Confessions From The Blue Church
The “Blue Church” is not the first church I’ve quit.
“Tomorrow children, we will learn why the Catholic Church is the one true religion”.
The speaker was my sixth grade teacher Sister Cornelius. I couldn’t wait. For five years, at the start of every day in Resurrection Catholic Elementary School in Brooklyn, New York, I sat through ninety minutes of religious instructions. At the time, Catholics claimed exclusive validity in the eyes of God, as did many other religions.
When I was very young growing up in Red Hook Brooklyn, my best friend was Allen. Allen was Jewish. When I arrived at Resurrection Elementary School, I soon learned “only baptized Catholics get to see God”. My reaction was “what about Allen”? Allen’s father owned a candy story, a god-like creation if there ever was one to a very young boy and his friends.
So now back in Sister Cornelius’s class, after five years of cognitive dissonance caused by concern for my friend Allen’s afterlife, heavenly restricitons for non-Catholics would soon be explained. Not the best student ever, it was unusual for me to be very interested, even eager, to hear the next day’s lesson. Now I would soon know why we Catholics were the “one true religion” and why Allen would not be meeting me in the hereafter.
It was a very long time ago. I do not remember what Sister Cornelius taught us. I do, however, remember thinking: “that doesn’t prove anything”. I was ten years old.
A year later, I was banging on the door of the priests’s residence demanding to see Father Smith. Father Smith had gossiped about some very personal information. My mother was religious and trusted Catholic clergy. Mom confided a private family matter to Father Smith who repeated it to the mother of one of my friends.
The “seal of confession” was a construct repeated often to us children in religious studies. We were assured that a priest would die a torturous death before revealing what they learned from anyone in confidence.
“Why did you tell my friend’s mother…” I demanded?
Father Smith denied having done so. I called him a lair and left. I withdrew from Catholicism at age eleven.
When I arrived at public high school, I was scholastically inferior to the public school students my age. As a young teenager, I simply assumed I was not that smart. I would later figure out that my grade school education was sub-par. However, the New York City public school system did nothing to help me catch up either.
I do not like when writers bash their parents. If you are writing about them, your parents did enough to make sure you are alive and literate. Be grateful for that. For the purpose of my point in this essay, let’s just say I did not have a privileged or advantaged family influence.
In 1968 it was clear to me the heroic World War II generation in power were making really bad decisions about a war in Vietnam that was killing thousands of my peers and maybe millions of Asians. By then I had little faith in institutional wisdom. I had long ago become a skeptic, seeking my conclusions from sources alternative to the mainstream drift. I was not going to let a government force me into risking my life for a cause I did not believe in. I worked the system and became a member of the New York Army National Guard to avoid being drafted.
The 1–106 Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 42nd Division, The Rainbow Division, of the New York Army National Guard, to this day, is the single most inept organization I have ever been associated with.
In 1993, at forty-two years of age, I enrolled in Brooklyn College. Five years later, I received a BS in Psychology graduating Magna Cum Laude. Afterwards I spent a year in a doctoral program at City University of New York in experimental psychology. I withdrew from grad school after reaching the conclusion that this respected institution of higher learning, while having value, is intellectually corrupt in its own way as well. The advantage I possessed as a college student was my maturity, along with my skepticism. They protected me from the institutional indoctrination of academic social dogma endemic in that system.
In my experience of life, nearly all social institutions failed to live up to their own standards: religion, family, schools, the academy, government, the military. Hell, I even thought the Boy Scouts sucked.
In an essay on Medium, Jordan Hall abstracts the modern complex of academic social dogma, combined with broadcast media and liberal politics, into a meme: “The Blue Church”. My first inkling to the existence of the Blue Church came in 2005 when I read Harvard experimental psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker’s “Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature”.
Pinker put a timeline on the development of dogmatic beliefs in the Academy, writing about how World War II master race atrocities motivated well meaning academics to eschew any and all ideas suggesting behavioral predispositions. By the nineteen seventies, social justice warriors from Harvard’s sociology department shut down a presentation by throwing pies at biologist E.O. Wilson. Wilson had the temerity to show data suggesting biologically predetermined behavior.
