Home Important Posts Left recent The Religion of the Left: Sacred Destruction and the Search for Lost Gods.
Home Important Posts Left recent The Religion of the Left: Sacred Destruction and the Search for Lost Gods.

The Religion of the Left: Sacred Destruction and the Search for Lost Gods.

“Abortion is sacred,” Planned Parenthood declared. Biden told Dylan Mulvaney that banning transgender child mutilation is “immoral”. The head of the Public Religion Research Institute preaches about the “sacred work of white discomfort” in defense of critical race theory.

It is a mistake to think of the Left as a secular movement. People don’t throw their lives away for a set of ideas. They don’t turn on their parents, societies and entire way of life over abstractions. Only something that touches their deepest selves and offers them that sense of purpose and meaning in a broken world that religious people call revelation and holiness summons that fire.

That leftists don’t believe in a central deity is confusing to monotheists, but what they believe in is far older, a hybrid of primitive mysticism, laboriously revived by western romanticism, and theoretical acadamese nurtured by over two centuries of dilettante students, professional radicals and assorted megalomaniacal cranks who litter the history of socialism.

What these two strands of the western leftist worldview have in common is their conviction that there is an underlying sense of order, found in sociological patterns or energy auras, theories of race or tarot cards, that explain everything and that by mastering them we can transcend and fundamentally transform the universe, and everything in it, including our societies and ourselves..

This is the continuum linking paganism, academic theories and conspiracy theories.

Where leftist theology starkly divides from western and eastern monotheism is in the notion of divinity not as a central intelligent point of being, but as a hidden meaning scattered throughout existence to be decoded by human intelligence and spiritual striving. That is why leftists were attracted to eastern religions before dumbing them down into New Age mysticism.

To the Left, there is no God, but we all have the potential to become gods by mastering the secrets of the universe, whether that means technotopian transhumanism or becoming one with the AI gods they intend to create, forcing everyone into an ideal society that will unlock human potential, or figuring out the right energy patterns to usher in the age of aquarius. While seemingly very different approaches, the various utopian strands of leftism speak to a common yearning that pits them against the traditional beliefs of the societies they aspire to overturn.

The Left’s intellectual pursuits are primarily aimed at analyzing how power is distributed in a society. These academic and journalistic critiques build up to justifying its own power grabs. And the Left excels at analyzing and seizing power because power is its only source of meaning.

Much as ISIS leaders boasted that their brutal executions and mass rapes were their forms of prayer, politics is the religious practice of the Left. It has become the only truly meaningful expression of its beliefs after its social experiments in implementing its way of life through cults, communes and private arrangements fell through. Such side projects have been replaced by a white collar movement embedded in the managerial class of governments and corporations.

This movement is animated by a culture war in which all morality is reduced to power. The redemption of the nation and the salvation of the planet depend on a leftist takeover implemented by a white collar cult that has put its career aspirations and wealth at the service of leftist dogma in return for the conviction that the professional aspirations and privileges of its members are redemptive. An Ivy League education, an academic position, and a corporate executive’s office are no longer just personal achievements, but a moral crusade.

Mimetic movements like the Left take on the characteristics and eventually become the thing they are imitating. After spending all that time working from within the system, they have become the system. And the system has become them. Bureaucrats and CEOs have adopted the protective coloration of leftist virtue signaling to cover their many sins much as leftists adopted the protective coloration of government and corporations to cover their agenda.

The bloated ranks of government, academia and corporate monopolies merging into one blob is a symptom of leftism. The Left always thinks in terms of systems rather than people, of rulesets rather than values (despite devoting a good deal of its cultural propaganda to asserting that it does the opposite, but the easiest way to understand leftism is to invert every one of its claims to find the truth) and it is turning societies into hives of systems and rules.

But systems are leftist forums of religious experience and moral fulfillment. A leftist church is any institution and its service is a collective takeover of that institution. But the momentary triumph of the takeover is never enough. When these systems fail to achieve their utopian promise through technocratic rulesets, as they always must, they come to serve their primary purpose of destroying everything that sinfully exists to clear the ground for a glorious tabula rasa, a blank page,and a new form of man, for a new creation.

Each leftist failure serves as evidence that not enough of the past had been destroyed to make way for the future. That is why killing or sexually mutilating children, or racism, are sacred.

Much as to ISIS and Islam, destruction is sacred, so it is to all radical movements.

When construction fails, the only path forward is through destruction. Communist dictatorships drove millions out of cities or farms, controlled everything they read and thought, and when that failed killed millions. Declaring war on whiteness or deconstructing sex are more precise and intimate forms of destruction meant to also usher in a new future.

The “right side of history” requires completely remaking mankind. And that’s an ugly business.

