The Idler: Godless

I do not see what is controversial about Ann Coulter’s new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, for I do not see what is controversial about stating the obvious. Such is the de­generation of our intellectual culture that almost any statement of fact (say, ‘There are physiological differences between men and women”) will be la­beled “controversial” by the zombies in the media and the universities. We need to distinguish ”controversy” from “impudence”—not that I am opposed to impudence, as a tactic in a good cause.

Coulter suggests that conserva­tives are misled into a defensive strug­gle when the Left attacks traditional Judeo-Christian faith. Instead, they should themselves be attacking the godless tenets of an alternative faith that has seized control of the intellec­tual establishment, proselytizes con­stantly, and enforces its edicts by the tyranny of political correctness.

“Of course Liberalism is a reli­gion,” Coulter writes. “It has its own cosmology, its own miracles, its own beliefs in the supernatural, its own churches, its own high priests, its own saints, its own total worldview, and its own explanation of the existence of the universe. In other words, liberal­ism contains all the attributes of what is generally known as ‘religion.'”

She places Darwinism at the cen­ter of the contemporary liberal creed, without doubting supplementary con­tributions from Marxism and Freud­ianism. It is not a scientific or even scientistic commitment to the received evolutionary doctrines that animates them, but rather the core dogmatic assertion that God had no part in the creation of the world.

 

Nor, I would add, do the philo­sophical implications of this dogma much interest them. Ernst Haeckel, the great 19th-century German physiolo­gist, worked through the implications until he had established a “monistic evolution” that embarrassed him by im­plying the existence of a “quasi-God.” But such schemes require the painful exercise of intellectual consistency.

Coulter’s anti-Darwinism uses ar­guments that appear to be the ones with which Origin of Species was effec­tively refuted by such as the famous Catholic convert Arnold Lunn, when he did battle with the liberals of the 1920s. But Darwin’s “givens” had al­ready been demolished more thor­oughly by the great Canadian geolo­gist and paleontologist Sir J. William Dawson, among others. His essays from the 1880s, gathered and coordi­nated in Modern Ideas of Evolution, antici­pated every argument the Darwinists might ever try to spring out of their ontological corner—which is why it hasn’t been reprinted for a long time.

Now the argument is complicated because the liberals of today use the rhetorical device not only of denying they have a religion, but of denying that they are even liberals. Their trick is only to oppose, and never to defend anything except by inference. It’s hard to argue with a nihilist when he denies the validity of anything at all.

The problem is not that liberalism presents a rival to the Christian religion, which it has been doing for more than a century now. Rather, it presents an alter­native religion that is wicked and irra­tional. Belief in an indefensible creation myth—strict Darwinist evolution—is indeed its “touchstone that separates the enlightened from the benighted.”

But what is more interesting is how the refusal to allow the possibility of God leads to moral positions that con­sistently prefer the worse alternative to the better, and the indecent moral opera­tor over the comparatively decent one. And it is by this fruit that we know them.

Perhaps a purely moral argument could be constructed for the existence of God, by some greater philosophi­cal mind than my own, who could show why this is inevitable. Turn the major premise of human existence upside down, and our whole universe is inverted.

David Warren

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David Warren is a Canadian journalist who writes mostly on international affairs. His Web site is www.davidwarrenonline.com.

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