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Disintegration on the Left

By John Mallon
© 2005 by John Mallon
Catholic Online

Anyone wishing to understand the looniness of today's Left would do well to read two books by C.S. Lewis. (Actually, anyone would do well to read any book by C.S. Lewis.) In his classic, The Abolition of Man, Lewis lays out the case for objective morality and how all of the great religions of history held essentially the same moral truths. He explains how anyone attempting to replace this commonly recognized body of truths with some other system was inevitably sawing off the branch on which they sit. Imagine someone saying "There absolutely no absolutes!" and you get the idea. He refers to those who would attempt to replace the moral law as "Social Reformers."

In his classic novel, That Hideous Strength, the third installment of his famous "Space Trilogy" he illustrates the theory in fiction of what happens when "social reformers attempt to reform reality. His illustration precisely describes what has been happening for years under what has been called "Political Correctness." Lewis's prescience is astonishing, which seems to prove there is nothing new under the sun.

The action takes place, appropriately enough, on a college campus and centers around two main characters, Mark and Jane Studdock, a young married couple, who see themselves as rather "progressive." At first the "reform" looks very attractive and benevolent, especially to Mark, an ambitious young faculty member. I will not give away the story but we see through their eyes the direction of the seemingly attractive "reform." For those interested in such things the book tracks the most amazing progression of the disintegration of a human soul, finally into damnation, in modern fiction.

I mention this because a lot of thoughtful people I know have done a lot of speculative chin scratching and armchair psychologizing about the irrationality of the modern-day Left. Ever since the trumpeting of the so-called "New Morality" in the late 1960s there has been a shift in the moral atmosphere concerning right and wrong.

Lately there has been a movement of people coming to realize that what has been traditionally declared right and wrong was declared right and wrong for a reason; that morality is not arbitrary, but eminently sensible--full of common sense and for our good. To make their case the Left are having to move ever further out on that branch on which they sit to make their arguments, and indeed are beginning to saw that branch off the more they open their mouths.

They are starting to appear crazy.

And their demonstrations! Do they really think "Hey, hey, ho, ho [fill in the blank] has got to go!" is going to convince anyone? Or that other crowd pleaser, "Racist, sexist, anti-gay! [Fill in the blank] go away!"

After the 2004 presidential election it took on a certain hilarity watching Democrats try to figure out what went wrong. The "Limousine Liberals" didn't understand why they lost since they were supposedly the "party of the little guy," but their pretensions to be so came off as condescending. I happened to tune into one such head-scratching party on C-Span where folks from the Democrat Leadership Conference were convening. They concluded that perhaps they should dine at Applebee's more often to get a look at the American people instead of the Capitol Grill.

Good insight.

They were looking for ways "to get their message out" and assumed that was their failure. It never occurred to them that their message was bad. Their incessant "envelope pushing" may finally be pushing the American people too far. But the Left is so obsessed with envelope pushing being an unqualified good that they are shocked when someone pushes back. Especially when it is clear that common sense and decency are being bulldozed. The generation whose siblings were legally aborted are adults now. The "Youth Generation" of the 60s are no longer young. As Abraham Lincoln said, "You can't fool all of the people all of the time."

The Left is in decline.

Thank God.

In promoting abortion, and all that comes in its wake, they attempted to ride the coattails of the Civil Rights Movement framing abortion as a "rights" issue. They fail to see (or admit) that abortion on demand is not part of the continuum of human progress and human rights, but part of the continuum of cruelty and genocide down through history which includes American slavery and the Nazi Holocaust.

It is not human and it is not right and it is certainly not a human right. We may be on the verge of an awakening in these matters. Whether eyes are opened gradually, as in recent years, or in a sudden "tipping point" remains to be seen. But it is well worth watching and working for.


John Mallon is an Associate Editor of Inside the Vatican magazine. He can be reached at


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Liberalism, morality, C.S. Lewis, John Mallon

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