All knowing keepers of appropriate thoughts on behavioral development from the hallowed halls of the sociology department insisted all behavior was learned. No behavior was innate, none, zero, zip. If you disagreed you were shut down.
And Wilson was talking about ants! You can’t make this stuff up. Pinker called these growing false beliefs in the Academy: “academic social dogma”.
I came of age recognizing that the political left and right were not monolithic entities. Life is not monolithic; it’s complicated. Two people arguing opposite sides of a political argument can both be right. Humans, however, are more comfortable when they can pigeon hole an idea and view it from a binary perspective: black/white; up/down; socialist/capitalist; democrat/republican. Our academic, political, media complex has unfolded in a way where it takes advantage of our propensity for binary thinking by categorizing ideas, especially political ideas, in a binary way.
Blue Church authorities exploit human propensity toward binary thinking. Blue Church information is broadcast down from expert leaders within the church. Professors, teachers, politicians and media personalities determine what you need to know. They broadcast their conclusions in easy to understand abstractions, often in a binary context, to large audiences. The information, for the most part, flows in one direction from the knowledgeable to the many.
That has always been a little too much abstraction for me. I never aligned myself with a political party. I made my voting choices and political stands based on how I thought any particular politician or movement was affecting my life.
In the sixties and seventies I was most affected by the war in Vietnam, racial disharmony and a poor economic environment. I came to adulthood as a left leaning centrist politically. I hated racism and supported racial and gender equal opportunity. I most certainly did not want to engage in unnecessary wars, although I am not a pacifist. I placed a lot of value on higher learning. A PhD following your name would impress me. Underpinning everything was the ability to work and support my family. Economics were at the base.
A second significant awareness of the The Blue Church, and its influence on my judgement, came about much the same way similar to how Sister Cornelius’s information failure affected me back when I was ten. In 2016, I was living in Singapore and became friends with Fred, an American tenured professor of biology doing cutting edge research in genetics. I was glad to be his friend. Fred also enjoyed political debate. He was an excellent debater.
A caustic political climate was beginning to churn as Donald Trump began to have success in the primary elections. Things were getting rather terse for supporters of Mr. Trump. Early epitaphs directed at Trump supporters were usually about their lack of intelligence. Labels like racist, homophobic and Neo-Nazi would soon follow.
I was voting for Hilary. Toward the end of my tenure as a Lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department, Mrs. Clinton was a New York Senator. While working in the rubble of the destroyed World Trade Center, Mrs. Clinton’s voice was the first I remember hearing that was concerned about worker safety at the Trade Center site. Senator Clinton was pivotal in funding a program to monitor the heath of Trade Center rescue workers. To this day I undergo an annual physical that is part of a longitudinal study of the after effects from the World Trade Center. And today still, some of my old colleagues are dying from disease related to the attacks. Additionally, Mrs. Clinton displayed, in my opinion, competency as Secretary of State. She had my vote. The pre-election carnival that was happening was just a side show for me. However, I was becoming uncomfortable with the name calling from the left.
After Mr. Trump captured the Republican Party’s nomination, I remember reading about a politically influential right wing news editor who was close to Trump: Steve Bannon, the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News. I asked my friend Fred, the politically astute, brilliant academic, if he knew of Bannon and Breitbart. Without hesitation, Fred passionately told me Bannon was a dangerous man in charge of a racist, Neo-Nazi, online news platform. Fred made it clear it was unequivocally necessary to keep a threat like Bannon away from any real political power. The only thing that kept Fred from apoplexy at the mention of Bannon’s name was Fred’s absolute belief that Trump would never be President.
If Fred had simply told me Bannon was a conservative political personality who Fred disagreed with, I most likely would have accepted his opinion without much thought. But a dangerous Neo-Nazi near a presidential candidate? That I had to research.
What the hell are we coming to?
