What is the Left?

I am not interested in politics except as something seen in the light of spiritual truth.  A proper understanding of metaphysics would render most political matters irrelevant in that the way to live would become obvious. But increasingly nowadays politics is used as a weapon against spiritual truth and that is why I must ask, what is the left? Is it merely a political point of view revolving around equality for all which believes in taking power from individuals and giving it to the State for the theoretical benefit of society as a whole, one that is espoused by the more intelligent amongst us as statistics appear to show, or is it, at root, something rather different?

Let's get this idea that the more intelligent a person is, the more likely he or she is to adopt a leftish perspective out of the way first. This may be true up to a point but that's largely because the training of the mind in the modern world is heavily slanted towards atheism and scientific materialism. That is the form of education we all receive so the further we go in education as it is today, the more we will be indoctrinated by that mindset. But those who are really able to think for themselves, which is surely a key factor in true intelligence, will see through the absurdity of materialism which, when properly analysed, is incoherent. It explains nothing and makes no sense and can only be entertained seriously if vast elements of what life is and what a human being is are expunged from reality. If you’re a materialist you don’t actually believe that you exist, not you as a real individual. Or anyone else for that matter including those you love. Think about it.

Obviously the left is a political attitude outwardly but I believe its true origins lie in something deeper. I think that the real roots of what manifests in the world today as liberalism or the left (the two have become largely indistinguishable) is spiritual. Not spiritual as in deriving from God but spiritual as in coming from the so called dark forces (interestingly sometimes described as those of the left hand path) which have set themselves up specifically against God and all that speaks of God, particularly the good, the beautiful and the true. I know that most people nowadays would ridicule such a notion but it has been understood in Christendom for as long as Christendom has existed and, if we dismiss it, our only grounds for doing so are that we dismiss the spiritual world entirely. I should stress that I am not proposing this duality of good and evil forces in a dualistic or Manichean sense. God is reality and there is nothing outside him. But there are fallen angels who, with their human accomplices, some consciously so, most just a mixture of dupes and wrong thinking idealists, seek to corrupt and invert reality, and this world is their battleground.

Whether the ideology of the left was originally put through by forces favourable to God or these demonic forces is beside the point now. It is true that in the 18th century new ideas did need to come through to bring about a greater measure of social justice, but these were quickly co-opted and detached from any real spiritual framework which, if it ever existed, soon became secondary to the material side of things. From this we can deduce that the movement was not a heavenly inspiration or, if it was, it was captured almost immediately. It was directed towards things of this world to the more or less full exclusion of the next. Where there was a spiritual focus of some sort it was a spirituality that stood in the shade of social or worldly issues and was chiefly considered in the light of those which became primary.

Sometimes leftism, so called, is regarded as a Christian heresy. However I see it as more like a perversion of Christianity since heresies generally exaggerate certain aspects of truth while minimizing or neglecting others but leftism completely eviscerates Christianity of the supernatural which is its whole point so it cannot be said to have any real relationship to Christianity at all. You might say that it takes the horizontal part of Christianity while neglecting the vertical, transcendent part but the horizontal without the vertical is unsupported and so falls to the ground.

But however we define it the spiritual intent of the left, or that of the true powers behind the left, is very clear today when we see it trying to remake reality according to its anti-God agenda. It does this through such things as erasing the natural differences between the sexes, cultural relativism, destroying or inverting the hierarchy of truth, goodness and beauty, and placing excessive emphasis on reason as the best guide to life thereby tarring faith and intuition with the brush of superstition. And when we observe it trying to dismantle traditional institutions which have evolved with a spiritual purpose (for instance, marriage) both by attacking them externally and by trying to corrupt them from within, we have another pointer to the true agenda of those behind it. Many of those involved in all this are not aware of its true purpose but consider themselves to be acting in the name of progress. In some respects they might be doing so which makes the picture more complicated for those who only see the appearance of things. But look beneath the surface and a different picture takes shape. Then you see that the establishment of secondary truths is being used as an excuse to destroy primary ones, and even these secondary truths are soon discarded when they've served their purpose.

