Why is it that progressives are so harsh and intolerant? They can’t all have had a sense of humour by-pass, although many do give the impression that they are haunted by the lurking suspicion that someone, somewhere is laughing at a non-PC joke.
Their intolerance lies in the fact that not only do they think that they are good, nice people, but they think that they can remake the rest of us into good, nice people just like them. They believe in the fantasy of the perfectibility of man, and they are just the guys who will make sure we are perfected, whether we like it or not.
Progressives, and others who would lay false claim to the designation liberal, reject Christianity with a self-righteous passion. This is not merely on the grounds of disbelief, otherwise they would just ignore us and let us go our way. Unfortunately for progressives we Christians are the children who cry out that the emperor has no clothes. Christians insist on being down to earth realists and so we continually puncture the balloons of those secularists who spend their energies pursuing comforting dreams and illusions.
The Christian understanding of humanity is that we are all fallen creatures who are yet driven to strive for the unattainable, perfect virtue. When society abandoned this concept we both lost touch with reality and opened the door for the wildest utopian fantasies. Against all the evidence progressives believe that we are perfectible, that given either the right social structures or by rejecting any kind of moral structure humanity will manufacture a utopia where we will all live in a blissful community of peace and plenty.
Christianity has always had its millenarian sects who urged the belief that heaven was just five minutes around the corner. In the days when the church was not afraid to call a heresy by its proper name these groups were invariably rejected and floundered high and dry on the wilder shores of the faith. With the loss of Christian confidence and influence utopian fantasies, both religious and secular, have lost a healthy restraining influence.
Whatever their ultimate goal utopians inevitably have a totalitarian mindset when it comes to achieving their alternative reality. Fascists believe they can enforce their version of purity, socialists believe they can compel the creation of the brotherhood of man, Islamists think they can bomb their way to heaven on earth, greens think they can bring about harmony between mankind and creation by scaremongering. Coercion is their automatic response to deviation from their worldview, dissent is treason.
Concerned for humanity as a whole progressives have little time for individual human beings. When politically correct totalitarians take children from their grandparents to place them for adoption with homosexual couples, as happened in Edinburgh in 2009, they are doing it for the best of motives. Since progressivism is about creating a perfect society it is obviously virtuous, and to oppose it is therefore equally obviously bad. The grandparents were denied direct access to their grandchildren; for utopians oppression only occurs when it is their utopia which is denied.
The human beings involved don’t really matter as individuals must never stand in the way of social engineering. All that matters is the pursuit of a theoretically perfect future and since that future is perfect the concept can not be altered or challenged. This is why the progressive mind is firmly closed.
We may be amused by the humourless PC brigade and shocked by their abuses of power, but we should be alarmed about where utopian dreams can lead. Jaques Ellul summed up the dangers of utopianism: “I am violently opposed to any utopia because it is the epitome of illusory satisfactions… Utopia is the final blow in humanity’s death. And it is a very concrete death: the last two great utopias were those visions of idealism and the future known as Nazism and Stalinism.”
From the French Revolution on utopian dreamers have unleashed terror. When those pesky Christians showed too great an attachment to their religion the utopian French revolutionaries tried to do away with Christianity, massacring them by the tens of thousand in the Vendee. When the classless utopia did not emerge in the USSR dissidents were murdered by the million and consigned to the gulag. Likewise Mao slaughtered and imprisoned by the tens of millions when his ideal society failed to materialise in communist China. Pol Pot caught the French revolutionary idea of Year Zero and making a fresh start toward building nirvana and made a beginning by slaughtering nigh on 30% of Cambodia’s population including such dangerous ‘intellectuals’ as those who wore glasses.
Christianity understands temporal imperfection and in doing so legitimises the necessity both of a moral code and the understanding of those, all of us, who fail to live up to that code. With the retreat of that revealed moral code we now have to live with the tension created by ignoring the real in pursuit of the dream of the ideal.