First, I discovered Steve Bannon was a former Naval combat officer. By 2016, I rated Naval combat officers higher in the status hierarchy than PhDs. After Bannon left the Navy he went to Harvard and got a MBA. There goes the dumb meme. With his MBA in hand Steve became a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs where he analyzed the finances of media companies. Steve wound up as the Chairman of online news platform Breitbart News.
Does Goldman Sachs hire a lot of Nazis?
I moved on, looking for the dangerous Neo-Nazi, racist internet media platform Breitbart News. I discovered Breitbart’s Senior Editor was a homosexual Jewish guy who is now married to a black man, Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo is an outrageous millennial pop media personality, kind of a modern day court jester. Milo describes himself as a troll.
I want to know who gave Milo his Nazi ID?
Bannon, Breitbart and Milo have little, if any, influence on my social and political ways of thinking. They are too extreme for me, and I have no wish to promote them. But characterizing them as dangerous Neo-Nazis is ridiculous.
What leftie critics of Breitbart do is they look at the comment sections of articles on Breitbart, an unapologetic conservative news platform. When leftie critics discover a politically incorrect comment, they conflate the nasty comments with Breitbart, Bannon and anybody who associates with Bannon, such as Trump. If you do not denounce Bannon, you’re a Nazi supporter.
Much like my sixth grade teacher Sister Cornelius, Fred was an intellectual prisoner of his church and binary thinking, unable to separate fact from dogma. Sister Cornelius and Professor Fred, both having influential status within their church, were unwilling to explore the nuances of complicated beliefs.
In the early part of the twentieth century the Blue Religion, led by academics, won the fight for cultural leadership. The Catholics especially aided in their own near demise with creepy scandals. But the Blue Church, riding ascendant scientific rationality, displaced older religions dominating the decision making posts in broadcast information.
The Blue Church is now being overrun, much the same way they overran legacy religions. And they seem unaware of their eminent collapse. The Blue Church is being undermined by a fundamental change in the way information is being exchanged.
It has happened before. The printing press facilitated the Protestant reformation. The big difference now is digital media does not fall into the broadcast model. In ever increasing fashion, information is shared. It is not a top down affair controlled by a few for the many. The many are sending information back through a complex matrix of digital communication.
Meanwhile, people like Milo and Bannon were among the first people around who really understood what was going on with trolling, and other such media matrix tactics, during the presidential campaign. Their insight very well may have helped swing the election.
On November 8, 2016, I was in Monroe, New York: “While it does not appear your candidate will win, if he did, I would not be all that surprised”.
I was at my daughter’s house. She and her husband liked Donald Trump. None of us believed Mr. Trump had a chance. Even Fox News was pessimistic about a Trump win. The election day sun had not fully set on the east coast of America and the non-Fox media were already breaking out their party hats. In just a few hours my increasing awareness of the Blue Church and academic social dogma would get another boost, along with a lesson from my eleven year old grandson.
Although I predicted an opposite result, I was not too surprised at Trump’s victory because I saw in Donald Trump’s campaign a long overdue challenge to academic social dogma on a political and social level. I recalled how in the seventies, feminists were declaring that all behavioral differences between men and women had a social genesis. Larger hips in women, different brains and totally different endocrine systems be damed, all differences in behavior between men and women were learned. Nothing was innate.
Hard working, intelligent folks not indoctrinated in academic social dogma shrugged this kind of thinking off three decades ago. But now from within the ever expanding influence of political correctness, what was once thought of as not so important ideas coming from the towers of academia were now permeating the larger culture.
In 1968 young men could avoid military conscription in the US by going to college; they got a student deferment from the draft. Men applied to colleges in numbers never seen before. And while some were serious students, many were simply looking for a party to go to while not going to Vietnam. These less than stellar students gravitated to less demanding disciplines such as art programs, music, sociology and journalism where difficult science classes were not required. Universities prospered and grew in influence like never before. By the time the draft avoiding baby boomers were sending their kids to college, universities were churning out social justice warriors indoctrinated in post modernist philosophies.
Post modernists basically believe that culture is so complicated there is no one correct way of life, a kind of re-booted existentialism where there is no intrinsic meaning. There are no universal correlatives to the notion of ‘meaning’. Meaning is a human construct; we are making it all up.
