Skip to main content

Blumenthal, Sanders and the Socialist Credo

Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders has been puttering in politics only four years longer than U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, and the two may have more in common than most suppose. Both were born in New York and entered politics about the same time, Sanders in 1981 as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and Blumenthal in 1985 as a member of Connecticut’s State House of Representatives. Neither political career has been marred by service in the private marketplace.

Both are East Coast, secularized, cultural Jews. That is, they are Jews who have shaken the dust of orthodoxy from their feet. Religious discipline is too confining for either, and their attitude toward heterodoxy parallels that of Ahab in Melville’s Moby Dick: “Speak not to me of blasphemy, man. I’d strike the sun if it dared insult me.”

Blumenthal, in particular is well known as a champion of abortion provider Planned Parenthood. An orthodox Jewish Rabbi once was asked what the position of cultural Jews on abortion was. “It’s anything they want it to be,” he growled. The same may be said of cultural, heterodox Catholics, wayfaring Christians termed “practical atheists” by Jacques Maritain.

Secularization has affected both Jewish and Christian politicians, and both are alike in this respect: religion for either has little to do with a rational doxology. In both cases, freedom is more important than discipline. Maneuverability is especially important for politicians who claim to represent a broad constituency, and religious prescriptions are by definition restrictive because they are definitional. To put it in modernist terms, any inconvenient doxology may be abjured without serious penalty by secularized Jewish and Christian politicians for whom religion is not a praxis but a cultural overlay. In both cases, the secularized Jewish or Christian politicians transcend religious prescriptions and, fearing orthodox contamination, observe their nominal faiths from the outside as mere spectators.

Now, there are two dangers in the commingling of religion and politics. The first is that religion, so debased, will be politicized.  And the second is that politics will become sacrilized. Both Marxism and Fascism are forms of sacralized politics. Hitler was a pre-Christian pagan, Stalin a god-like atheist and Mussolini a pre-Christian Roman imperator. Both fascism and communism are logical elaborations of socialism. 

A true application of the religious clause in the First Amendment – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” – stands as a bar to both abominations. The obvious and originalist meaning of this clause is that neither the establishment of a national church nor legislative impediments to the free exercise of religion shall be possible in the United States because laws affecting either may not be made by any law-making body. And in the absence of positive law, the legal principle Nulla poena sine lege, "no penalty without a law," must apply.

These two dangers – that religion will be politicized and politics sacralized – walk hand in hand, neither excluding the other. Atheistic Soviet Communism from World War I through the post-World War II years may best be understood as a secularized faith boasting its own doxology, found in both the Communist Manifesto and Karl Marx’s Das Kapital; its own sacred trinity – Marx the father, Lenin the son, and Stalin the holy spirit; and its own mode of proselytizing, through terror and the displacement of democratic political forms with totalist cradle to grave government.

Thanks to President Harry Truman in the United States and Winston Churchill in Great Britain we were forewarned of the dangers of Communism late in the World War II years. The dark side of totalist government was early illuminated by prescient intellectuals -- Whittaker Chambers in “Witness,” George Orwell in “1984”, Friedrich Hayak in “The Constitution of Liberty” and “The Road to Serfdom” – and others too numerous to mention, none of whom Sanders, an unrepentant child of the 1960’s, has consulted before establishing  his own socialist credo.

Sanders is committed to socialism and so lost to sweet reason. One supposes that socialist notions may be little more than an advantageous political avocation for Blumenthal. Sanders has an impassioned following among young people who, during their college years, had not been exposed by their Marxist professors to any of the works cited above. They are, to put the matter bluntly, familiar with yesterday but ignorant of the day before yesterday. Never-the-less, they are voters and as such represent an “interest” Blumenthal would like to lead into his own political paddock.

Unlike Sanders, Blumenthal is not becalmed on a socialist sea, with no fresh wind to blow him to the solid shore. At some point, one prays, the God of Abraham will intervene and show Blumenthal the way home.


james grimord said…
Very wonderful and timely essay; than you so much. I'm reminded of the quote, or exercise, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country." I would change it slightly, "Now is the time for all good people to choose between salvation and damnation." Not fake news, not a joke any longer.

Monica Patricia said…
Situs Penyedia Layanan Sepak Bola Terbaik Sbobet Dan Bonus Member Baru Yang Besar, Agen Sepak Bola Sbobet Maxbet Yang Memberikan Pelayanan 24 Jam Nonstop, Bandar Judi Sepak Bola Sbobet Yang Di Dukung Oleh Bank Dengan Pelayanan CS Yang Ramah dan 24 Jam Nonstop, Penyedia Jasa Pembuatan ID Sbobet Judi Sepak Bola Yang Terkenal Dan Memiliki Grafis YangBagus, dan Kemudahan Dalam Bermain Dan Keamanan Saat Bertransaksi

Agen Sepak Bola Online

bonus besar Sepak Bola

Bandar judi Sepak Bola

Agen Sbobet Judi Bola

Judi Sepak Bola Terbaik

Agen Judi Online

Bandar judi ikan

Agen sabung ayam

judi sabung ayam

judi tembak Ikan

Agenjudi tembak ikan terbaik

Popular posts from this blog

The Blumenthal Burisma Connection

Steve Hilton , a Fox News commentator who over the weekend had connected some Burisma corruption dots, had this to say about Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s association with the tangled knot of corruption in Ukraine: “We cross-referenced the Senate co-sponsors of Ed Markey's Ukraine gas bill with the list of Democrats whom Burisma lobbyist, David Leiter, routinely gave money to and found another one -- one of the most sanctimonious of them all, actually -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal."

Dave Walker, Turning Around The Misery Index

Dave Walker, who is running for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican Party ticket, is recognized by most credible political observers as perhaps the most over qualified candidate for Lieutenant Governor in state history. He is a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame and for ten years was the Comptroller General of the United States. When Mr. Walker talks about budgets, financing and pension viability, people listen. Mr. Walker is also attuned to fine nuances in political campaigning. He is not running for governor, he says, because he had moved to Connecticut only four years ago and wishes to respect the political pecking order. Very few people in the state think that, were he governor, Mr. Walker would know less about the finance side of government than his budget chief.

Murphy Stumbles

Blumenthal and Murphy U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has been roughly cuffed by some news outlets, but not by Vox, which published on April 16 a worshipful article on Connecticut’s Junior Senator, “ The Senator of State : How Connecticut’s Chris Murphy, a rising Democratic star, would run the world.” On April 15, The Federalist mentioned Murphy in an article entitled “ Sen. Chris Murphy: China And The World Health Organization Did Nothing Wrong . The lede was a blow to Murphy’s solar plexus: “Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy exonerated China of any wrongdoing over the global pandemic stemming from the novel Wuhan coronavirus on Tuesday. “’The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, is not because of anything the WHO [World Health Organization] did,’ said Murphy during a prime-time interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.”