to publicly espouse the Marxist-Progressive Creed and donate to the right party. Understand, one doesn’t have to live the Creed or actually sacrifice any thing…one needs only to talk the talk. COOP membership serves as a writ of absolution for all individual actions and consequences. Thus, one can be filthy rich, drug-addicted, slum lording, environment polluting, capitalist, vicious, immoral, exploitative or otherwise parasitical, but it doesn’t matter. Being a COOP gets you a free pass and (bonus!) a self-anointed moral plane among your peers, well above the rest of us social riff-raff. We Judeo-Christians may wish to refer to all this as cheap-Grace hypocrisy, but that’s irrelevant. They don’t care. It’s not within their moral lexicon or world vision to comprehend.

Most Americans, I suggest, don’t fall on one side or the other, but flounder within the confused middle trying to accommodate both value systems. This floundering affects our worldviews. On a domestic level, this confusion is bad enough…as, for example, believing that the solutions to social ills involve throwing money at them. On an international level, it could prove fatal. I recall after the 9/11 attacks, one of my parish priests tried to convince me that the solution to Islamic terrorists (collective label) was to send them aid (materialism) to show that we, the West (oppressor), could resolved their (oppressed) needs in a peaceful manner. So, the solution was to send material aid to Saudi Arabian islamists. Really!

Putative conservatives are also subject to such confusion. I recall the moment when I relinquished my hope that Colin Powell could ever qualify to be our first black President. It was during the aftermath of the Iraqi evacuation of Kuwait, when our A-10s and choppers were wreaking havoc on the retreating elements of the Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard. In the minds of Powell and President Bush-I (COOPS), the evacuees were transformed by our air power from evil incarnate (oppressors, to be destroyed, like the SS in WWII) into the oppressed (victims), so the attacks were halted. As the Talmud advises us, “kindness to the cruel is cruelty to the kind”. The Republican Guard went on to slaughter 100,000-plus Shiites, when they rose in rebellion against Hussein…thereby setting the stage for the next conflict and all of its sad, bloody consequences today. Bush and Powell’s decision showed me that their moral confusion would cause them to choke when asked to make hard moral and strategic decisions between “bad” and “worse”.

But, of course, that’s a Judeo-Christian value judgment.

So, try it…apply this Marxist-Progressive model world view to the news and opinions we share and debate in the Bookworm Room. See how well it helps you to the “other”.

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  • Ymarsakar

    Except I don’t flip around. I’m pretty constant around One, although I don’t attribute it to the religious background.

  • Michael Hiteshew

    I think that’s partially correct. It applies to many people who don’t give much thought to these matters.

    However, I think many people in the Progressive Elite are simply opportunists and manipulators. They don’t actually believe any of the Progressive claptrap, it’s just a means to an end, that end being their wealth and power.

    Into that group I would put the Clintons, Al Gore, Obama/Biden, Sharpton/Jackson, and many people in politics in general, especially on the Left.

  • Charles Martel

    Michael Hiteshew, I agree with what you said. The stink of opportunism surrounds so many people on the left.

    This would horrify our highly credentialed, perpetually status-obsessed friends on the left to hear me say this, but they have a conniving peasant mentality about them. By that I mean they cannot conceive of a system where wealth actually increases. so the goal in life for everybody with even modest gifts should be to acquire enough power to rise above the mass and keep that mass at bay.

  • Blick4343

    Danny L. is right. this dichotomy of Judeo-Christian and Post-modernism is well noted since Francis A. Schaeffer and CS Lewis. Michael is also right that Leftists are opportunists and do not believe their liberal dogma of tolerance , caring and do-good-ism. For without a Moral system related to a higher power to give value to the individual; all they have is the selfish grab for power and money to lend meaning to their lives. They just prefer for themselves have the power and money rather than some one else. It is the only way they can have any independence in life.

    Conservatives see with their mind, Liberals see with their emotions. That is why they cannot see eye to eye.

  • Charles Martel

    Danny, thank you for a clear description of the vast gulf between the Judeo-Christians and the Marxist, anti-Semitic left.

    I hate to say this, because it is a brutal thing to say, but we are at war. There is no room left for nicely discussing our differences over tea and finger sandwiches. The man who is my hero, Charles Martel, did not face his Moorish foe simpering and asking “to give peace a chance.” He hammered them until they broke, and he saved Europe from savages and their primitive religion.

