By: Alexander Holderith, USM ’20
In the Sept. 24 edition of The Free Press, I read the article called “Beneath the (Godless) steeple: How the left is a church,” and being one of the many quiet Conservatives on campus, I took interest. Like any engaged republican, I had seen this idea before in many right leaning publications. At the core of the argument is the idea that, as the author of The Free Press perspective piece puts it, “…the secular left does, in fact, occupy a pew of its own – the pew inside the Church of the Secular Left.”
This premise has been kicking around on the internet for some time now, but it made profound strides following the intensely negative reaction of many progressives to the results of the 2016 election. But even before the election, an April 3, 2015 National Review article titled “The Church of the Left,” espoused similar views to the ones expressed in the piece written by Mr. Hoffman: “…because institutions, unlike individuals, are creatures of the law and our law already has a religion: progressive liberalism,” the National Review piece claimed. Articles like these, in addition to the ascent of popular conservative figures such as podcast host, author and YouTube sidebar sensation Ben Shapiro and author and professor of psychology Jordan Peterson, have given this idea credence. The idea is simple: in the vacuum of religion, secular progressive dogma rushes in.
Do I think this idea is correct? I don’t know. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer; I’m not a psychologist or a political theorist. However, I do know that this idea presents a question to all of us conservatives: “So?”
Mr. Hoffman’s article fails in the same way that similar articles have before it: It presents a critique of the other sides extreme and shuts the book as if that’s all there is to say. “But the far left is dogmatic!” How then is this different from every other critique I’ve read of the evil progressive left? What will this change? How will this affect the way I treat other people in any way but a negative one?
Who cares if they resemble church? Let them worship! It is not our responsibility to stop them. When did they start listening to republicans anyway? If we can contend that we are Americans before any political ideology, our political situation can improve. It is OUR responsibility to shake their hands, be their friends and share this country with them, whether they like it or not.
There is nothing more powerful than a little bit of decency; our country could do with a hell of a lot more.