Even the brightest can be dazzled

La Divina Paglia has an incisive take on the Deep State and the failure of secular humanism, but like most atheists, she is a sucker for spiritualist psychobabble:

The deep state is no myth but a sodden, intertwined mass of bloated, self-replicating bureaucracy that constitutes the real power in Washington and that stubbornly outlasts every administration. As government programs have incrementally multiplied, so has their regulatory apparatus, with its intrusive byzantine minutiae. Recently tagged as a source of anti-Trump conspiracy among embedded Democrats, the deep state is probably equally populated by Republicans and apolitical functionaries of Bartleby the Scrivener blandness. Its spreading sclerotic mass is wasteful, redundant, and ultimately tyrannical.

I have been trying for decades to get my fellow Democrats to realize how unchecked bureaucracy, in government or academe, is inherently authoritarian and illiberal. A persistent characteristic of civilizations in decline throughout history has been their self-strangling by slow, swollen, and stupid bureaucracies. The current atrocity of crippling student debt in the US is a direct product of an unholy alliance between college administrations and federal bureaucrats — a scandal that ballooned over two decades with barely a word of protest from our putative academic leftists, lost in their post-structuralist fantasies. Political correctness was not created by administrators, but it is ever-expanding campus bureaucracies that have constructed and currently enforce the oppressively rule-ridden regime of college life.

In the modern world, so wondrously but perilously interconnected, a principle of periodic reduction of bureaucracy should be built into every social organism. Freedom cannot survive otherwise…. From my perspective as an atheist as well as a career college teacher, secular humanism has been a disastrous failure.

As a longtime Camille Paglia fan, I’m not even remotely surprised to learn that she was impressed by Jordan Peterson. She is a left-libertarian academic who is naturally inclined to assume that anyone who can sling citations around so glibly possesses a brilliant mind. However, I suspect that were she to actually trouble to read his works, check those citations, or spend more time in his company, she would swiftly pick up on his mental illness and aberrational psychosexuality.