Does a new Dark Age loom?

With increasing frequency, the self-styled “Progressive” movement in America reminds me of the Catholic Church, circa 1231-1826, the golden age Statism when the Inquisition ran rampant. The Church developed a fantastic marketing strategy of first selling people on the idea that they should feel guilty over any number of acts or thoughts, then doubling their profit by selling them ways to absolve that same guilt.

The catalog of sins about which Americans should feel guilty according to “Progressive” orthodoxy has grown to the size of the old Sears & Roebuck annuals, and the first entry is simply being an American. This is especially so, if you are also male, white, affluent, and straight. I’m sure that I’m missing many more categories, but it is difficult to keep track of the various ways in which we may sin these days.

Guilt regarding climate change is especially popular. We’ve even been told that the world will end in 12 years if we don’t stop flying in airplanes and eating meat, but call me a heretic, because I don’t feel guilty about the fact that it’s getting warmer, which is not a new phenomenon. Once upon a time, there were palm trees in what is now Canada (you can look it up), a fact about which I feel no guilt. Nor do I feel guilty about the existence of the Chesapeake Bay that was formed some 10,000 years ago (which is the blink of an eye considering the age of our climate) when rising sea levels at the end of the last ice age flooded the Susquehanna River valley. You can look that up, too.

Of course, the Progressives do call me a heretic, only their current pejorative is “denier” as in, climate change denier, and it is often said with the same amount of spit and venom that no doubt spewed from the mouth of the Grand Inquisitor. There are many other popular progressive pejoratives out there now including racist, homophobe, Islamaphobe, misogynist, etc., etc., but they all mean heretic. Herein is where the real identity politics lie.

Heretics, of course, are not just different; they are profane, and because by definition, anything profane threatens the sacred, then the treatment of heretics is of no concern. This is why Antifa is excused, and even cheered in some quarters. When you intimidate, and beat up a heretic, you’re not really beating up a person. If you’re on a mission from God, then casting out a few heretics is really but a minor mission. By extension, the facts that heretics espouse may be ignored. Or as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez put it in January, “There’s [sic] a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.”

The fact that the earth revolved around the sun, was inconsequential in the face of the belief that it was the other way around, and so, Father Vincenzo Maculani da Firenzuola placed Galileo under house arrest for the rest of his life. In 1933, that is, 300 years after his condemnation, Galileo was finally cleared of heresy, and the Catholic Church admitted that they had made a mistake.

If the “Progressive” movement is viewed in light of Inquisitorial thinking, then the irrational opposition to, and hatred of, President Trump makes sense. For not only has Trump committed the sins of being a rich, white, Christian, male, he does not feel the least bit guilty about any of it. This makes Trump the Anti-Progressive, and his MAGA-hat wearing followers are demons to be cast out of restaurants or doxed out of neighborhoods. Trump supporters are not just people with whom you disagree, they are blasphemers and, therefore, there is no obligation to treat them as anything but a danger, and whatever facts they can muster be damned. Literally.

People are spiritual creatures; they believe for the same reason that they eat and sleep, because such activities are necessary for survival. The spiritualism of the “Progressive” movement is very simple, which is what makes it so attractive: Here are the sins about which you should feel guilty, but take heart! For the mere cost of your vote and lots of tax dollars, you may purchase absolution, and you always have the assurance that no matter what you do—even if you make millions of dollars and fly in a private jet—your transgressions are never as sacrilegious as Trump’s and his fallen followers’.

We may be headed for a new Dark Age.

Austin Gisriel of Frederick County (formerly of Williamsport, Md.) is author of “Boots Poffenberger: Hurler, Hero, Hell-Raiser.” His latest book is “Fathers, Sons, and Holy Ghosts: Baseball as a Spiritual Experience.”

(5) comments


All your words are dark and negative. Only your choir reads it. It serves no common good. You are the DARK DAYS.




Bravo, from a fellow heretic! Thank you, Sir.


The rationale for empiricism is based on evidence. Heresy is one thing, refusing to acknowledge the evidence quite another. None so blind as those who refuse to see.


Instead of palm trees in Canada Grisriel should be talking about lethal heat waves, smothered chickens, horrific storms and deadly wildfires, and losing Florida, the Bahamas, and coastal cities of the world to sea rise. We'll certainly be enjoying the warmth when 85% of our cereal crop yields are lost. No one needs to feel guilty about climate change, as long as they have low expectations for the survival of their children and grandchildren.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.