Politics and sorcery – the Left’s loss of faith in politics and the rise of witchcraft
When people lose hope, they sometimes turn to magic. Since Trump’s victory, the loss of hope has accelerated on the left…
Do you trust that things are generally going to work out for you?
This is a question everybody confronts at some point. I think Americans are, for the most part, optimistic about their lot in life. Americans are resilient. We have always carried a spirit of independence, and that spirit is founded upon a basic hope that the future will be better than the past. If that’s not true, then why even bother?
But if you are, in fact, optimistic about the future, and you trust that things are going to work out, then you have to have a reason for this. Losing this optimism and trust can cause catastrophic disruptions in someone’s life.
TURNING TO WITCHCRAFT AND SORCERY
In the Bible, King Saul, in his final days, lost hope. His loss of hope had intensified over time. His downfall began with his moral rebellion against God through a series of disobedient acts (1 Sam. 13:5-14). He didn’t follow the straight-forward instructions the prophet Samuel laid down for him (1 Sam. 15:9,11). So, God cursed Saul for his insubordination and unrepentance. His mental health declined. He was tormented by demons (1 Sam. 16:14). He became murderous (1 Sam. 22:17-19).
At the height of his despair, he visited a witch. He wanted her to summon Samuel back from the dead to gain secret advice that would, he hoped, pull him out of his nose dive (1 Sam. 28:15). But again, this was in violation of another basic rule God had established generations before, with Moses:
Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God. (Lev. 19:31)
Saul was dead by the end of the following day.
OVERTURNING THE POLITICAL ORDER
But this story gives us insight into the growing fascination with the occult and witchcraft that The New York Times recently wrote about.
Generally speaking, we expect the universe to behave similar tomorrow as it has behaved today, and did behave yesterday. It’s regular. Gravity’s consistent. The sun rises and sets. Seasons come and go. People live and die. The IRS always collects its taxes.
In the political order, politicians are voted into office every couple years. There are regularly held elections.
One rule of the natural political order, some have evidently mistaken, is that there will always be a liberal in the office of President. So when it turned out that Trump beat Hillary, this was clearly a sign that the appearance of regularity in the universe was always just that: merely an appearance.
For some of those who place their faith in politics instead of a sovereign God, this was a detrimental blow to their worldview.
When people lose their confidence in the regularity of nature, when they believe that providence is no longer on their side, then, like Saul, they begin looking for alternative sources of power. They become desperate to regain control over the chaotic universe that they believe they must actually be living in.
When things stop making sense, chaos reigns.
If there’s no loving, sovereign God predestinating history and ordering it according to his plan, then there is no basis for faith that all things work together for good.
That’s because you now believe there is no “He” and so there is no higher purpose. There is just cosmic purposelessness. This means chaos. Chaos doesn’t care about you or me. Therefore, if things aren’t going your way, and you are sick of it, then it’s time you regained control somehow. The old faith has to be replaced with a new faith.
A lot have turned to faith in hexes. They want to bind Trump, they say. Though some reach further:
Her spell isn’t just against Trump, she tells me. It’s against everyone who thinks like him. And what could be more perfectly symbolic of that resistance than the sun — a symbol of male power in many occult traditions— being blockaded by the feminine moon?
A reporter for the NYT attended a class on witchcraft. We read in the article at the NYT:
“If you’re not ready to admit that the universe is chaos, I’m not sure how far you’re going to go,” Bracciale [the instructor] said to the class, describing witchcraft as a way to exercise power in a world without transcendent moral rules, a supernatural technology for taking care of yourself when no one else will.
Witchcraft, Bracciale said, lets you be the “arbiter of your own justice.”
I suspect that this assumption of chaos — the sense that institutions have failed and no one is in charge — helps explain the well-documented resurgence of occultism among millennials. Attempts at spell-casting are obviously not unique to today’s young people; the Washington writer and hostess Sally Quinn just published a book in which she boasts about hexing the renowned magazine editor Clay Felker, my former journalism professor, before his death from cancer. Still, magic and witchcraft have a renewed cachet, one that seems related to our current climate of political and cultural breakdown.
Witchcraft is an alternative religion. It believes the universe is chaotic, and that we can manipulate little pockets of this chaos to our favor through ritual. Millions of Americans place their faith in the political process. Since it’s failing them, they are looking for something else to put their faith in. For some, witchcraft seems like a good alternative.
They just shouldn’t be surprised when their rituals produce results. They probably won’t be the results they were expecting. There certainly are mysterious forces out there, but far from being impersonal, they’re deeply personal.
They’re little devils, they are.