Martin Luther created the womb out of which was ultimately born “the Left” and so his philosophy of the conflict between Faith and Reason must be noted.
The Catholic faith had always believed in a profound dialogue between Faith and Reason. From Augustine’s “baptism” of Plato to Aquinas’ “baptism” of Aristotle, all of Catholic thought revolved around the idea that Reason was as helpless as a rudderless ship in the midst of a terrible storm without the axioms of Faith whereas Faith without Reason was like a blind man stumbling through the dark void of his life to an unknown end.
Martin Luther, however, famously disagreed and declared a war of Faith against Reason: “Reason is the Devil’s greatest Whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”
He believed that, “To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of reason.”
He also had a number of new ideas about morality: “God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.”
He also believed “Sin cannot tear you away from [Christ], even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders.”
Martin Luther advocated a licentiousness completely at odds with any concept of the Natural Order combined with a war leveled by Faith against Reason.
When Protestantism defeated and ended Christendom in the Thirty Years War (with aid from the betrayal of Christendom by France), it became the dominant ideology by the might of its sword. All Europe became infused with the idea that Faith was routing Reason.
During the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, Reason fought back. The Cult of Reason — the first-ever state religion of atheism — was established. The idea emerged that the Natural Order was being imposed on everyone by Crown and Crosier politics in order to prevent mankind from reaching the utopia of rational, radical freedom. The dominant political, religious, or social institutions that justified their existence by claiming to be part of the Natural Order — the Monarchy, the Catholic Church, and the conjugal family — were targeted for extinction. Luther’s idea of license was eagerly adopted but his Faith and his war on Reason were jettisoned. Mankind would free itself from bondage once and for all.
Unfortunately for the theoretical utopia, the Cult of Reason proved to be too bloodthirsty of a religion (judging by the busyness of the guillotine). By the time of Napoleon, Europe had concluded that the unwashed masses needed some sort of faith. The Catholic Church & Protestant Churches respectively became state religions. It was seen as a subset of rational policy to promote faith-based virtues in the populace while the elites — more educated and more secular — went about the real business of governing Europe. Much of elite policy-making was targeted towards a gradual and orderly decline in Christianity (because of its irrationality) while promoting non-faith based virtues in its place.
The Left has had a torturous historical trajectory. It reincarnated itself in its most radical form (straight out of the Reign of Terror playbook) with atheist Communism. Communism preached about its own inevitability and expanded steadily across the globe. However, the collaboration across cultural, military, economic, and political strategies between Ronald Reagan in Washington, Margaret Thatcher in London, and John Paul the Great in Rome finally brought the USSR to its knees. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the rest is history.
Or is it?
China has abandoned its commitment to full-fledged Communism — finally allowing businesses to be founded again — but it has not given up its One-Child Policy or its attempt to persecute or control the Catholic Church and other Christian faiths. It still seeks to control family and religion for itself. China is strong and growing stronger and must be taken seriously as a rival power. However, China is ultimately going to be faced with an enormous aging problem that makes it less of a threat than it seems.
A far greater threat is internal. In the 1920s, Margaret Sanger and John Dewey brought the Left right into American politics. She focused on attacking the Roman Catholic Church. A great article on her strategy is here. He busied himself with a “progressive” takeover of the public schools. Their work did not come to full fruition until the Sexual Revolution in the 1960s finally introduced the Left into the mainstream of the United States.