A lot of what the main drivers of the cultural and academic left believe and assert comes from their fear and hatred of God. This, of course, goes back at least as far as Rousseau, the French Revolution and Marx. They want to unmake reality and remake it according to their materialistic and atheistic theories so that God has no place in it. This is one reason they attack that fundamental truth of the two sexes so relentlessly.  If they can destroy something so basic and so universally acknowledged as that they have gone a long way towards driving the truth of God from the universe. Or so they hope. They can never fully succeed because eventually the false society they are creating will collapse either from external attack or internal despair, but they can do great image to the state of people's souls before that happens and that is the principal purpose of their unseen masters whether they are aware of this or not.

With the two sexes they have used the excuse that the similarities are more important than the differences to deny the fact of the differences and that these are intrinsic. And this is large part of the problem. The left, or a major element of it, is fundamentally dishonest and uses lies to advance its distortion of truth or else, more subtly, it uses lesser truths to force out greater ones. At one time I thought that people on the left were mistaken but honest and no doubt many are, but it's increasingly obvious that the main drivers of the revolution have always been people of bad faith in that their motivations are not what is claimed. The real origin of their position can frequently be seen as resentment of others and hatred of the good. Of course, the foot soldiers are not always like this but even they are, at best, spiritually blind and they often have something of their leaders' faults in them too. I am not here saying anything as crude as left bad, right good for all of us are sinners in our different ways. Nonetheless the fact is that the denial of God and of the true good is at the roots of left wing ideology, acknowledged or not, while the right in its proper form is essentially religious, of which more in a moment.

I have maintained that mainstream leftism is atheistic, if not anti-theistic, and so it is. But many people nowadays who have a vague and unformed sort of spirituality also embrace a left wing perspective so why, one must ask, is so much modern, as opposed to traditional, spirituality left leaning? The short answer to this is that it is human and this world centred.  It does not look to God the Creator as the summum bonum of life. Nor does it acknowledge the fact that we are fallen and in need of redemption. It sees humans as they are now as basically good and perfectible if only they are treated nicely. There's no need to repent because you as you are now are already good and it just needs to come out. Perhaps I exaggerate to make a point but I see left-leaning spirituality as essentially interested in spirituality for its fruits not from love of God. Generally speaking, the left has no use for God at all who it typically casts in the light of an oppressor which, of course, from the point of view of a self-willed rebel against truth, he is.

Nothing here should be taken as implying that current versions of the right have any kind of exclusive handle on goodness and truth. No approach to life without a proper spiritual understanding at its heart can ever be right. I've criticised the left because of its anti-Christian agenda which is plain to see. It either seeks to destroy Christianity from outside or deform it from within, and it's been very successful in both those tactics. The right has not been used to the same extent but a secular right, given power, could be as materialistic as the left, albeit in a different way. I can also envisage a scenario in which a version of the right could be used to advance an authoritarian form of religion which effectively rejects love and imposes rigid control with no room for dissension. But that is not what we have in the West in the 21st century. Nonetheless while the left has distorted love by separating it from its origins in God, flattening it out and 'egalitarianising' it then reducing it to the horizontal plane only, so the right could potentially similarly distort the idea of truth. Both, of course, can only corrupt realities because there is nothing else but these realities, just as evil can only mar - it cannot make.

Setting any future possible scenarios aside, it could be objected that most people on the right nowadays have no more interest in God than those on the left. This is true but it’s because they are only on the right in certain matters, economic for example. In most other particulars they have absorbed and copied the current liberal ethos. The fact is that all true right wing thought recognizes a higher reality and a higher authority than the secular, materialistic world of the left. So what really distinguishes the two sides is the acknowledgement of God and the acceptance that we are here in this world for a spiritual purpose. I realise this is not the usual definition but I think you will find that if you strip both back to their roots that is what you will discover.

Thus although the left claims to be seeking a juster and more humane society the fact that it does so without reference to the Creator and according to the scientific/materialistic vision (or lack of it) means that for all its claims to improve the lot of man in this world, it immeasurably diminishes his true status by separating him from his spiritual source and being. Its focus on the collective strips him of freedom and real individuality, denying him the chance to grow as he should, but above all its rejection of spiritual reality cuts him off from light and life in their real forms. Consequently the most you can say about the left is that it devotes itself to making the world perfect for acorns, ignoring the fact that acorns are meant to grow into oaks. It is therefore the ideology of stunted growth.

