The Left’s Witch-Hunting Frenzy Should Drive Each of Us to the Gun Range

A Jewish militia which arose in wartime Poland to resist Nazi genocide.

By John Zmirak Published on May 17, 2021

Increasingly the left acts like the religious police of an angry theocracy. And why shouldn’t it? The Woke movement has for millions taken on both the function and the authority of a traditional religion. But it lacks the core elements of reason or revelation that might constrain its use of power. Progressive Christianity has progressed right past the words and intentions of Christ, and become the “new gospel” that St. Paul warned his disciples against.

It’s easy to say that, that our opponents have crafted a new, false religion, then walk away. Scholars such as Eric Voegelin and Michael Burleigh have analyzed in detail how Communism, Nationalism, and other secular movements have mimicked the structure and usurped the power of traditional churches in the past. But we need to recognize in detail the kind of pseudo-religious enthusiasm our culture is undergoing right now, especially in universities and among the young.

Wokeness: A Post-Christian Cancer

We have entered a Great Awokening, a vast wave of irrational moralism which is different from ersatz religions our ancestors confronted. That’s because the Woke cult is a pathological development of basically Christian impulses (such as a love for justice). But the cult unhinges these from their proper function within the Body of Christ like a tumorous organ inside our abdomen. And in each case, that cancer can kill.

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Christianity, regardless of denomination, has deformed itself for many into an ideology of The Hive, a rudderless collectivist grab bag of impulses incompatible with traditional Western reason and freedom — or the basic Christian doctrines concerning God and man that made those freedoms possible.

Faith: A Powerful Engine

The genuine justification which traditional Christian faith offers is a powerful thing. It infuses the soul and unites us to Christ even in the midst of this veil of tears. The conviction that we follow and try to spread the one true religion of the Creator of the Universe — from the Big Bang to the bacterium, from the furthest-flung galaxy to subatomic particles … . That changes people. It produces self-emptying apostles like St. Paul and St. Maximilian Kolbe. It forms humble, courageous scholars such as saints Augustine and Anselm. Great humanitarians such as William Wilberforce and Mother Cabrini grow out of such acorns of faith, sheltering millions from suffering.

But get it a little twisted, and that conviction of faith also generates inquisitors, witch-burners, and bigots. Confuse your own ego with the “honor of God” and you can become a monster. At least the stern moral code at the heart of orthodox Faith provides a brake on such tendencies. The same Christian world that produced religious persecution also discovered that religious freedom lies at the core of human dignity. The conviction of our own sinfulness and utter dependence on God, at Christianity’s hot beating heart, should give a bad conscience to the most self-righteous fanatic.

Wiser Than Socrates, More “Christian” Than Jesus

None of these restraints hobbles the Woke. In fact, Progressive Christians are busily convincing themselves that they are more Christian than Jesus. They imagine that they have advanced beyond every previous generation of believer, and treat Christ’s own words the way that He (the Incarnate God) handled the Old Testament. The letter of Christ’s commands kills, while the Progressive spirit gives life. As a Progressive high school religion teacher once sneered to me: “Jesus didn’t have an M.A. in Theology from Catholic University. I do.”

Nor do the Woke let reason restrain them. They have studied the cynical theories of Derrida and Foucault, and embraced a hermeneutic of suspicion toward all past wisdom. They’d even smash reason’s tools such as logic, empirical science, and mathematics. Instead of trying to stand on the shoulders of giants, the Woke pretend that they’ve found their vast feet of clay. Such thinkers were “white males,” you see. With all the vulgar hubris of Nazi race-cranks sneering at Einstein’s “Jewish science,” the Woke exempt themselves from learning and exalt their own willful ignorance. They crawl into their bunker and move little flags around on maps, winning imaginary victories.

Don’t Allow These People Sharp Objects

Once your own ideology has convinced you that your fellow citizens are hardly-human moral monsters, you’ll be terrified of them. Your own sense of self-preservation will goad you to maximum ruthlessness. That in turn will feed your obsession with gaining and wielding power. Your scruples will slough away, as you see the circle of good, enlightened people surrounded and endangered. With your self-righteous ego puffed up by an utterly unearned sense of moral superiority over every previous human generation, you yourself are the danger. But of course you can’t see this, can you? You’re an unhinged and unreflective zealot, like any that ever ran a concentration or gulag camp.

Movements that have taught people to think of their fellow men as moral monsters have a long and horrible track record. In our time, they’ve piled up a staggering, almost inconceivable body count. Scholar of “democide” R. J. Rummel shows that between 1900 and 1990, governments intentionally killed a staggering 169,202,000 civilians, not including casualties of war. Those victims died in Russia, China, Germany, Africa, and the Caribbean. They were of every race, religion, and social class. They had little in common except a single factor: In virtually every case, long before they were killed, they’d been disarmed by the government.

And that’s why I’d like to remind everyone: No Second Amendment, no First.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream, and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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