They may have a point. It is, however, befuddling that where post modernist thinking creates a philosophical void, eliminating traditional belief systems, they insert Marxian socialist ideology. While befuddling, the motivation behind academics love affair with socialism is rooted in maintaining and improving their own position in social and political status hierarchies.
Fundamental to socialism is the need for an oppressed group. Originally, Marx saw oppression in the working class. Today, when economic conditions are good, successful members of the working class in developed countries can have two cars in their garage and a summer home. The new oppressed were victims of ethnic and gender discrimination.
The United States has a history of slavery. And racial discrimination was rampant and nasty when I was growing up. The civil rights movement was a heroic movement, empowering black Americans like never before. President Johnson signed legislation to protect voting rights and remove barriers for black Americans. Now, a generation of dark skinned Americans are coming of age in a country where we have had two black Secretaries of State, three women Secretaries of State and a black President. I am not naive, racism still exists, but the legal and social barriers against people of color and women are largerly a vestige of a darker time.
Activists and academics achieved social status in their day, aligning with the Democratic Party. Hippies grew up, cut their hair and went to work in the arts filling newspapers, television production centers and Hollywood with social and political progressives. Today, in a political climate where oppression is not what it once was, this matrix of media, entertainment and Democratic politics, The Blue Church, are all still dancing to the same rhythm, defending social justice, labeling any and all political opponents as misogynistic, racist, homophobic, ignorant, white oppressive louts.
At about 1:00AM on November 9th, it was becoming clear Mr. Trump would be the next president of The United States of America. Given the non-stop, overwhelming, anti-Trump animus coming from The Blue Church media, the election results were very dramatic, historic I would say. My daughter, and her husband allowed my 11 year old grandson to stay up and watch the election returns. They all wanted to stay up and wait for the official results. I was tired. As I excused myself to leave the living room I said: “no one saw this coming”. My grandson smiled and said: “don’t believe everything you hear on TV”. He’s a wise young man. Perhaps, as I was at his age, my grandson is testing reality against dogma and not finding truth in the dogma. But I now had a conundrum.
I am not wealthy, but I have done okay. I am grateful to have been born in The United States where a working class guy like me can achieve financial security. On election day 2016 I owned stocks. I had invested a significant amount of my retirement savings in a handful of blue chip stocks. In eight months prior to Mr. Trump’s surprise election win, my modest stock portfolio had increased by 8%, a happy appreciation as stocks go. The very same media talking heads assuring all who listened that Donald Trump would never win the election were now predicting a stock market rout of major proportions. I was lying in bed asking myself if I should put a sell order in for the market opening on November 9th. With my wise grandson’s observation of incorrect information coming from The Blue Church media present in my thoughts, I asked myself why financial markets would be unhappy with a billionaire businessman promising to lower corporate tax rates. I held.
The post election performance of my modest stock portfolio was yet another source of insight into the false belief system of The Blue Church. On 4 Nov 2016 The Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,888. Eight months later on 7 Jul 2017 the Dow index value was 21,414. That’s a twenty percent increase!
Blue Church theology is an end-of-times belief apparently.
There are many more examples of positive outcomes that have occurred since President Trump took office. Unless of course you are getting your information from The Blue Church. There you will learn that the US President who was once a New York playboy business tycoon had love affairs.
Mr. Trump is unorthodox. He can be crass. When attacked, he fights back hard. But he is also the most transparent President in my lifetime. If you don’t already pay attention to Mr. Trump’s tweets, do so. If you read him every day — he does post something daily — you will get a window into the man’s thinking. You may find as I have that we have been misled by a social, political network of academics, reporters, movie stars, politicians and more who are on a cultural Kamikaze mission. We are in a new paradigm. The Blue Church of old status hierarchies are crumbling beneath the weight of technological innovation. Many are holding on with all their might to the old ways. Often they are willing to slander and misinform in order to keep their place.
There is a lot of information available to you from many sources, around the world. It is conveniently available on your phone. Be skeptical of everything. Find you own answers.