Having spent some time in my theological training studying gnosticism in its philosophical and spiritual context, I was intrigued to come across a column titled The Practice of Political Gnosticism:
…We are living in an era of political gnosticism.
The term gnosticism is from the Greek and carries the idea of knowledge—but is especially related to various forms of superior or esoteric knowledge. Basically, a gnostic is a puffed-up know-it-all who has greater powers of insight and discernment than mere mortals. And in political terms these “best and brightest of the best and brightest” flock together just knowing that if they could run things the way Plato envisioned in his Republic—in other words, as a great big, all-seeing, all-knowing, political aristocracy—the world would be a better place.
At least for them.
The new political gnostics don’t trust markets or anything else they can’t control, so they seek such control as a concession to their brilliance. Gnostics always have a better idea than average every day people. Trust them. They know. They know all. They see all.
Of course, it’s hard to pull off political gnosticism without arrogance and the propensity to impatiently lecture the moronic masses. But gnostic arrogance is surely, at least to insiders, a small price to pay for making the planes fly on time and ensuring that all the rest of us are well-fed a healthy, trans fat-free diet, and can get a number to stand in line at the clinic.
…These days, however, I can’t help but find myself recoiling at arrogance born of political gnosticism. Sometime back, a colleague of mine remarked about someone else that, “you could almost hear the words coming down his nose as he talked.” It’s sort of like that.
At every turn, the American people—when given the chance via ballots, rallies or meetings with legislators—have sent not-so-subtle signals to Washington that they don’t want bigger government, they don’t want Obamacare, and they are not happy with what is going on. It begs the question: Why aren’t some leaders listening?
Well, it’s because when you have superior knowledge and just know you are smarter than everyone else, any contrary word is just the kind of noise kids on a Charlie Brown TV Special hear when a teacher talks—blah, blah, blah.
It certainly is an interesting and, I think accurate, way to characterize the thought processes of our “betters” currently in power in Washington. Just listen to almost any public comment by Obama or Pelosi and it just drips with condescension…”oh you poor dears – you just aren’t as smart as we are!”
Pardon me while I go throw up!