Woke Calvinism and Biden

From “Vodkapundit”s drunkblogging of the Presidential debate

Looking at the messaging of the two POTUS candidates, and taking a step back, something struck me. And it isn’t the contrast between the blustering of Trump and the pathetic doddering of Biden, or the contemptible degree to which the media gatekeepers and Big Tech are running interference for one side. No, from a distance, there’s another, deeper story.

It is the stark contrast between the positive, upbeat message of the Trump campaign and the utter negativism of the Biden-Harris campaign. (Pretty much nobody believes Biden will be able to serve out his term if elected.) Trump’s message is basically, “we’re a great country, we have troubles now but we can lick this if we try”. Biden? Judge for yourselves

I could not help thinking how deeply neo-Calvinist the Democratic Party’s messaging is. “The world is completely depraved, our country is born in sin, but the woke elect will be saved.” Linguistics professor John McWhorter (who happens to be black) apparently talked about this parallel in late June

Five key points of Calvinism are often referred to by the mnemonic acronym TULIP (not just medical students do this to help them memorize):

  • T for Total depravity
  • U for Unconditional election [i.e., G-d “picks them based not on their personal character or merit, but out of his kindness and sovereign will.”]
  • L for Limited atonement [i.e., Jesus died only for the sins of the Elect, not of all mankind]. Calvinists who do believe the “all mankind” part are referred to as “Four Point Calvinists”
  • I for Irresistible grace [G-d will choose His Elect and they have no choice but to accept]
  • P for Perseverance of the Saints

dddd Just mentally replace “G-d” with Gaia, or democratic socialism, or what Prof. Gad Saad calls the DIE religion: does this start to look familiar?

We have a political class that may miscall its party “Democratic” (the way the “People’s Democracies” of the Eastern Bloc were neither democratic nor of the people) but at heart believes they are the Elect (or what Thomas Sowell called The Anointed). Some of the fellow members of what I call the Brahmandarin Caste (e.g., here and here) are may be highly regarded specialists in certain technical specialties: as decades in academia have taught me, this does not rule out total ineptness in other aspects of human life. This is what William Buckley referred to when he famous quipped that he’d rather be governed by the first four hundred people in the local phone book than by four hundred Harvard professors.

But to the Elect, an actual record of achievement in something relevant to governance does not matter — witness the extremely undistinguished record in 51 years as a senator of Trojan Joe Biden. (The Churchillian quip, “a modest man with much to be modest about”, comes to mind.) Nor does rampant corruption or international “pay for play” at mind-blowing levels — indeed, the Elect engage in IMAX-level projection about this, when they’re not dismissing it as no big deal anyway.

The Elect also feel an entitlement to lord it over the rest of us, “all for our own best, of course”

Of All Tyrannies, a Tyranny Exercised for the Good of Its ...

and “for our own best” feel the need to shield us from news that would disrupt its preferred narrative, rather than allow us to weigh the facts and make up our own minds. 

Fortunately, enough alternative ways to “boost signal” exist that for now, info that is on the Woke Church’s Index of Forbidden Books still has a way of getting around, and ham-handed attempts to “kill” a story may actually enhance its reach through the “Streisand Effect”.

Indeed, Big Social is going a step further still – by banning or deplatforming people for speaking against the religion of the Elect. Excommunicating them, if you like. If you have a large following and they complain loudly enough, the company may decide it was an “unfortunate technical problem”, but who else will be so lucky?

The dream of the Elect, I suppose, would be a worldwide oligarchy under themselves, where the vast majority, “for their own good”, of course, would be living in a hybrid of the mindless hedonism of “Brave New World” and the surveillance and information manipulation dictatorship of “1984”. 

Make no mistake. Trump is hated by the Elect not (just) because of his blustering  manner, his hyperbole, his Queens accent, or his tendency to regard counterattack as the best defense. He represents the antithesis of everything the Elect stands for: an outsider, a Tribune of the Plebs, somebody who believes  that the country he  leads is greater than its Elect, and somebody who places tangible achievements over credentials and prestigious mutual congratulation prizes. And who meanwhile, more than anyone else, is responsible for the transformation of the GOP into the Elect’s worst nightmare: a truly broad-based party of limited government populism that is making inroads into the core constituencies of the Elect’s party. 

