Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie
The battle between language and liberty
By Steven Martinovich
For the more philosophically minded, the most vexing thing after talking politics is likely talking about politics – irksome tasks which include categorization, language and meaning. Freedom is a word used by every movement within the traditional left-right political spectrum and yet even two sides not far removed from each other can have wildly varying ideas of what the word and its actual practice mean. A tyrant can quite honestly believe that freedom is slavery while an anarchist can be sincere in their argument that any government is an imposition on liberty.
It is into this morass that Bruce Walker willingly wades into with Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie: How the Myth of an Ideological Spectrum Helps Evil in Our World, 3rd edition, Vol. 1, an ambitious effort which combines a heroic level of research with an interesting thesis. Walker argues that there is no such thing as a political spectrum – no left, no right. That groups like Nazis, Bolsheviks and Fascists are essentially the same.
"The ugliest systems like Nazi, Bolshevik, radical Islam, Fascist, Japanese Imperialist and the like represent the same forces and the same evil lusts. … The word I chose to describe these sorts of groups is ‘Sinisterist,'" writes Walker in his introduction.
Walker defines Sinisterism as the antithesis of the Judeo-Christian value system and does not exist in the ideological system as is generally understood – the spectrum that is popularly known as left-right. Sinisterism is not an ideological system per se, but rather a means for taking and holding power. Walker argues that that there is no ideological spectrum either, that the traditional terminology used to describe politics – left and right at their simplest – are "inventions, disconnected from history or reality" and that the spectrum forces "nonsensical" answers when categorizing political movements. The only real spectrum – and they are binary and polar opposites – involves those who fight for liberty and those who wish to enslave humanity.
In order to marshal evidence for his primary argument, Walker has apparently scoured every book published on the subject – often times primary sources – from all political viewpoints over the past century – indeed he averages just over four references on each page of Sinisterism. It was research worth conducting as he frequently challenges conventional history to show that groups that people commonly hold as foes – such as communists and Nazis – were in fact early allies who themselves recognized that their fundamental aims and basic philosophies were nearly identical. This runs counter to what is commonly believed and held. Why?
Long before Saul Alinsky, long before Adolph Hitler, Sinisterists explicitly stated that they had no problem at all lying or hiding the truth. This includes, of course, lying about the very existence of a political spectrum. Sinisterists lie in lots of different ways. Sometimes they drown people with oceans of meaningless words in place of plain language. Sinisterists say the same dumb things over and over without saying anything new. How often do we feel flooded with words but dying of thirst for meaning? Words can be drained of meaning and gibberish can fatigue the mind. Sinisterists do this deliberately.
It must be noted that this effort represents the first volume of a two-part series (previously appearing as one-volume editions) and Walker concentrates the bulk of his effort in comparing and contrasting allegedly competing ideologies. This could present a problem to people who want to move quickly past what they see is self-evident reality – and nearly 300 pages of sifting through the writings of prominent past political figures and thinkers to show that Fascists and Communists were fellow travellers can be a tough slog – and progress to something more argumentatively sexy. Walker's work, however, is vitally necessary to counter any claims that there is sparse evidence to support his claim. By hammering the nail repeatedly, Walker builds an impenetrable case that the enemies of freedom don't come from the left or the right; they come from those who oppose freedom. It's an important distinction.
How the Myth of an Ideological Spectrum Helps Evil in Our World is a powerful piece of intellectual argument and a testament to a dogged ability to carry out research on a scale rarely seen out of dedicated academics. There will be critics who will take personal umbrage at the notion that their favoured ideology could be closely linked to that other evil and fail to see the grim reality that stares back at them. The failure will be their own because Walker's skilled work offers an iron-clad rejoinder. Threats to personal and political liberty come from one place only: those who despise humanity and a Judeo-Christian value system which provides the moral guidance that buttress liberty and those who would fight on its behalf.
Steven Martinovich is the founder and editor of Enter Stage Right.
Buy Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie: How the Myth of an Ideological Spectrum Helps Evil in Our World, 3rd edition, Vol. 1 at Amazon.com for $26.42