The Millerite left

We’ve had sauce for the gander, so let’s take on the sound geese, shall we?

Wherein Chauncey DeVega reflects that progressivism hasn’t quite been severed from its protestant roots:

Several years ago, I watched students become unhinged and hysterical in response to Right-wing professional bomb thrower David Horowitz. They cried. They shambled about in a confused state. Some of them were taken to special areas for healing and hugs.

There are religious types who handle snakes, speak in tongues, or have fits of religious ecstasy. As I witnessed it, in the cult of left-leaning political correctness, personal outrage and tear filled histrionics were a sign of being one of “the elect” or “saved” when facing the likes of David Horowitz.

It’s almost as if the sensitive, 21st-century metrosexual and the Pentecostal football captain who only cries in church may have more in common than either would admit. We’ve touched on this subject recently, but in light of Richard Dawkins’ narrative collapse it’s worth revisiting.

Recent events threaten our reigning strain of self-hating protestantism embodied by Dawkins — the one Joseph Bottum’s been tilting at — with a fate something like the Millerites. Modi, the EU elections; we aren’t going where we’re supposed to be going.

This is a frustrating thought for the orderly-advancing worldview of a progressive elite. MBD remarks, on Bottum:

Perhaps if the reformist impulses of our post-Mainline liberals continue to be frustrated, their spiritual longing for redemption will impel them toward radicalism as well.

But there’s no need to be radical when you’re in charge, and redemption is a matter of wealth transfers, is there?


Whether you read Dougherty above as hopeful or terrifying depends on your perspective, I guess, but the unholy transformation of which he speaks has some precedents. In mullahs like Hugh Peters, for example, a regicide who helped found Harvard before becoming a chaplain in the New Model Army, a chief propagandist for Cromwell, who accompanied his conquest of Ireland.

He also enjoyed transporting children as a hobby. In this we can in no way assume he was cruel or malicious, except in the sense that his stern Puritanism could be considered so; remember, Lincoln had a longtime preoccupation with repatriating blacks, and there’s no way he was a bad person. You might choose to call these schemes involuntary labor redistribution if you wanted to draw an umbrella big enough for FDR and Stalin too.

To our great misfortune, these people’s heads are no longer stuck on bridges, which is why today our presidents are born to anthropologists instead of royalty, and have career-compulsory stints as president of the Harvard Law Review, during which time they contribute a single article about whether or not fetuses can sue their mothers.

(In one of the only other documents publicly available from this period, Obama also argues against affirmative action for women. Whether this demonstrates in-group loyalty or latent sexism I’ll leave for the feminists to sort out.)

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