Friday 12 July 2013

When is a Church not a Church? Leftism and the hollowing-out of institutions


Any Christian connected with the Church of England, and observing and experiencing its transformation, will be confronted by the teasing question of "When is a Church not a Church?" - but the problem is much more widespread both within churches and within modern society.

The phenomenon is one of hollowing-out an institution, and replacing it with something else; removing the functional reality from the inside of an organization but retaining the shell of appearances and rhetoric.


I personally don't believe that this has anything significant to do with the abstract strategies of Leftist intellectuals - I think it is simply what happens as a consequence of the long term insidious destructive evil of Leftism when applied to strong and/or necessary social functions.

In the Church of England the contrast between the shell (beautiful architecture, beautiful music, rich vestments, intermittently the use of sublime language) and the rotten pulpy slimily nasty innards can be particularly stark - but it is to the credit of the Church of England that the process of evisceration has been and is, even yet, a constant topic of public discourse.

There is much less discourse about much more extreme eviscerations which have been achieved over the past few decades - Oxford and Cambridge, the Police Force, the Legal profession, Medicine, the BBC... all the major pillars of English society have been hollowed out and all are in much, much worse shape than it apparent from their superficially similar external features.


So extreme is this that these major institutions have substantially reversed or inverted their functions - especially in terms of changes or 'reforms' which are introduced: 'reforms' have been for many years and continue almost always to be directed towards the destruction of the organizations primary ascribed function.

Indeed, overarching all of these is a fiercely implemented rule that disallows discourse on social primary functions - it is taboo within institutions to discuss the primary role of the institutions and how to achieve it - this is regarded either as crazily day dreamingly idealistic or - when persisted with - mean, nasty and fascistic in its disregard of the sensitivities of... um... vulnerable and oppressed groups... or something.

To discuss primary functions is taboo, because it might upset someone in a protected group; but to upset those who actually perform the primary functions is fine because they are an over-privileged, arrogant, crass elite.

And this the hollowing proceeds - month by month and year by year: no discussion of primary function, endless 'sensitive' debate and change in relation to Leftist political issues. Very soon there is nothing remaining inside of the shell, and the organization is moving with considerable momentum in the opposite direction from functionality, and staffed with a greater and greater majority of people who have no interest in, and may well be incapable of performing, the original function.


Eventually we get a situation like the Church of England, where the organization as a whole (although within in are individual exceptions, dwindling) is anti-Christian in its net effect - and instead more and more (and more) pro-Leftist in its concerns and activities, to the point that the mass majority of the personnel could not (even if they wanted to, which of course they don't) perform the proper functions of the Church - ditto Oxford and Cambridge, the police, the BBC and so on.

Internally generated reform is beyond possibility, and any reform applied would therefore have the first step of removing a large majority of personnel - especially senior personnel - and would therefore be met by maximal resistance.

Thus reform (incremental change) becomes impossible and the whole organization must be replaced by an institution which actually 'does what it says on the tin'.


The problem is that this now applies to all major social institutions in the UK. They are all hollow shells filled with amorphous Leftism.

The problem, therefore, is one of total societal collapse due to the purposive functional incapability of institutions.

This is new territory - it has never happened before in human history - because it has never been able to happen before.

And the longer things continue without collapse, the greater the internal rot, the less will remain after collapse and the vaster the scale of institutional rebuilding that would be required.


But of course that won't happen. There will either be chaos and chaos - or else a much simpler society will be imposed on a much smaller remaining population with what will seem like astonishing speed.



Anonymous said...

The nominal organizing principle of modern society is equality. Since people aren't equal, people who are superior in some way must be artificially humble about it, and people who are inferior in some way must feel artificially better about it, or have "self-esteem".

Leftism is about pride for the inferior. Pride was the basic value of pagan society, but at least it was honest pride- an Athenian philosopher, an Olympic agonist or Spartan hoplite would have laughed themselves silly at the idea of a dumb fat kid having, or needing, "self-esteem" rather than rigorous training.

Pride is of course in the Christian view the sin of Satan, and thus perhaps the ultimate sin. A society based on real pride- Ancient Rome, Nazi Germany- will be evil, a society based on phony pride- our own, will be evil and ridiculous.

JP said...

Leftism has all seven sins covered.

Leftism is not merely about the stimulation of dishonest pride, but the systematic mobilization of greed and envy, the celebration of lust and gluttony, the indulgence of sloth (from nihilism to apathy to emotional, spiritual and physical laziness is a short journey), and the provocation and direction of wrath against "inequality" and the persons who exemplofy it.

Virtuous Leftism is impossible; it cannot be put into practice without sin.

Satan himself couldn't have imagined a better system for corrupting the human race.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - Agreed. While it was reasonable for men of goodwill to be fooled by Leftism in its early days, AT THIS POINT IN HISTORY, knowing what we know, having experienced what we have experienced, there is no excuse for Leftism.

In fact, as I often argue, there isn't really any excuse for secular Rightism either, except as a short lived transitional stage to religion.

Because the possibility, sustainability (and Goodness) of secular Right societies is as conjectural, theoretical and wishful as are Leftist utopias.

Sooner or later, all men of goodwill will find themselves in the position of choosing a religion.

baduin said...

What "Goodness of Secular Right"? - the whole point (the unique selling proposition) of Secular Right is to be openly evil.

This way the secular right achieves the maximal difference from Left (Left is never secular, although always against true religion).

Left lies that it is good, and Right say truly that it is evil.

Bruce Charlton said...

@b - Well, I agree with you - but there is a meme going the rounds that the secular Right blogosphere is a way station to Christianity.

Well it could be. Nazism was arguably a way station for Heidegger en route to (a sort of) Christianity - but where does that get us? Still bad things!

Leftism can also be a way station to Christianity as well - especially if Leftism is followed right through in its implications (ie self refuting) - an ultra Leftist like Chomsky (and I would have called myself a disciple of his circa 1990) must find it hard not to move onto something else, because the whole thing becomes utterly absurd and arbitrary.

It seems on the one hand trivially obvious that different people come to Christ in different ways - via murder, alcoholism, terminal illness - but that doesn't make those desirable states.

But it seems obvious to me that people often/usually get stuck in the 'phase' of secular Right explicit evil for many decades, and are still in that phase when they die - at least that's what I see, looking around.