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Political Religions and Revolution in America

September 5, 2018

Those who watched the first day of Confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh were witness to a series of disruptions of the hearing. Democrat Senators began by attempting to pass a procedural motion to close the hearing. That was followed by objections that late release of documents related to Judge Kavanaugh’s previous White House service were released too late for a thorough review.

These hearing will continue and it seems clear that Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination will pass the Senate by a very close vote. Evangelicals who supported the election of Donald Trump will get another conservative justice on the Supreme Court. Whether democracy in America will survive this dangerous period of agitation, propaganda, and destructive political acts is uncertain.

Today my colleagues at Voegelin View posted a review of Dr. Barry Cooper’s New Political Religions or Analysis of Modern Terrorism. We need to comprehend that the attractions of “political religion” and the totalitarian temptation is alive today and prone to take advantage of weaknesses in civil society.

In the 1930s and ’40s we saw attempts to subvert the American government by infiltration of the White House and other agencies of government by members and agents of influence of the Communist Party.  That time has passed, but we saw in 1968 and 1973 organized opposition to American involvement in a war in Vietnam. The disruptions of those years saw the erosion of academic standards in colleges and universities.  That destruction of Core Curricula has not been repaired.

During the 45 years since the invasion of Cambodia in 1973, required courses in American higher education were abandoned and generations of college students were not required to study American history and government, English literature and economics. Needless to say the two semester survey of the history of Western Civilization is no longer taught.

Our country has allowed its educated classes to remain ignorant of their history and their civic responsibilities and has created a population ripe for appeal by destructive political religions.

Something in the heart of mortals is attracted to the idea that a better reality exists that may replace our current condition. This appeal has been made to African Americans who desire a world that grants them equal station. Professional Major League football has been disrupted by claims of African American football players that society unjustly treats them. Radicals on the opposite side engage in antagonizing them by intentionally organizing rallies in support of the white race.

A clever and ambitious celebrity sized up this climate of disruption and articulated a nationalist appeal once successfully used in England by Enoch Powell. Here in the United States, unlike England where the Conservative Party rejected Powell’s leadership, our Celebrity was able to take control of the Republican Party and win the Presidential election of 2016.

That year will be remembered as a year similar to 1917 when Vladimir Lenin arrived in Petrograd at the Finland Railway Station. President Trump is no Lenin, but conditions are ripe, perhaps not this year or the next, for a modern revolutionary leader inflamed by political religion to lead a revolutiion.



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