With the rise of Jeremy Corbyn as its leader, the British Labor party has come to be dominated by its far left rather than by the Blairite moderates who were long in control. One of the many results has been a turn against Israel and the bubbling to the surface of much anti-Semitism. How, asks Alan Bekhor, did this come to pass? He points to “the spiritual vacuum created by the decline of traditional religion.”
Secularization has dramatically reduced the autonomy of this social sphere, as whole areas of social life have become the business of the state to police. The state is fast becoming a secular church, the fount of moral legislation, and is busy imposing a uniformity of belief on its citizens every bit as intrusive as the theocratic states of the past, where the distinction between church and state was likewise unknown.
From this development, it has followed that politicians have been only too willing to step into the role of prophets or high priests; and it is not surprising, therefore, that someone like Corbyn, who appears to offer a coherent worldview and gives clear guidance as to what people should believe, should be able to acquire a following.
That is one part of the story. The other major trend is simply the wholesale abandonment of the moral teaching associated with the Bible. For it is the first rule of Judeo-Christian morality that evil is to be found within us. . . . It is a prescription for humility which may be considered to be the very foundation of a gentle and harmonious social life.
The strength of this moral teaching is that it inoculates us against the self-righteousness that sees the world in dualistic terms, as divided between us and them, between the children of light and the children of darkness. For in the . . . vision of the Corbynistas, we are wholly virtuous, wholly pure, and wholly innocent; evil has nothing to do with us, but wholly to do with them, those wicked bankers, capitalists, neo-imperialists, Zionists, Tories, and racists, who must in due time be punished for their sins.