Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Foreign Policy as Moral Catharsis, Part II

Many religious communities begin as collections of individuals who flee other religious sects, to share a deep intellectual inquiry into the nature of the universe and the good life. As conclusions ossify into dogmas, intellectual enthusiasm is replaced by the traditional anthropological symptoms of group identification: dietary taboos, linguistic taboos, empty ritualistic behaviors, and articles of faith.

People say that the liberal left doesn't "get" American religiosity, but, in truth, they offer a competing faith. Eating organic is certainly harder than eating kosher; meticulously sorting recycleables into blue bags which are then thrown out with the trash is the epitome of religio-neurotic behavior; and global climate change has become a touchstone of common values, just as belief in the bodily resurrection once was.

Is it a coincidence that Obama's reputation as an orator rests on having introduced the cadences of an African American preacher to the banalities of European-American liberalism?


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