Change We Can Believe In

From Spiked: Under Obama No Child Left Unmonitored. Don’t like No Child Left Behind? Notice that Federal intervention in education is producing less than admirable results? Question the validity of subjecting education to the dictates of State and Big Capital? The solution of the statist-left: make it bigger! Upsize! Increase funding! Greater federal control! If the Federalization of all education isn’t working, it needs to be intensified. We must increase the devotion of all levels of education to the needs of capital, er, the business sector. We must make sure poor parents are doing their bit to raise good wards for State and Capital- and remember, there’s no way Federal policy could ever be racist or classist- remember, we did that whole making history thing, right?

This is just one small aspect of the sort of leftist imperialism (external and internal) that in insiduousness and long-term viability is probably more destructive and dangerous than rightist sorts. Rightist statism has lately tended to manifest itself in spectacular and very public outbursts of violence and programs of mass control, though in the past couple of years even the Bush administration has toned down much of its action (probably out of sheer necessity). The left, on the other hand, is rather more clever about things in that much of its systems of violence and control are more hidden. Education is a useful example; abortion is another example of systematic violence that lies beneath the surface (literally in some respects) of society and even political discourse: “choice,” “reproductive health,” and so on are used to avoid the stark implications of reality. Likewise, we call our wars “missions to spread democracy,” “humanitarian interventions,” disguising the actual horrific nature of war.

Both sides also insiduously exploit religion to advance their causes, whether it’s the latest war as a crusade from God or abortion as a “spiritual sacrament.” The left tends to be in denial about its religious aspect, since part of its campaign against the right is “separation of church and state,” by which of course nothing more is meant that separation of rightist religion from the state; statist-leftist religion, whether in the guises of protected Christianities, bourgouis environmentalism, or the whole smorgasboard of liberal pieties used to advance the agenda of the day- none of these forms of religiosity are ever envisioned as being separated from the State. Instead, religion- and the same attitude exists on the statist-right- is perfectly acceptable so long as it remains in the service of a greater mission, that of the statist-left.

This is ultimately my problem also of course and I fall under the label of hypocrite too: I like my religion, just let’s not take this too seriously, eh? Sure, some of that exoticly-flavoured Orthodoxy can show through here and there, since it’s possibly advantageous out here in the academy. But let too much through, and you’re courting danger. That’s the message that is continually broadcast, and my internalization of it is hardly only from external forces- in tandem with my own passions, the desire to keep my “religion” nicely compartmentalized is terribly strong. Only the radical action of God can really ever break me, or anyone else, left or right or sideways, out of it.

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