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Correction: There Won’t Be A Backlash

A reader and friend of mine who is a prominent secular leftist writes in response to my American Mutaween post (I’ve slightly edited this to protect his privacy):

Of course, I’m entirely with you and Freddy DeBoer. If anything, I think he understates the problem. That said, I don’t see any reason to think (as opposed to in a certain sense wish, even if only out of schadenfreude) that there will be a fierce counter-reaction sooner or later. I say this because a) it seems to me that the idea that not giving offense is such an essential part of consumer capitalism, and b) liberalism’s genius is that it is the only secular ideology ever to claim (and I think believe sincerely) that it is not an ideology, makes resistance increasingly difficult. And why shouldn’t cultural and moral repression succeed for a long period of time? It has before, indeed, it has been the norm rather than the exception in human history. And what better sort of repression than a secularized version of the religious hunt for error, heresy, and paganism, which is what the phenomena and trends you and DeBoer are correctly describing in fact amount to?

Another reader pointed out in the comment section that the backlash I predicted over the Boy Scouts of America relaxing attitudes on homosexuality did not emerge. This is true. I stand corrected on my original prediction of a backlash.

The commenter Thursday has long pointed out that dogmatic secular liberals are the only people who are unaware that theirs is not a neutral position, but is in fact an ideology. This, as my correspondent notes, is a big reason why it’s so hard to fight them. They really don’t see what they’re doing, and they have a gift for convincing others that they aren’t doing what they plainly are — in part because, as my correspondent avers, the consumer capitalism that’s the real American religion finds a more pure expression in secular liberalism than in its rival ideologies.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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