Jesus said he did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them. He also said that whoever relaxed the least of the commandments of the Law, and taught others to do the same, would be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. What does this tell us? It means that the preservation of the Law and the Prophets is essential. You can, you should, build on them but they are the foundation. It is true that what does not grow will die but it must grow from its roots. So Jesus was progressive in a certain sense but his progressiveness was completely rooted in an innate conservatism. Modern progressives in contrast seek to build a future on the shattered ruins of the past, the destruction of the Law and the Prophets. They do not have divine sanction.

Everything requires balance, and you might think it is only the excesses of the left I have been talking about here. The truth is, though, that the excesses were built into it right from the very beginning. They were inevitable. It took very little time to go from seeking a degree of social justice in this world, as opposed to being more concerned with one’s spiritual state in the next, to the rejection of God to the overturning of the natural order of being. Thus, while liberal ideas may have been of some use at one time, to act as a corrective and counterweight to past corruption of ideas about the nature of God and hierarchy, they should never have been taken as a basic philosophy of life in themselves. The best you can say about the left is that it is like a strong medicine which may be useful when the patient is sick but does not form part of a healthy diet. If it becomes one’s main nourishment it may turn into the poison of atheistic materialism as it now has.

When this piece first appeared online I was asked a question which I think is worth including here as a postscript.

Q. I used to be involved with various New Age groups but found that every single one of them assumed the truth of liberalism, and if you expressed any other opinion they looked almost shocked. Your opinion was branded as 'Piscean' meaning old-fashioned, prejudiced and ignorant rather than 'Aquarian' or liberal and enlightened in social and cultural matters, and the strong implication was you couldn't possibly be spiritual. What do you think is going on here?

It’s true that most non-traditional forms of spirituality are politically and culturally liberal. It's just an assumption that that's what a good person is. I actually believe this is one of the tests of the present time. Are you able to think for yourself as to what goodness and truth really are or do you just follow the fashionable crowd of perceived goodness and truth, thinking you’re in the vanguard of progress?

Probably that has come about for several reasons. First of all, most of the intelligentsia is like this. Liberalism is seen as the default intelligent person's position now, but it has largely come from non-spiritual if not anti-spiritual sources so should be treated with suspicion on that account alone. It is not a response to any traditional spiritual teaching but a manifestation of the democratic spirit and therefore a political thing. But because most people today are educated in liberalism before they encounter serious spirituality they bring their preconceived notions with them, and their spirituality has to fit in to their already existing liberal world view.

Then there's love. Everyone knows you should love and liberalism is perceived as being more in line with that doctrine because it tends to treat everybody the same. It is more 'loving'.  But love is not indiscriminate nor does it deny truth and though we were told by Jesus to be as innocent as doves, we were also told to be as wise as serpents. Love should not be used as an excuse to deny spiritual reality, which is hierarchical when in expression, nor should it be limited to man as he is in this world. What appears to be love to the outer man might not be at all when considered in the light of the whole man. Obviously love is good but real love can only be understood in the context of the whole picture and liberalism denies most of the picture as it is doctrine focused on men and women as they are in this world.

Then there's sex. Traditional spirituality understood that this incredibly powerful force must be contained or it will be destructive rather than creative. Unless it is contained (in marriage), and if it is seen as an end in itself, it will lead an individual or a society away from any true spiritual development or self-transcendence to a concern with self-fulfillment; that is, a fulfillment of the lower earthly self rather than the soul or spiritual self. An over-concern with sex leads to spiritual desensitivity precisely because it is a form of spiritual energy translated to the physical plane. So if you give free rein to this energy in a physical sense you are unable to express it spiritually. But for liberals everyone should have the freedom to do as they want if they don't harm another, and sexual freedom has become one of their most important freedoms. What they don't see is that, in the context of spiritual truth, you harm yourself when you pursue certain apparent freedoms (and society as a whole as well actually). Controlling sex is often seen as a vice or a weakness rather than a virtue by the liberal mind but that is because many people don't want to control it and look for an excuse not to do so.

