American Democracy and Religious Nationalism

In a recent interview, David Deutsch, one of the most respected and thoughtful physicists in the world, expressed his view that there are two dangers to civilization: “One is moral relativism and the other is religious dogmatism.”

Religious dogmatism is what propelled the mass murderers of 9/11. It abounds throughout the world, very much so in our own country. Men like vice-president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and attorney general Bill Barr are religious dogmatists. They are in the grip of a religious vision and slaves to an imagined purpose that energizes them and confirms them in their actions, obliterating all other considerations. Thus, Barr, sworn to uphold the Constitution and the law, has no compunction about betraying his duty, because he has a higher calling –– to change America into an authoritarian religious nationalist state, which will thereby serve as the instrument of God and carrying out His plan.

Barr recently urged prosecutors to consider charging violent protestors with sedition –- a crime that has to do with trying to overthrow the government of the United States. His aim, shared with that of despots throughout history, is to intimidate and persecute critics. Just as Trump, who portrays himself as the law and order president, is the most dangerous criminal in the United States, Barr is the most impassioned seditionist.