The Elect cannot have this, you see—or it would prove they are not the Elect. 


5 thoughts on “Woke Calvinism and Biden

  1. The C. S. Lewis quote is not quite what it reads like, to modern ears– he was arguing against the therapeutic theory of punishment, on moral grounds. (“The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment,” from God in the Dock, originally published in The Twentieth Century: an Australian Quarterly Review because, per him, he could get no hearing in England.)

    His point does well support the broader one you make* — standards recognizing the dignity of the individual are needed to prevent abuse, and even the most objectively good person is prone to become a menace without those same checks to ensure they are recognizing the basic human worth of the other person.

    After the most famous quote he goes on to describe what it would most likely be, in the hands of non-saintly humans:

    In reality, however, we must face the possibility of bad rulers armed with a Humanitarian theory of punishment. A great many popular blue prints for a Christian society are merely what the Elizabethans called “eggs in moonshine” because they assume that the whole society is Christian or that the Christians are in control. This is not so in most contemporary States. Even if it were, our rulers would still be fallen men, and, therefore, neither very wise nor very good. As it is, they will usually be unbelievers. And since wisdom and virtue are not the only or the commonest qualifications for a place in the government, they will not often be even the best unbelievers. The practical problem of Christian politics is not that of drawing up schemes for a Christian society, but that of living as innocently as we can with unbelieving fellow-subjects under unbelieving rulers who will never be perfectly wise and good and who will sometimes be very wicked and very foolish. And when they are wicked the Humanitarian theory of Punishment will put in their hands a finer instrument of tyranny than wickedness ever had before. For if crime and disease are to be regarded as the same thing, it follows that any state of mind which our masters choose to call “disease” can be treated as crime; and compulsorily cured. It will be vain to plead that states of mind which displease government need not always involve moral turpitude and do not therefore always deserve forfeiture of liberty. For our masters will not be using the concepts of Desert and Punishment but those of disease and cure. We know that one school of psychology already regards religion as a neurosis. When this particular neurosis becomes inconvenient to government what is to hinder government from proceeding to “cure” it? Such “cure” will, of course, be compulsory; but under the Humanitarian theory it will not be called by the shocking name of Persecution. No one will blame us for being Christians, no one will hate us, no one will revile us. The new Nero will approach us with the silky manners of a doctor, and though all will be in fact as compulsory as the tunica molesta or Smithfield or Tyburn, all will go on within the unemotional therapeutic sphere where words like “right” and “wrong” or “freedom” and “slavery” are never heard. And thus when the command is given every prominent Christian in the land may vanish overnight into Institutions for the Treatment of the Ideologically Unsound, and it will rest with the expert Fablers to say when (if ever) they are to re-emerge. But it will not be persecution. Even if the treatment is painful, even if it is life-long, even if it is fatal, that will be only a regrettable accident; the intention was purely therapeutic. Even in ordinary medicine there were painful operations and fatal operations; so in this. But because they are “treatment,” not punishment, they can be criticized only by fellow-experts and on technical grounds, never by men as men and on grounds of justice.

    *which makes sense, since he was arguing against an earlier form of the same philosophy!

  2. Great piece! A few random inarticulate thoughts:

    Another parallel: following Hegel, Marx claimed to know the true course of history. The left frequently makes this “scientific” claim. If God foreordained history before the beginning of time then only He has this “knowledge.”

    Woke religion is clearly based on works, so how can it be “Calvinist?” The Protestant Ethic is perhaps the most well-known strategy for revealing the elite. It produces wokeness’ worst enemy! But there is a contradiction in the belief that financial success resulting from hard work is credible evidence that one is among the elect.

    My personal strategy (taught by Laozi) is “Wu Wei.” If nothing is done, nothing is left undone. I have observed the outcome of my 78 years living without much striving to accomplish any particular life goals by following my nose. Seems to have worked! But, of course, this too was foreordained. (Head explodes)

  3. […] Woke Calvinism and Biden Looking at the messaging of the two POTUS candidates, and taking a step back, something struck me. And it isn’t the contrast between the blustering of Trump and the pathetic doddering of Biden, or the contemptible degree to which the media gatekeepers and Big Tech are running interference for one side. No, from a distance, there’s another, deeper story. […]

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