In a ravaged post-Christian landscape, faith and family emerge as fallout shelters.
The New Levites
An examination of the priestly caste of the leftist religions.
Modern American decadence has created a habitat for religions purporting to be academic disciplines based on science and empiricism. The chief exemplars consist of: the Church of Woke—a faith that catastrophizes history, tradition, and competence hierarchies; Climate Religion—a faith of environmental catastrophism; and the Cult of COVID—a faith of viral catastrophism. Characterizing these tendencies as religions is not novel, but there is a novel question deserving of further explication that deals less with the religions per se than the leaders of these new religions (the “New Levites”). Implicitly, the common man finds the New Levites odious. However, to truly indict these failed leaders rhetorically and politically, we must first identify their misdeeds, abstract out the underlying pathologies, and properly characterize them, thus rendering the source of tension between the New Levites and the common man both explicit and mutually intelligible amongst critics. After much meditation, going beyond the superficial mendacity and duplicity of this priestly caste, I have isolated three conceptual seeds of acrimony that have been growing between the New Levites and the common man.
A Brief Etymology
The term Levites refers to members of the Tribe of Levi, Israelites who trace their ancestry to Levi, the third son of Jacob. The Levites lacked a unique tribal territory, instead they circulated among the other tribes of Israel and served the entire Israelite population as priests and subordinate sacerdotal roles. Whether you believe in the God of the Bible or not, scholars agree that it was the Levites who “assembled [the Torah] from its sundry literary sources” to form the cardinal books of the Old Testament (i.e., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). The New Levites simply carry this naming convention forward.
Seed One: Contrition vs. Recalcitrance
One of the more unexpected turns of fate in the Old Testament begins with the temporary absence of the Israelite’s most chronicled Levite—Moses. At this point in the story, the Israelites have witnessed a series of God’s miracles marshaled with the singular intent to end the enslavement of the Israelites and return them to the promised land of Canaan. Despite these miracles, the Israelites and the primogenitor of the priestly class—Aaron—demonstrate a remarkably shallow faith and commitment to God. Moses is engaged in divine revelation on Mount Sinai where he receives the Ten Commandments. Subsequently, he returns to the Israelites to find that his own brother Aaron has cast an idol in the form of a golden calf which the Israelites worship. Most readers, whether Judeo-Christian or not, recognize this as a profound betrayal. Not only were the Israelites beneficiaries of divine intervention, but the temporal proximity to these miracles amplifies the Israelites’ violation. Moses returns to find the Israelites engaged in idol worship, and Aaron confesses his role—unenthusiastically, as the text of the Torah makes clear. Claiming responsibility for moral shortcomings endears one to his fellow man, and the Levites’ ability to memorialize the sins of their founding high priest speaks to contrition and yields scope to the first seed.
Anthony Fauci presided over the newest of the leftist religions—the Cult of COVID—serving a tour of duty as the papal nuncio in America, if not the cult’s pope per se. The visible and outspoken nuncio embodied recalcitrance as he propagated a series of inconsistent papal bulls. Recall Fauci pronouncing that masking was ineffective; one mask was necessary and adequate; and two masks were the order of the day. Rather than concede error, implicit in such incongruous positions, Fauci carried on, superciliously delivering subsequent bulls famously bolstering his credibility by claiming that attacks on him were coterminous with attacks on science. In this statement, Fauci boldly proclaimed himself factually infallible and morally unassailable. After all, science is a methodology not a conclusion, therefore, it can’t ever be wrong; it can, at worst, be incomplete.
Fauci’s lies would be relatively easy to forgive, after all, if his dishonesty was egregious, though Aaron’s idol making may have been worse. The distinguishing feature, rather, is found in Aaron’s response to sin. The Old Levites explicitly sought atonement, as demonstrated by Aaron’s reluctant confession to Moses and the numerous prescriptions for offense offerings in the Book of Leviticus. Implicitly, the Old Levites demonstrated contrition by memorializing the shortcomings of their forefathers rather than redacting them. The same cannot be said for the New Levites who have purged contrition from their respective cultic practices, preferring the appearance of infallibility.
Seed Two: Salutary vs. Punitive Prescriptions
The Book of Leviticus codifies prescriptions of the Old Levites. A modern reader, even if skeptical, can derive from these pages that the intent of the prescriptions is the spiritual or physiological health of the adherents. The former can be found in the many ritual sacrifices to atone for transgressions or to show reverence for the most-high. The latter can be found in the protocols that seek bodily cleanliness or mitigation of transmissible disease. In a similar vein, the Book of Exodus contains the corpus of social injunctions, relating to personal conduct, property rights, and proportional punishments. The specific means of achieving spiritual, physical, and social health may be debated, but the ultimate intent of these prescriptions should be broadly sought by anyone who sees value in their fellow man.