Then there is freedom itself. For the liberal, freedom, like love, is seen as a universal good but in actual fact, like love, it must be seen in the context of, and be subordinate to, the reality of God. Taken out of its proper context, as it is in liberalism, it becomes a means to extend the domination of the unrepentant autonomous self. The restraint of sex and freedom, so important in traditional monastic disciplines that were founded on chastity and obedience, has been rejected by liberal spirituality but why have these been rejected? If you look beneath the excuses you often see it is because the ego wants to have its cake and eat it too.

Following on from all these things we can see that modern, non-traditional spirituality is human-centred. That means that implicitly, if not explicitly, personal growth or 'healing' rather than salvation or sanctification is the order of the day. For most New Age type spirituality humanity is not regarded as fallen and in need of repentance but full of spiritual potential which just needs to come out if you use the right techniques. No doubt we do have great potential, Jesus told us we did, but this will only come out after there is true repentance which is an admission that you of yourself are nothing and everything derives from God. Indeed as my teachers told me, “The Master Jesus and all the Masters of old knew they were as nothing and all they were came from the Creator”.

And here we come to the heart of the matter. God is not an important figure in modern spirituality. He is either surplus to requirements or a patriarchal embarrassment or something to be gone beyond or so transformed by having to adapt to human interests that he is not God at all any longer. But God the Father, God the Creator of Heaven and Earth, God as Person, is not important. If he were then everything else would have to fit into that, as it should, but when he is dismissed or downgraded or changed into something else then spirituality is not about man making himself right with God but about man, in effect, becoming God himself. And here I think we come to the real reason that New Age spirituality is liberal. It is because the true motive of the New Age is to supplant God with Man; that is, the human being becomes divine of itself and without reference to a higher being.

Some liberal and spiritual people would say they do believe in God but actually what they often seem to mean by this is a sort of idealised mother figure who loves all her children as they are now and doesn't require them to change or grow in any serious way. Someone who comes down to them where they are now rather than someone who requires them to go up. This is not the real God as taught by all serious religions, especially Christianity, who is love and truth together not just unconditional, undiscriminating love. Nor, may I say, was it how the Masters who spoke to me were. They had greater love than any human being I have ever come across but they expressed this in the context of the knowledge that we on this Earth are out of kilter with truth and need to put ourselves right. We need to straighten up and straighten out. Of course, God loves us but he loves the real us created by him in his image not the false self we have created for ourselves in our own image down here. 

Looking at this another way, you could say that those who think of themselves as spiritual and liberal focus largely on God immanent to the exclusion of God transcendent but the former must always be seen in the light of the latter.

As for the Piscean and Aquarian jibe, don't worry about that. Outer things may change but inner realities don't nor does the path to God. Yes, it may grow and develop and take in more of truth but, just as Jesus did not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfil them, so any higher understanding of truth must build on the old not replace it with something quite new and different. This is how things work in the spiritual world and it is how they work in nature too.

Essentially what I am saying here is that those who are liberal and spiritual don't understand the spiritual because they see it in the context of this world rather than the other way round which is the only true way.














Comments

Chris said…
Hi William,

I think that this might be one of your most important posts. The significance of the issues that you address here cannot be over-stated. Couple of things......

Do you regard the classical Liberalism of the founders of the United States as a species of the "Left" and therefore problematic? Many "conservative" thinkers in the West seem to make the case that the principles animating the rise of democracy and ordered liberty represents the culmination of Christian thought, not a departure from it. This strikes me as an extremely complex knot to untie. I think the distinction between Protestantism and Catholicism comes into play here.
Hello Chris

I'm afraid I don't have enough knowledge on the subject to make a comment. I do think the United States was a divinely ordained country which means that the founders would have been inspired to some degree at least. The devil is quite capable of perverting an initial good though.

The country was founded with God in mind which is surely significant. I believe it was an experiment to advance humanity. Risky but with lots of potential.

