Perhaps it’s his accent, or the disaffected way he brushes his wispy hair from his face, but Christopher Hitchens is growing on me. Then again, it could simply be his latest piece in Newsweek, The Death of Theocracy, that has my heart all aflutter.
Hitchens, no stranger to religious debate, has trained his brazenly atheist sight on Iran’s theocratic regime. By first defining Theocracy, he continues to illuminate the unique struggle the Iranian theocracy presents to its people and the West seeking to hem the regime in.
An odd thing happened as I read the article, however. While Hitchens eviscerated the religious rulers, reducing them to sniveling teen bullies secretly running home to cry to mommy, I noticed a peculiar parallel emerging. Couldn’t characteristics of this theocracy also be found in our, shall we say, Leftist Moralocracy? And, was Hitchens writing me a covert Conservative love note in this article? (Okay, maybe not so much that second part…)
“By the rule laid down by the mullahs, the Iranian people are not even allowed to meddle in their own internal affairs. They are counted as wards of the state, as children in the care of a paternal priesthood. [...] any government that imagines it has a divine warrant will perforce deal with its critics as if they were profane and thus illegitimate by definition.” (emphasis mine)
Funny, that seems awfully similar to…the Left’s exaltation of the State as “god” and their dogma as theological imperative. Who knows best how to train your child? What car you should drive? What light bulbs you should use? What soda you should drink (if any)? What health care you should receive? How your money should be spent? The Leftist Moralocracy.
Think the American Left doesn’t similarly seek to silence or marginalize their opposition? A glance back to the summer would rectify that opinion. When concerned citizens visited town hall meetings to petition elected officials, they were lambasted by the ruling “religionists.” They were referenced using a sexually explicit term, vilified as uncouth, racist, angry and ultimately inconsequential. Sounds quite a bit like “…profane and thus illegitimate by definition,” doesn’t it? Oh Hitch, I see what you did there!
Ideological persecution is rife in the media, Hollywood, academic and scientific spheres, as well. What else but rigid orthodoxy and a dogmatic moral code would result in actors being blacklisted, the Fairness Doctrine resurrected, conservative professors denied tenure, and accredited scientists being muzzled while advocates are promoted instead?
Not only that, even in failure, leftist ideology persists. Hitchens wrote:
“But when the crops fail and the cities rot and the children’s teeth decay and nothing works except the ever-enthusiastic and illiterate young lads of the morality police, who will the clerics blame? They are not allowed to blame themselves, except for being insufficiently zealous. Obviously it must be because the Jews, the Crusaders, the Freemasons have been at their customary insidious work. Thus, holy war must be waged on happier and more prosperous lands.”
(You’re a Steven Crowder fan aren’t you, Hitchens? You must have seen Detroit recently.)
When our tax dollars are funneled into one of the Left’s pet projects, and that project or state entity self-destructs, is the ideology ever at fault? Hardly. The cause of any failure informed by state-centric morality must be a paucity of allegiance. Or, predictably, insufficient funds to fix the perpetual “problem.”
Hitchens then raised the scapegoat-specter concerning the regime’s blame shifting. (I just know he’s alluding to leftists!) How often do Statists deny culpability and find myriad creative ways to divert attention from themselves and their defunct initiatives? “Look over there, it’s George Bush!”
For both the Left’s Moralocracy and the Theocrats of Tehran, it’s checkmate for dissenters before the first move is even played. Their refusal to tolerate fair debate is telling. Not only does it expose the arrogance of their death grip on moral superiority, but also belies a fundamental insecurity in their own position. A robust worldview can withstand a challenge in the “marketplace of ideas.” There are cracks in their foundation and they know it.
Christopher Hitchens knows it, as well. It’s doubtful he intended to write such a scathing rebuke of Leftist hegemony. Still, I can’t help but think he’s connecting the dots…or perhaps will, one day. Now, if we could just do something about that vociferous atheism, he and I would get along swimmingly! Cocktails, Hitch? No. Beer summit.