The spiritual yearnings of moderns get shunted into leftist paradigms.
Let us accept as a premise the idea that basically all westerners are raised to be leftists today. Let us also presume that God or nature designed us to be basically non-leftist.
Spiritual yearnings spontaneously manifest in the human soul. But the typical modern person has basically zero true metaphysical framework in which to invest her God-given yearnings. So you get Buddhism, Malcolm Gladwell, and “gentle” Leftism in general.
The problem is that when people put true yearnings into false terms, it’s very hard to counter their objections. Because in attacking their assumptions, it feels to them that we are attacking their very spiritual core (which is the last thing we meant to do!).
The classic example is the Leftist ideal of helping all poor people. When it’s not a resentful and backbiting endeavor, we must admit that the Leftist impulse to help poor people (or whatever) comes from a natural human desire to be kind to others.
You can, if you listen, hear the deep spiritual yearning behind the New Age-ism and silliness of most Leftists.
I don’t mean to excuse these people from their obligations as humans to seek after the truth. I’m just pointing out a particular feature I’ve noticed. For someone totally opposed to the divine, all you can do is pray. With someone who’s sincerely questing and who is open to arguments from all quarters (a very rare breed) you can engage in honest and kind-hearted dialogue.
But what about someone who manifests an other-oriented heart, a spiritual inclination and who also is thoroughly indoctrinated in Leftism. God gave that person her other-oriented heart, God gave her a spiritual inclination. And yet here on earth she’s been taught from an early age to reject authority, to embrace perversion, and to hate her own people. Once again: granting that we are all responsible for our own selves, can we not feel a stabbing desire to reach out to such a person?
I suppose that to ask the question is to answer it. All one can do is be friendly, set a good example through one’s own actions and words, and not shirk away from speaking the truth when the proper occasion arises.
I thought of all this when I was listening to a 36-year-old American woman (divorced with two children) and a 40-year-old American woman (married but childless) talk about their lives and their careers (the two were very closely linked, psychologically) in a way that only moderns have ever contrived, for women. The single mom kept repeating over and over “I’m just not meant to be a housewife” as if it had been drummed into her mind by the voice of Saruman. She talked about working, about being independent. But it all sounded so rote and pinched. The only time her face lit up is when she was showing pictures of her two young children, or talking about them. She constantly apologized for talking about her children. The struggle between her natural inclination and the feminism that had been beaten into her was painful to behold.
It occurred to me that there was probably literally no one in her life who was showing her the alternative. All her friends, her ex-husband, all of her work colleagues, everyone on television, everyone in the post-modern pop-lit books she reads — all human beings within her horizon — believe in atomistic, feminist, careerist, empty life. The only exceptions are fictional characters from novels, movies, history books: traditional people who are miserable because they live under the crushing yoke of patriarchy and benighted religion.
Her heart intuits what would bring her true happiness: to be a mother, to be at home, to submit to the natural order, and perhaps even to love God. But that simply isn’t on the list of options.
Sometimes, you have to order off-menu.