In a previous post, The Offended Generation, I traced liberal Dana Milbank's lamentations concerning his generation's lack of a cause "greater than self" in which he writes: "There have been many noble causes in my time — the fight against apartheid, for gay rights and for environmentalism — but none captured my generation or required the sort of sacrifice the civil rights movement did." This search for the noble cause and "transcendent social struggle" underpins the modern left. Whether it be any of its political goals from socialized medicine to environmentalism, the belief in the moral superiority of its causes imbues the social justice warriors with a sense of idealism and self-righteousness. The SJW crusades to fight injustice, not according to the teachings of Jesus, Moses, or reality, but, rather, according to his Marxist political theories which emphasize class, gender and ethnic victimhood, socialist redistribution schemes, and/or environmentalism.
This sense of righteousness follows not from some objective theory of rational ethics, but from our culture's dominant, and largely unchallenged religious ethic, that is, self-sacrifice or altruism. This underlying ethic is what unites the secular left with the religious fanatic - the only major difference being the object of the sacrifice. The religious demand you sacrifice to God while the socialist demands you sacrifice to the state or Mother Earth.
For example, in this video, Ashleigh Shackleford asserts, as a matter of fact, that all white people are born as racist, inhuman demons. To these types, as in the christian concept of Original Sin, denial is itself regarded as an example of the sin. This leaves only one alternative for the guilty: confession and repentance. Again, note the increasingly religious tone and behavior, including calls not only for meek confession and repentance, but the denial of free, rational counter-argument and the rooting out and persecution of non-believers.
While, the above video exemplifies the practice of critical race theory, a racist theory that criticizes focusing on colorblindness and posits that all white people are guilty of an incurable Original Sin - "whiteness," we cannot forget the other, even more original, Original Sin: carbon footprint. Consider that the hysterical doomsday predictions of the modern environmental movement increasingly resemble the apocalyptic rantings of ancient mystics. Even their method of chastising and proselytizing the non-believers, so-called "climate deniers," has taken on a religious tone. The late author, Michael Chrichton, once said:
Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.
(Courtesy of Professor George Reisman, we should add to this list the modern environmentalist version of hell, global warming -which, climate priests clamor, will "literally roast and boil the earth.")
Furthermore, it is essential to the left's religious-political doctrine that man feel existential guilt for his energy sin, so that they can tie his penance directly to particular forms of political control of the energy industry. Now, in reality, the science of global warming is completely separate from any particular political remedy. (In fact, if global warming were shown to be an imminent threat, I would agree with Reisman, that it is that much more important to maintain a free market, in order to allow humans to efficiently adapt (as opposed to central planning which always fails) and to create the greatest possible industrial and technological base to combat the effects.) But, they have succeeded in inexorably linking the outcome of the science with their particular political remedy, i.e., actual global warming = throttling fossil fuels along with industrial progress and the economy. Only a sense of existential "planetary level" guilt could cause man to commit economic suicide on this scale.
Sadly, by trumpeting the morality of victimhood and sacrifice, like modern and past religious fanatics, the modern progressive movement robs individuals of the profound joy and happiness that results from purposeful, productive living accompanied by mutually beneficial voluntary cooperation and trade. It replaces these values with a sneering hatred of success, and rather than cultivating a benevolent environment of discovery, productivity, creativity, and entrepreneurship - altruism, as always, creates an environment of guilt, entitlement, and dependency.
The Church of the Left is a fully organized religion in the same fashion as the Catholic Church or the various branches of other organized religions. It's clerics and followers are comprised from the legions of academics, mainstream news reporters, government lifers, celebrity personalities, and coastal elites. Like pedophile priests, who believed that God would forgive or that their religious status rendered them beyond good and evil, the members of the Church of the Left believe they too can be absolved of guilt. They believe that by preaching the Good Word, by donating to the Church (the Democratic Party, environmental organizations, and their various political affiliates), and by haranguing the Deplorables with PSAs, tweets, and Oscar speeches, they too, are beyond good and evil.