Essay: The death rattles of liberalism and secular leftism

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The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was a key event in the decline of secular leftism.

Terminal respiratory secretions commonly known as a death rattle, are sounds frequently produced by someone who is near death.

These are some of the death rattles of liberalism and are cases of liberals (or the GOP establishment) desperately trying to hang on to political relevance: the American media's fake news about the alleged Trump-Russia collusion; a few holdover RINOs/moderate Republicans stopping ObamaCare from being repealed; the Robert Mueller investigation and the Democrats possibly gaining some House of Representatives seats in 2018 due to GOP complacency (The water is still murky and perhaps the Democrats may lose seats or merely maintain the status quo).

Timeline of the death of liberalism and secular leftism

There is a clear pattern being seen in terms of the death of secular leftism and liberalism.

By the end of the century, three quarters of America may be pro-life.[1]

Here is a rough timeline as far as key events/trends relating to the death of secular leftism and liberalism.: Post 1970 trend of global desecularization TO Phyllis Schlafly defeating the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972 TO the post 1973 emergence of the United States pro-life movement TO the growth of the American religious right starting in the late 1970s TO the rapid growth of Christianity in China being partly caused by the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 TO the fall/dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 TO populist Jesse Ventura being elected in 1999 TO evangelical Protestant churches in America growing by 2 million from 2007 to 2014 TO populist/nationalist Beppo Grillo founding the Five Star Movement in Italy in 2010 TO the decline of New Atheism and the atheist movement collapsing in 2011 TO the religious right's political ascension in Brazil in 2014 (Brazil turned to the religious right in 2016/2017) TO Brexit in 2016 TO Donald Trump being elected president of the USA in 2016 TO young people embracing Marine Le Pen in 2017 TO AFD gaining in Germany in 2017 TO right-wing victory in Austria in 2017 TO the right-wing winning in the Czech Republic national election in 2017.

The Birkbeck College, University of London professor Eric Kaufman wrote in his 2010 book Shall the Righteous Inherit the Earth? concerning America:

High evangelical fertility rates more than compensated for losses to liberal Protestant sects during the twentieth century. In recent decades, white secularism has surged, but Latino and Asian religious immigration has taken up the slack, keeping secularism at bay. Across denominations, the fertility advantage of religious fundamentalists of all colours is significant and growing. After 2020, their demographic weight will begin to tip the balance in the culture wars towards the conservative side, ramping up pressure on hot-button issues such as abortion. By the end of the century, three quarters of America may be pro-life. Their activism will leap over the borders of the 'Redeemer Nation' to evangelize the world. Already, the rise of the World Congress of Families has launched a global religious right, its arms stretching across the bloody lines of the War on Terror to embrace the entire Abrahamic family.[2]

Acceleration of the death of secular leftism and liberalism

Secular leftism is dying fast. It is a zombie. On the other hand, we are seeing: a rise of right-wing nationalism, a resurgence of religion; a rapid growth of evangelical Christianity and a growth of Islam.

The death of secular leftism is happening at an accelerating rate - especially after Brexit. See: Acceleration of 21st century desecularization

New Atheism as a death rattle of Western atheism

Richard Osling wrote about the book The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement published by the Oxford University Press:

The tables are turned in a new book, “The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement” (Oxford University Press). Journalists: It’s heady stuff to be a hook for news treatment, but worth the effort.

The book analyzes atheistic causes in North America over the past century, including its internal schisms and contradictions. The work is based on Canadian author Stephen LeDrew’s doctoral dissertation at York University in Ontario and post-doctoral study in Sweden at Uppsala University’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society.

Religion newswriters are well aware that those aggressive “New Atheists” sometimes suggest faith is not just stupid but morally evil or a sort of mental illness, such that parents should be forbidden to infect their own children with it. Journalists may be surprised to learn that for LeDrew and others, this sort of anti-religion thinking is outdated and “utterly out of sync with contemporary social science.”

