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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Neo-Conservatism: Modernity’s First Religious Utopian Movement

The Age of Enlightenment bequeathed to the world the notion that men of reason and science (who are free of religious beliefs) can use political power to improve human race and create a perfect society. The first political movement inspired by the radical enlightenment doctrine was the French Revolution of the 18th century—the atheistic jacobins began the era of mass murder in the name of spreading enlightenment.

The Enlightenment doctrine didn’t disappear with the failure of the French Revolution. In the 20th century, the communists led by Lenin were motivated by the vision of unbounded human possibility that could be unleashed by the implementation of utopian ideas. In the 1930s, the nazis and the fascists used the idea of scientific racism (which was developed during the Age of Enlightenment) to create a perfect society.

All political movements in the last 250 years that were inspired by the Enlightenment vision of human perfectibility and the possibility of perfect society were atheistic and anti-tradition—all except one, the neo-conservatives. They are very religious and traditional, but they hanker for goals that are as utopian as the goals that motivated the jacobins, communists, nazis, and fascists. With the rise of the neo-conservatives, utopianism has taken root in the conservative mind.

Related: The Utopian Mission of Liberals and Neo-Conservatives

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