Leftism is just another faith, but it’s more cruel than the Judeo-Christian tradition as its creed does not recognize remorse, repentance, and redemption.
This is a rather discursive post, but there are a lot of ideas and facts I want to tie together to explain why I argue that Leftism is an unusually cruel creed, which allows no room for individual growth or moral improvement. Although the genesis for this post was a news story and a friend’s comment, I’m going to discuss them later. I’ll start, instead, with an HBO documentary from 2014 called Questioning Darwin. HBO summarizes the documentary as follows:
Literal and creationist interpretation of the Bible is the fastest-growing branch of Christianity in the U.S. This film takes an in-depth look at the views of these Christians who reject Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution–while also examining how Darwin handled the question of God himself as he developed his theory of natural selection in the mid-1800s.
The documentary spends surprisingly little time on Darwin although what time it spends is interesting. For example, it talks about his traditional Christian beliefs before he took off on the HMS Beagle and the way in which the journey changed those views.
One thing that struck me was that Darwin’s eventual views about evolution were neither new nor unique. He just did them better than anyone else. For decades, digs in England had turned up all sorts of bones from extinct species, from dinosaurs to mammoths. These bones forced many people to recognize that literal Biblical dating, which placed the world at about 6,000 years old, had to have been inaccurate. This meant that, when Darwin reached the Galapagos Islands in Year Four of his five-year journey, he was already primed to understand that earth’s life forms had changed over time, rather than appearing in perfect and final form in a single instant.
The other striking thing the documentary claims — and this is where I’m heading with the rest of my post — is that Darwin’s journey first made him aware of Nature’s and Man’s cruelty, leading him to reject the idea of a “loving God.” Specifically, according to the documentary, a devastating earthquake in Chile and the cruelty of Brazilian slavery opened his eyes to the overall cruelty that made up the world. I found this assertion peculiar because Darwin was born in 1809 and left on the HMS Beagle in 1836. The England he knew before boarding the Beagle wasn’t a particularly kind and loving place.
Infant mortality in the England of Darwin’s youth hovered around 50%, a mortality rate that held true until children made it past their 5th birthdays. Average life expectancy was 40 years and an enormous percentage of children who didn’t die were full or half orphans (especially because of maternal mortality).
Deadly diseases were endemic. Infections were untreatable. Serious injuries usually meant death. In 1816, thanks to the Mount Tambora eruption, there was a year without summer, which meant a year of starvation across England and Europe. A seven-year-old Darwin may well have been aware of that starvation.
It wasn’t just Nature that was blatantly cruel. People, including children, were routinely hanged for thieving. Insane people were chained to walls and people went to view them like animals in a modern zoo.
Although England no longer had “ownership” slavery, industrialization was in full bloom and it created a form of “wage” slavery. The early factory owners treated their employees with extraordinary cruelty. People worked endless hours in incredibly dangerous conditions for wages starvation wages. That’s why their children, starting at age 6, worked the same long hours in the same dangerous conditions. Vast swaths of English people lived in unrelenting squalor with starvation an ever-present threat. It’s hard to believe that even Darwin’s upper middle class upbringing sheltered him entirely from this reality.