The New Levites also seek spiritual and physiological purity, but their rituals and dogma pursue perdition for the impure rather than redemption. We need not collate facts and make inferences to discern the intent the New Levites’ rites; their priests explicitly state the intent is punitive not salutary. In 2021, Dr. Aruna Khilanani, a New York-based psychiatrist, addressed an audience at the Yale School of Medicine and broadcast fantasies of ritually executing white people, not for individual transgressions but for the crime of melanin deficiency. Woke priest Ibram X. Kendi has echoed the punitive intent of his religion, writing “[t]he only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.”
To be sure, the Old Levites did prescribe punitive measures, but these are distinguished from the punitive measures sought by the New Levites. The Old Levites prescribed punitive measures when salutary ones were inadequate for a specific case pending adjudication. These cases involved specific bad actions, not thoughts, and charges were brought against individuals, not collectives. Both of these features have been excised by the New Levites as they perform “social justice.” The New Levites have eliminated numbering and weighing and have skipped straight to the dividing they seem to relish.
The lexicon that the New Levites use to indict sinners evidences the shift from condemning action to punishing thought, thereby greatly expanding the cast of potential villains. Discrimination has been replaced by various -isms (racism, sexism, ableism); skeptics have become “deniers” (election deniers, climate deniers). In the interest of expediency, the New Levites have also rescinded the traditional requirement that claims be brought against an individual. It is quicker to pass judgment on groups, and the chilling effect on dissidence carries further.
Seed Three: Ecclesiastical vs. Ecumenical
The Old Levites never compelled their adherents to leave Egypt or stopped apostates from leaving the faith. The jurisdiction of the Old Levites was circumscribed; it had ecclesiastical limits. Initially, the Old Levites had only in personam jurisdiction. In other words, priests had writ only over those Israelites who had consented to Levite leadership by following Moses out of Egypt to worship God in the wilderness. Eventually, this matured into territorial jurisdiction over the land of Canaan, but never did the Old Levites attempt to impose their rituals on sojourners or the great powers of the region—Egypt, Assyria, or Greece.
The New Levites claim to solve problems that are so grand that they must be granted global jurisdiction over all faiths and creeds without geographical limits. This request was granted by many governments who presumed the soothsayers were correct and needed global control for a global problem. But the New Levites are not satisfied with boundless territorial jurisdiction: they also seek boundless subject matter jurisdiction. Originally, climate priests like Al Gore focused their subject matter jurisdiction on the ubiquitous element carbon, a major component of energy emissions. This granted the faith writ over activities using biological material or hydrocarbons as fuel, but eventually that proved to be unsatisfactory purchase to grip control of the lives of their adherents. In recent years, climate priests have broadened their subject matter jurisdiction beyond carbon to seek control over nitrogen, an element that fertilizes plant growth. By claiming authority over carbon and nitrogen, the climate priests reserve for themselves dominion to legislate any aspect of life. To further cement control, the biggest investment firms on the planet have begun to circumvent legislation by issuing climate edicts to the commercial world. The firms enforce their climate edicts by issuing mercantilists “ESG scores.” Climate priests now manipulate the law directly through legislation and indirectly through commerce.
The Church of Woke and the Cult of COVID also seek ecumenical control. Both claim to solve existential problems. Both have pushed into the deep end of the pool geographically and philosophically. Recall the Gender Studies program at Kabul University and the attempts to shut down worship services and force vaccines in red state America.
To the Americans who have skin in the game, who are not bubble wrapped in sinecures, trial and error is like breathing. When one tinkers as a way of life, it becomes apparent that solutions must be tailored to circumstances, and broad ecumenical prescriptions are bound to fail even if they produce results in the safe spaces of academia.
Old Ways, New Ways
There is a remanent of America that still lives by means of induction, tinkering, and empiricism. They follow the ancient ways and recognize the inherent complexity of systems. Thomas Sowell would call this vision “constrained.” This approach to life gives one an intuitive sense of what will and will not last. Morally unassailable priests perpetually punishing adherents without limits to their ecumenical jurisdiction will chart a disastrous course. To those constrained and anchored to something approaching the truth, these three seeds of acrimony have metastasized and eliminated the prospect of harmonious co-existence.
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