What is your view?
Chris said…
Hi,

To be perfectly frank, I'm still trying to figure that out. It seems to me that much of what you said is consonant with the Perennialist discourse regarding the so called "Kali-Yuga". Guenon, Schuon, Coomaraswamy etc. all used the term "Modernity" for what you seem to refer to as the "Left". According to their perspective, the "deviation" began in Western Christendom's High Middle Ages with the development of nominalism in Catholic theology. That, in turn, led to the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and then to the Enlightenment and ultimately to Modernity- which is now spreading all across the Earth. This point of view is fundamentally reactionary and regards the last few hundred years as, at the very least, a decline, if not, the grand apostasy.

But, if that's so, what are we to make of the abolition of caste and the rise of democracy? What of the mitigation of suffering by way of science and technology and the many good fruits of humanism in general? Frithjof Schuon said something like this, "The Age of Tradition was a fundamental good, but because of the nature of things, contained much evil. Whereas modernity is an evil, which naturally contains much good. It would be illogical to prefer the latter to the former."

I can see what he is getting at, but, if I am totally honest and I had the power, would I approve of returning to the traditional culture of pre-modernity? I don't think so. And I say that not just because giving modern conveniences would be a drag. Beyond that though, what's really disturbing to me about the reactionary's take on things is that it would seem to provide justification for Islamic extremism and/or traditionalist extremism of any stripe. They see modernity as a disease that was spawned in the West, and that the only way to stop it is to kill the host.

So....there is something of the "spiritual progressive's" point of view that has some appeal to me. They wish, it would seem, to conserve what was good about the Sacred civilizations of the past, without having to reject modernity in toto as well.
I agree with you. If modernity is completely wrong then it would seem God has made a rather big blunder. The Traditionalist view is true up to a point I would say but it is too one sided. It makes much more sense to think of modernity as a risky experiment with many disadvantages but the one big advantage that it makes humanity more self-conscious which I believe is what God wants us to be. I mean by self-conscious, more fully individual and able to create ourselves. Then we have to subordinate that to a true spiritual awareness and that is the risk, whether we will do so or not.

But there are any strands to this and it's hard to disentangle them all. If the general direction was towards a greater evolutionary awareness then the powers that work against God could manipulate that through such things as science and leftist politics to cut out spirituality entirely and that is what I think has happened, certainly over the last 100 years and increasingly over the last 50.

To me things make sense if we think of the true spiritual powers attempting to advance humanity to a more active form of consciousness which can potentially make us share in some of God's powers in full awareness but then this is countered and its negative possibilities exacerbated by the anti-evolutionary dark powers which seek to separate us from God.
Chris said…
"But there are many strands to this and it's hard to disentangle them all."

Indeed.

To be fair to the Perennialist School, I don't think any of their number is calling for a return to the Age of Faith- I think that they would say that's simply not possible and that the cycle must perforce work itself out. In the mean time, those who would not be taken up in the tempest should get on the life boats of Tradition.

But, as you alluded to, the Tradition of the West, Christianity, is being abandoned for the non-theistic traditions of the East (or should I say Western bastardized versions of Eastern religion). I think that is the case because it is a much easier step to make coming from atheo-materialism. Perhaps a similar process was at work when the great Hindu acharya Shankara was writing in response to a largely atheistic Buddhism, and then, in turn, the Vaishnava traditons were a response to Shankara's Advaita.

The big question for me is, if the traditional narrative of decline is true, what should we do? Is the so-called "Benedict Option" the only wise course?
Does the Benedict option mean people should retreat to self contained spiritual communities? I've heard of the book but not read it. That might be one response but it won't be for everyone.

I guess the thing to do is be in the world but not of it. Bringing up children is one of the greatest problems now. How do you protect and guide them in the face of such a massive undermining of reality? I've done a post on that subject somewhere and I'm going to put an updated version of it here shortly.

My view is that we are living in the'latter days'and one way or another we just have to stay true to what we feel inside. Which is hard given the world as it is outside when black is often painted as white but it's a test and faith and prayer should see us through.

Of course you might reasonably say faith in what to which my answer would be in the reality of goodness and truth as embodied in the person of Christ though elsewhere too but most perfectly and transparently there.

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