Modern liberalism is willfulness writ large -- a godless ideology that rests upon the caprice of central planners. Under it, the fluctuating and often frightening desires of corrupt men, rather than the changeless will of a caring God, form the shaky measure of "good government." As the grim chapters of recent history show -- chapters written in the blood of millions of unborn children and other "undesirables" -- taking God out of "goodness" drains the term of any coherent meaning, leaving mankind at the mercy of power-seeking ideologues.
Pope Benedict XVI calls modern liberalism the "dictatorship of relativism," a phrase that neatly summarizes the Obama administration as it moves to crush the freedom of Americans through such monstrosities as the HHS mandate.
On one level, Obama is nothing more than a glib and empty pol, who careens from focus group to pollster. But on another level, buried deep within his cold and rootless personality, he is a man of perverse tenacity, a convinced socialist and secularist who was trained long ago to run the ball into the end zone for radicalism.
For all his joshing and superficial charm, he remains the creepy child of post-Enlightenment liberalism -- the infant demigod presented between sets of oversized and plastic Greek columns at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, who as the proceedings concluded crawled back into the shadows to watch mutely the adoring crowds below.
Such a deluded Democratic president was bound to overreach disastrously. Obamacare is a "big f -- king deal," Joe Biden whispered into his ear. And it is -- an unconstitutional coup disguised as altruistic legislation that was rammed through Congress by reckless partisan hacks who hadn't even read it.
But the central planners and social engineers from Planned Parenthood had pored over the bill carefully. The passage of the legislation left them giddy with excitement, as they knew its unread provisions would soon turn into nooses for their religious enemies on the right.
The future casts its shadow backwards, said the late British writer Malcolm Muggeridge. Obama, red in tooth and clause, saw the devilish flicker of those shadows in his triumph of social engineering. "Darn tooting," he declared to his most militant supporters -- pro-abortion feminists who demanded to know from him during a campaign stop last fall if he was going to make good on his promise to manhandle the Catholic Church over contraception and abortifacients.
The raffish Greg Gutfeld, who, despite his screwing around on the set, remains Fox's deepest and most perceptive observer of politics and culture, made the valuable point on "The Five" recently that one of the sick motivations behind the HHS mandate is a form of eugenics and ironic class warfare: Obama does not want the poor to procreate.
To put the point even more directly, Obama does not want the Catholic poor to procreate. Like Planned Parenthood's twisted foundress, Margaret Sanger, Obama is a chilly eugenicist at heart who fears a backwards America "punished" by the babies of unenlightened breeders. China boasts a one-child policy; Obama's is more like a zero-child one. Without a universally subsidized right to sterilization, contraception, and abortion via Obamacare, his Brave New World would falter and fail to materialize.
The brutal logic of these bogus rights, as Obama hints in his mumbles about "access" as the trumping value in this debate, is that everyone must recognize them. Who cares if the Church objects to financing the sins of her employees? The Church is wrong, and error has no rights, hiss feminists. The dogmatism of which Obama routinely accuses the religious is on far starker display in his own ideology, a species of raw social engineering that depends for its fulfillment upon bullying conscientious objectors at the point of a government gun.
This is a historic moment in the culture war -- a crystallizing flashpoint in which the totalitarianism and bigotry long implicit in secularism rises to the surface and becomes explicit for all to see.
In the Senate, it is still the "Year of the Womyn." Barbara Boxer, barreling up to the cameras on Wednesday, unloaded all of the despicable propaganda of Planned Parenthood. At once rude and kittenish, Boxer purred that Obama deeply respects religious freedom. That's why he established a religious exemption for wholly sectarian organizations, she said. Never mind that feminist colleagues across the way on the House side were openly complaining about that "compromise." In other words, left to their own unchecked secularist devices, they wouldn't even grant that insultingly narrow exemption to the Church.
Here's how the Hill put it: "Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said there's no need for the White House to adopt a wider religious exemption. Carving out churches and other strictly religious employers 'was in itself a compromise,' she said, noting that eight states have contraception mandates without religious exemptions."
The essential character of secularism is totalitarian. For all of its chatter about religion as a "private" matter, for all of its nonsense about the "privacy of the bedroom," nothing under secularism in the end is actually private. The social engineers of Obamacare will determine the birth control methods of the unwashed. They will dictate the terms of man's beginning through eugenic abortion and his end through death panels. And to gratify the bloodlust of bigots, they will leave the stained bill for the reviled religious to pay.