Construction is tedious and the Left isn’t any good at it. Building systems and rules is different than actually creating anything. What the Left excels at is taking over existing systems by exploiting their weakness. But when the Left is actually able to build its own systems and rules to implement its own agenda, it discovers that the systems and the rules don’t actually do anything. Leftist bureaucracies ossify into pointless exercises once they no longer have enemies to defeat. When the USSR was stalemated by the Cold War, its Communist Party lost any reason for being and collapsed under the realization that it had no function except stealing.

The most reliable way to kill the Left is to give it total power, but deprive it of external ambition. In real life, George Orwell’s 1984 dystopia would not have lasted for generations, let alone centuries, its dedicated sadists and fanatics, as embodied by O’Brien would have killed each other off, as the Bolsheviks did, leaving behind a cowardly bureaucracy with no vision.

The fanatical sadists are overriding the normative impulses of the professional managerial class that the leftists have become in America, as they did in the Soviet Union. Riots or mutilating children remind them that they’re not just diversity deans or think tank experts, they’re the radical vanguard of a movement that is going to achieve what all religions have failed to do.

Abortion, mutilating children and racism are sacred acts because they promise to break through the complacency of the system, the routines of a suburban lifestyle, the commute, the meetings and the minutiae of inhabiting the system with orgies of blood and pain. Like Pol Pot murdering everyone wearing glasses for being westernized, the leftist system strives to transcend itself through ritual acts of destruction in the hopes of finding the secrets of the universe.

Transgender experiments on children began out of a conviction in human malleability. If men can become women, then they can perhaps become more than men. Eliminate sex roles and the family structure, and it becomes possible to imagine an entirely new form of society. And, less ambitiously, destroying western civilization is a prerequisite to building a new civilization.

What does a post-civilization look like? Like the surgically mutilated post-men and post-women, like the children never born, like ex-Soviet ghost cities and mass graves from China to France, these are the evil dreams of things that never were because they could never be.

Religion without god is a dream that slowly becomes a nightmare, cults of personality, human sacrifice and the search for meaning where there is none. Madmen create their own patterns, they find their own truths in the burning sun and in hallucinogens, and then write them in pain and terror on the bodies of their willing and unwilling followers searching for a reason to live.

The Left is not, as it believes, a new story, but a very old one, and though it prides itself on knowing many things, true and untrue, about the world, the one thing it does not know is that which men of religion and philosophy make a point of knowing, the knowledge of the self.

Leftists correctly believe that the world is filled with meaning, but what they fail to understand is the meaning of that meaning, believing that within those patterns are the secrets to absolute power, when what actually lies in those patterns of meaning is the One who made them.

Denying that truth, they worship power and then blood, they search for paradise and find death.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Anonymous9/6/23

    This analysis and inquiry is a waste of resources. It treats criminality, depravity and malevolence with a sincerity that it doesn't deserve; elevating it to merit proper discourse. We know all about it, it is written in the historical trail of destruction produced the last 200yrs. Clubs and bullets is what they deserve, not polite discourse. People that seek to murder, mutilate and dismember society to create automata are nothing but a social cancer. Marx, like Hitler was nothing but a parasite, never did any real work but only created a body of lies to justify and sell their psychopathy. This ilk cannot come to power through a real vote or by open debate because they have nothing to sell but obscurantism, specious slogans and totalitarian coercion. They can only tear things down, not create them. Like the Arabs whose empire was built largely on plunder, once you run out of easy victims, your business model fails. When will Americans reach for their guns? That is the only solution and vital question.

    Jonty D

    1. know your enemy to defeat your enemy

    2. Anonymous10/6/23

      Jonty and Daniel; Both insightful and inspiring.
      Most conservatives have naively tried to engage
      leftists in fair dialog, only to be rebuffed by
      ridicule and attack. Daniel's point (with addition)
      "Knowledge of SELF and enemy." (Sun Tsu) is that
      the article's beneficiaries are conservative. --Thomas

  2. Anonymous9/6/23

    Thank you. Now, if only they, those of whom you write, understood what you are saying.

    1. whether or not they understand if, we need to know what we're up against

  3. Anonymous9/6/23

    Greenfield may think the left believe that //" there is an underlying sense of order," but an underlying sense of order is what conservative believe in, so what sense does this even make? what is original here?

    1. conservatives believe that order comes from our character and from a higher power

      the Left believes that there is a non-divine underlying order that does not require character or a higher power

  4. Bobo the Hobo10/6/23

    “ Leftists correctly believe that the world is filled with meaning, but what they fail to understand is the meaning of that meaning, believing that within those patterns are the secrets to absolute power, when what actually lies in those patterns of meaning is the One who made them.”

    This is just profound. Thank you for this!

  5. Bobo the Hobo10/6/23

    Allow me to add that I don’t always agree with your columns but I always learn something from your writing.

    1. Thank you, that's my goal. I also value an exchange of ideas.


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