I recently purchased Dennis Prager’s book Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. The title may seem a bit presumptuously America-centric, but knowing Prager, I suspect he makes a pretty good argument in support. Not sure when I’ll actually get around to reading the book, but I was skimming the Introduction today and came across the following, which I’ve decided to excerpt without comment. I hope you find it thought-provoking.
“Most people do not regard Leftism as analogous to Christianity or Islam. They do not see it as the secular religion or as the all-embracing ideology that is is. Yet Leftism is not only a secular form of religion; in our time it is much more vigorous in its proselytizing than Christianity. In the Western world, there are many more organizations promoting Leftism than Christianity. Western readers of this book are more likely to have been asked to sign a petition for a Leftist cause than for a Christian one, and more likely to have been asked to join a Leftist cause than to embrace Jesus Christ. And, of course, students throughout the Western world are taught Leftist, not Christian, beliefs and values in their high schools and universities.
Most adherents to Leftist values fervently seek to spread Leftism. This is not some conspiracy, secret or otherwise; nor is it an indictment. Indeed, few Leftists would deny it. Wherever the Left exist, it seeks power for its adherents and for its ideas.
And it has been wildly successful. Its values and worldview have so taken over the non-Muslim world (not only the Western world) that the Leftist worldview is considered by many to be the one normal way to view the world.
This last point is vital. For the majority of people in the West, the Left’s view of life is not considered only the Left’s view, but in fact the only legitimate view of life. That is why it is so difficult for most people, including many who consider themselves Leftists, to acknowledge that Western news media and Western educational institutions are overwhelmingly Leftist. They just seem, well… normal.
Yet Leftism dominates just about every university in the non-Muslim world and just about every news source in the world — with the important exceptions of American conservative talk radio, the Wall Street Journal editorial page (not news pages), conservative websites, one cable news network in America, and a handful of newspapers and magazines in the English-speaking world. Few of these Leftist universities or media call themselves liberal, let alone Leftist.
There are essentially no differences in outlook among the world’s leading newspapers and electronic news media. If you read Le Monde, France’s most prestigious newspaper, you have essentially read the New York Times in French, and vice versa. In terms of values, the editors of the New York Times have everything in common with the editors of Le Monde and little in common with at least half their fellow Americans. The editors of the Los Angeles Times would feel more comfortable at a meeting in Paris, where they had to converse with the editors of France’s leading newspapers using translators, than at a meeting of the Rotary or Kiwanis clubs of Los Angeles.
Most of all, Leftism is a religion because those who believe in its tenets often do so as fervently as religious Jews, Muslims, and Christians believe in their tenets. The Left believes in the welfare state with the same passion that a Muslim believes he should fast during Ramadan. A Leftist believes in the moral virtue of expanded government as deeply as a religious Christian believes in the moral virtue of stopping abortions. Western European Leftists and their American (and Canadian and Latin American) supporters are as passionate about secularism, economic equality, and the welfare state as believing Muslims are about Muhammed, the Koran, and Islam. And they wan Leftist values to dominate the world as much as orthodox Muslims want Islam to.
That is religion.”