Historian warns that politics is becoming dangerously religious

A prominent historian just gave Americans an important warning.

That warning, according to Fox News, is that, here in America, politics is becoming religious in nature, and when this happens history shows that bad things follow. 

This is an important point

The historian who provided this warning is Hoover Institution fellow Niall Ferguson. The Scottish author and historian did so on Monday during an appearance on the Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson.” According to Ferguson, we are currently witnessing two dangerous trends in America: the end of “traditional religion” and the rise of “political religions.”

“We are dealing not just with the decay of traditional religion, but far worse, the rise of new fake religions, political religions,” Ferguson said.

This situation, Ferguson noted, is not without historical precedent, and the result, according to Ferguson, has been “terrible things.” He said, “one thing that’s very clear from the 20th century is that when people take their religious feelings and they apply them to political ideologies, terrible things can happen.”

Ferguson went on to give two examples: communism and Nazi, Germany.

“Central to what made communism so deadly, was it is ultimately a religion: Karl Marx is ultimately a prophet and Marxism is a kind of religion,” Ferguson explained. “The most ardent Nazis thought of Hitler and explicitly called him a redeemer of the German nation.”

“So, we’ve got to be very careful of political religions,” he added. “Politics is not something that you should approach with a religious impulse.”

Another trend

In addition to politics becoming religious in nature, Ferguson noted that we are seeing a similar thing happen with science. The problem in both cases, politics and science, Ferguson explained, is that they become infallible, which is hardly the reality of either. With regard to science, Ferguson used the coronavirus pandemic as an example.

“There’s no kind of stuck, received wisdom that we apply at, least of all when there’s a new pathogen on the loose,” Ferguson explained. “What was fascinating about writing ‘Doom’ was just watching actual science working, where lots and lots and lots of people in different disciplines are churning out papers, most of which turn out to be wrong, because they’re trying to find the truth by trial and error. That’s the scientific method. You have a hypothesis, you’re not wedded to it, and you bombard it with data to see if it’s right or not.”

Ferguson said that what you don’t do is what the political left does, namely, treat science as some sort of “magical thinking” where one becomes a “heretic” if one does not subscribe to it.

Ferguson’s point with regard to both science and politics becoming religious is an important one that we need to heed before history once again repeats itself.

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