Unlike most progressives, traditional Americans believed that only God was to be worshiped: Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. They saw human beings as flawed and vulnerable to evil. Newthinkers, on the other hand, tend to believe that we should celebrate humanity instead of God.
Americanism, though fed by emotion as are all things human, grew out of and was shaped by a written religious tradition. Newthink, however, grew wild out of an emotional groundwork. Newthinkers believe they are transcendentally noble, and that their feelings are inherently good. But emotions, like water, can be life-giving or destructive, depending on how they are channeled.
…rationality alone cannot determine right and wrong. The intellect must have a substructure: one must defer to the written authority of God as traditional Americans did, or to feelings as progressives do.
As the newthink worldview tree developed, in its branches the philosophy of humanism grew. Humanism is really an aspect of newthink. God was replaced by humanity, and the civilizing process in God’s name was replaced by endless battle. In its definition of humanism, the dictionary says that “Humanist beliefs . . . seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.”* But rationality alone cannot determine right and wrong. The intellect must have a substructure: one must defer to the written authority of God as traditional Americans did, or to feelings as progressives do. Without a good foundation for rationality, anything – rewarding sloth, killing babies or even exterminating entire ethnic groups – can be made logical.
Devout newthinkers believe human beings are already inherently perfect, but that perfection is hidden or corrupted by society. From that perspective, celebrating human beings instead of God makes sense. When humanity is equivalent to God, killing any human is anathema, equivalent to killing God. That is part of the unconscious dynamic behind death penalty opponents in America. Their reverence for all human life blinds them to any distinction between the state execution of a murderer after a jury trial and any other killing of a human being. They may quote the biblical commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” But, as I learned from Dennis Prager, properly translated into English from the Hebrew word ratsach, that commandment really reads “Thou shalt not murder.” That is an important difference. The original Hebrew did not use the word harag (to kill), nor muth (put to death); nor shachat (to slaughter).** Murder is a subset of killing: it is that subset –“the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another”*** – which God prohibits. To traditional Americans – unlike newthinkers – the execution of a tried murderer and his own criminal act were not morally equivalent.
* The New Oxford American Dictionary, (Oxford University Press, 2001).
** Timothy E. White, Free to Love: Looking at the Law Through Jesus’ Eyes, (Tate Publishing, 2008), p. 57.
*** The New Oxford American Dictionary, (Oxford University Press, 2001).