Friday, October 15, 2010

Trueman strikes again

Carl Trueman:

One of the most depressing things about the current season of political stumping in the USA is the mindless nature of so much of the discourse. The recent sight of the unbearably self-important and ill-informed Bill O'Reilly and the overwheeningly self-righteous and equally ignorant Whoopi Goldberg squaring off in a TV spat about as realistic and spontaneous as a Hulk Hogan smackdown just about says it all. The most popular TV pundit of the Right, who yet cannot define `socialism,' versus the advocate for women's rights who does not regard the drugging, and forcible and perverted sexual violation of a thirteen year old girl as `rape.' If ever we needed a microcosmic demonstration of all that is wrong with left and right, those two say it all: it is all about empty posturing, extreme slogans, and, above all, entertainment.

More worrying, however, is the role of the religious in all this. The culture of extreme nonsense that leads many to regard the O'Reillys, Becks, Goldbergs and Olbermanns of this world as serious contributors to intelligent debate and discussion is, sadly, alive and well in religious circles, and frequently fed by such. Just recently, I read a comment in World Magazine describing Obama as a `Marxist-Christian syncretist.' Of course, Marxism, like socialism, is a term the Religious Right love to hate, even as they often struggle to be able to define it with any degree of precision. For myself, while disagreeing with many of Obama's policies, I find characterisation of him as a Marxist to be ridiculous, risible, and an affront to those who have truly struggled (and continue to struggle) under real totalitarian Marxist regimes. Indeed, when the `M' word is used by the Religious Right in the USA, it would seem to function in the same hyperbolic way as the phrase `You've totally ruined my life!' functions for the typical teenager whose cell phone has been confiscated for a couple of hours by an irate parent.

BTW Trueman's new book Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative will be arriving in my mailbox any day. I have a sneaking suspicion that sacred cows of both left and right will come in for a thrashing.

No comments: