by Brad Nelson
One reason Leftism and atheism often go together is because in the Leftist worldview, people are valued by what they have, not by what they intrinsically are. In the Leftist world view, it is not primary, or perhaps even considered, that people have value as a human being apart from what they own or do, or even what beliefs they hold. In the Leftist view of things, groups are said to have rights, but not necessarily individuals. The Leftist world view splits everyone into classes, particularly the supposed oppressor classes and victim classes. But as for the intrinsic value of a person apart from such considerations, it is practically nonexistent.
This is surely why there is the Leftist focus on “equality.” If we are no more than what we own, then we should all own the same. And we should remember that the Left’s definition of equality has nothing to do with the higher principle of “equality under the law” — something the Left actually opposes. In Leftist parlance, “equality” means “equality of results,” not equality of opportunity or equality under the law.
Of course, there are atheist and agnostic conservatives (and libertarians, and classical liberals, and Objectivists). And some of the most fascistic movements on earth (Islam) are god-centered. This notion of Leftist=materialist/atheist needs nuancing and fleshing out. One way to understand Islam (which does believe in god) is that it is, like the Left, a bully Utopian ideology where the individual is but a pawn in a larger game. Their god is not the author of freedom, as is believed in the case of Judeo-Christianity.
In the Leftist/collectivist viewpoint, what matters is “society,” not the life of the individual. The individual siting inside the collectivist, fascist, Leftist, socialist, and/or Communist systems are important only as they relate to society as a whole. That is, for instance, why all actions of the individual in such states (including our increasingly socialist states in the West) are never just the result of individual preferences but are instead scrutinized for political implications — something that we call “political correctness.” This is why babies can be aborted with impunity, and why about one hundred million civilians were killed in Leftist/collectivist states last century, something not typically taught in our Leftist-oriented public school systems, especially including higher education. It’s the state that counts, not the individual life. If an act harms an individual yet promotes a sanctioned political idea, then so be it.
And it must be said that there is no shortage of Christians who are materialist-oriented and who do not hold the humanity of people as their primary measure of value. Infused by Leftism, that is why “social justice” is so off the beaten path of Christian values. It, again, measures the worth of people by how much they have. To the Leftist-oriented Christian, we must, of course, make sure that we all have an equal (or a minimal) amount of “stuff.” It’s a materialist-oriented viewpoint, no matter the nice-sounding words.
There are many factors involved regarding Leftism and the various tyrannies they spawn, including fascism and the “soft” fascism of our present Big Government nanny states in the West — states which don’t (yet) put you up against the wall and shoot you, but they will bring societal death by a thousand cuts, including telling you what kind of light bulbs you can own.
All nuancing and seeming contradictions aside, what is clear is that if you measure the value of people by no more than what they own or what their status is, you leave the door wide open for Marxist demagogues and other Leftist bullies. They will cater to people’s worst natures (their desire to thieve and plunder), and they typically do. The Left ramps up jealousies, envy, and hatred among their self-defined classes. They get people to think of themselves not as freedom-loving Americans, but as victim groups deserving of other people’s money. Instead of teaching how to take advantage of freedom and opportunity, they teach how to plunder from others, for lack of a better term. The only buttress against the false promises of the Left is to value something greater than the property of your neighbor’s that you may (because of Leftist demagoguing) now have set your covetous eyes upon.
One reason agnostics, Objectivists, and even outright atheists can share the conservative viewpoint regarding limited government (including the overall principle of not finding one’s meaning or living via government) — even if we don’t share the same, or any, theological point of view — is because we do all value something other than the material. We value the immaterial concept of liberty (which, of course, has plenty of tangible, real-world consequences). But liberty is still an intangible value that measures worth and life differently than how much “stuff” one has or what one’s status is.
The headline of this article was a bit of a teaser. It isn’t “godlessness,” per se, that is our greatest threat to liberty, for there are plenty of Jews and Christians in America who are useful idiots of the would-be socialist tyrants of the Left. One should remember that Nancy Pelosi is a Catholic and Harry Reid is a Mormon. This seeming contradiction is solved when you realize (as Dennis Prager teaches, although I’m somewhat paraphrasing and extending) that it is our values that define who we are, not necessarily our declared religions or theological beliefs. And for many religious people, they have simply substituted Leftist values for their core and traditional religious values. And so it goes. • (885 views)