I recently read Elaine Pagels’ The Gnostic Gospels. It finally gave me a handle on why these books ended up in a jar in the Egyptian dirt, instead of in the Bible.
Orthodoxy had better social technology, and won. Orthodoxy promoted unity and solidarity of Christian people; the Gnostics promoted esotericism, withdrawal from and even disdain for the real world. Gnosticism never completely disappeared, but it stayed underground in the West until the 19th century and its repackaging (my interpretation) as Romanticism. When the US Supreme Court in Casey (1992) wrote…
“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”
…it was evident that Gnosticism was, in effect, the supreme philosophy of the land.
However, Gnosticism was never, and could never be, something that the not-cognitively-elite man or woman of any time could grok. No matter how fast Harvard Law pushes out Justices and opinions, the hoi polloi don’t follow. Libertarianism is shot through with the same kind of thinking, and manages to come to the same Progressive place; women have an absolute right to define their, and their baby’s, “concept of existence” and have the child hacked out of their womb.
It took a little longer for me to understand what was happening with Trump, but even my thick skull was finally penetrated by the thought-waves in the zeitgeist. Conservatives have ideas, and their ideas are better, and so the People should vote for their favored conservative candidates. Yet, in a few simple pen strokes, and a few brutal, truthful words:
The “Alt-Right” whomever you want to put in it, is using some of the same social technology the early Church used to weave people together into a fabric that could stand persecution and ridicule. Hillary pronounces that just because you have a penis doesn’t mean you can’t be a fierce, empowered Woman. Despite her blather about “Stronger Together” she believes and constantly reinforces that you the individual can define your own “concept of meaning.” Hillary is Gnostic to the core.
Trump is anti-Gnostic. Trump, and the Alt-Right, are straight outta I Corinthians 12. Progressives pretend that they believe We Are One, but they really believe We Are Infinitely Many. The wheel has turned a good bit in the last few years, and the anti-Gnostics are on the rise again.