    It’s time to rally our hardened and seasoned Franks, the warriors that the Moors (the left) don’t think exist. It’s time to call out Obama and his nancy boys with massive civil disobedience. Let them know that they’ve roused an armed, crazy, and dangerous sleeping giant.

  • Kathy from Kansas

    And you don’t have to be a Jew or a Christian to be on board with “the Judeo-Christian code.”

    There are moral, pro-Western-civilization atheists, as exemplified by the late Oriana Fallaci and the late Albert Camus. The fearless Geert Wilders may also be in this category (not sure if he’s an atheist, but certainly no evangelical Christian). These people are my heroes. They fight against tyranny from whatever direction it comes, whether Islamic or Nazi or Communist. Just anti-tyranny, period. And radically, uncompromisingly committed to the inherent, eternal dignity of the INDIVIDUAL.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I agree, Kathy from Kansas. The “Moral Code” is not just religiously based but cultural and historical as well. I’ve tried to track the origins of the Marxist Code back to before J.J. Rousseau (18th Century) but I haven’t found anything, I am sure there must be a precedent somewhere. Perhaps some of the other Bookwork Room aficionados can help me out.

  • Mike Devx

    We are much more polarized today than in the past, I think. I won’t “blame” anything, because I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. The Left has been running rampant, and being fiercely ideological, since the early 60’s. We conservatives are, in a sense, only catchng up to them.

    And it’s because of the internet. The mainstream media is more *stidently* left these days, but I don’t think they’re really ideologically more Leftist than they’ve been all these years. Really, we’ve got decent news via Fox and a few other outlets, so the rest of the mainstream media has lost us, and now they cater to their base.

    But the internet! Now conservatives can join a virtual like-minded online community with our own news and blogs, and that is a powerful thing. In the past we didn’t have shared media of any sort; we were isolated. We’re not isolated anymore.

    So the Left has become far more strident, and are just as ideological, or perhaps a little more so. We conservatives are much more confident, asssertive, and sure of ourselves.

    And the two sides now, pretty much, freely ignore each other.


  • Charles Martel

    Danny, regarding your search for the antecedents to the Marxist Code, I think that there are germs of it scattered throughout ancient history. It took the mindset of the Enlightenment to produce a Rousseau and the pseudo-sciences of the 19th century to produce a Marx, both men who then set out to propose a supposedly liberating morality totally opposed to that preached by Jews and Christians.

    In the Old Testament, Moloch demands the sacrifice of children. Planned Parenthood, the Democratic Party, and radical feminism are Moloch’s descendants. Some perverted need in them calls for the sacrifice of the powerless.

    In Ancient Rome, all relationships were based on power. The paterfamilias held absolute sway over the lives of his family and slaves, and could have an infant put to death if it were sickly or the wrong sex. The worth of a life was determined by where it stood in the power nexus: More power equaled a better chance of survival. Today, the Roman ethic is practiced by statists and pro-aborts who measure morality in terms of Lenin’s “kto kovo?”—who gets to do what to whom?

    Marx pretended to aspire to a graceful stateless existence for humanity, but really was preoccupied with the question of how many bourgeoisie would need to die for the oppressed to take power. The man was a smelly misogynistic layabout who couldn’t bring himself to describe the road to statelessness because he lacked both the will and the interest. For him, the most enticing part of his speculations was justifying the murder of the merchant class he so desperately envied.

    That last element, envy, is something often described and always abhorred in the Bible. Communism and statism are based on envy, which is masked by a concern for “equality.” The statement “love of money is the root of all evil” applies here despite the totalitarians’ pretend disdain for lucre. “Money” describes not only physical wealth or coin, but also the craving for what money buys—power, station, influence, votes.

  • Danny Lemieux

    That’s a great answer Hammer.

    One of the things that always amazes me is the rank hypocrisy of the Left (using Judeo-Christian morality) toward their gods….Rousseau and Marx were absolutely awful human beings, yet their followers adore them. It’s almost as if ….oh, i dunno, let’s say…Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, any Kennedy male, Anthony Weiner and Algore were upheld as champions of women’s rights and human dignity.

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