Social scientists long embraced the “secularization thesis,” according to which religion will inevitably decline as modern science advances. But now, says LeDrew, many acknowledge that scenario was “a product of ideology” rather than empirical fact. Thus, the New Atheism could be seen as a promotional effort to defend against “a perceived failure of secularism in practice in late modern society.”... When examined closely, he sees the New Atheism as “secular fundamentalism, a modern utopian ideology” that’s “essentially political.”...

To LeDrew, current atheism is much more than a mere critique of religious faith or absence of belief. It “ignores the reservoirs of knowledge offered by the social sciences, which add complexities to our understanding of religion that the New Atheists prefer to ignore, indulging in the kind of willful ignorance that they disparage religion for promoting.” Therefore, it’s “an ideology,” defined as “a schematic or rigid framework of preconceived ideas that shape, and thus distort, understanding.” It must exclude social scientists’ thinking about religion and obscure “social reality.”[3]

Barack Obama and Angela Merkel hastening the death of liberalism

See also: Barack Obama and liberal elitism

Given the political backlash to the liberal elitist Barack Obama at the state/local levels , historians may look back at the Obama years and argue that Obama hastened the death of liberalism. Democrats lost 1,042 seats—including U.S. House, Senate, state governorship, and state legislative seats—during his eight years in office.[4]

The Obama administration also further destabilized the Middle East which caused many refugees to go to Europe which caused political backlash in Europe in terms of right-wing nationalist parties.

In addition, Obama and the comedian Seth Meyers publicly mocked Donald Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents' dinner which may have prompted to run for president.[5]

The liberal elitist Angela Merkel opening the floodgates of Islamic immigration to Europe also caused a considerable amount of political backlash in the form of right-wing nationalism.

Secular leftists, liberals and political shell shock

See also: Secular leftists and psychogenic illness

The Religion News Service reported:

For the last decade, atheists, humanists and others secularists have worked hard to organize a “secular vote” that would counter the political clout of the religious right.

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s victory dealt that movement a body blow when he garnered 81 percent of the white evangelical vote and 60 percent of the white Catholic vote. Mormons, too, voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

Despite Trump’s not being a particularly religious person, his platform was seen as anti-secular in many atheist and humanist circles. He said he would appoint religiously conservative Supreme Court justices, ban Muslim immigrants, favor Christianity and repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits certain tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political candidates — issues antithetical to organized atheism and humanism.[6]

Secular leftists are beginning to suffer from "political shell shock"/battle fatigue (see: Secular leftists and psychogenic illness).

The website Marketwatch reported concerning the aftermath of the 2016 presidential race: Trump’s win is causing a surge in demand for mental health services[7]

The website Marketwatch reported concerning the aftermath of the 2016 presidential race: Trump’s win is causing a surge in demand for mental health services[8]

The Guardian reported about Brexit:

In shrinks’ offices across the country, just as in homes, pubs and offices, people are trying to come to terms with the surprise and shock of the Brexit result. Strangers gather together to talk of how “the world is falling apart”.

Many people feel transported into a dystopian Britain that they “do not recognise, cannot understand”. Thousands are hatching plans to leave the country. Social media are full of suddenly violent flaming between former friends.

Therapists everywhere are reporting shockingly elevated levels of anxiety and despair, with few patients wishing to talk about anything else. Mental health referrals have already begun to mushroom. Why is the Brexit vote affecting us so personally? And, what does this tell us about the make-up of our psyches?[9]

The columnist Patrick West wrote in his article The Post-Brexit Ugliness of the left:

The liberal-left couldn’t understand why people would vote in the name of abstract principles such as ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’ or ‘self-determination’, because they view everything in terms of their own money and their own public image.

There was a time when it was Tories who sneered at the poor, who deplored them as stupid and feckless. This was in the loadsamoney era of the 1980s, during which the market ruled and we were beholden to the whims of capitalists and the sainted market. There was even a time, many years ago, when the left spoke of principles, of democracy and liberty. How the roles have been reversed. How strange that it’s mostly conservatives who now talk in abstractions, and it’s the left that obsesses about the markets and worry about the FTSE 100, about their own money.[10]

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