A Brave New World

Newsweek has declared: We are all Socialists now.

Well, I suppose that’s now true — although it might have been useful information to disclose, oh, about six months ago. Whatever. The agenda is disclosed only after the fix is in. The bad news is, though, the situation is in reality far worse than our resigned embrace of socialism. Socialism is far more a symptom than the disease.

We are entering a brave new world.

America has come relatively late to this party. Most of the world, at least the Western world, has sailed before us into these treacherous and jealous waters, some becalmed in economic doldrums and others perished in their whirlpools of revolt against the inevitable oppression of such systems often bring. We have lived for some decades in this country, under the presumption that we are a free, liberal democracy, where personal freedom, a spirit of entrepreneurship and risk-taking, and a financial system which fostered these character traits in promoting prosperity and wealth have happily coexisted. In reality, this American narrative has been far more myth than reality for a long time now. It may well be arguable whether it has ever really existed at all. We have boasted of our independence and courage while ever more tightly holding our nanny’s hand.

Western culture and civilization, manifested in its highest and most successful form in the American experiment, was grounded in the Christianization of Europe over many centuries. This process — religious, cultural, ethical, and moral — created a fertile ground for societies which prospered culturally and economically based on their respect for the individual, their recognition of the dual nature — good and evil — of the human spirit, and a high view of men as created in the image of God and imbued therefore with a strong inner moral sense and a desire to create in freedom.

This system led to economic prosperity, cultural excellence, and the advancement of science, by basing its worldview on an enlightened reason, and by grounding its economic principles on a system of justice and personal integrity. And yet, within this very system, were contained the seeds of its own ultimate destruction — not through any inherent flaw in its underlying moral and ethical principals, but rather by intellectual advancement through science and technology, empowering not only great technological and economic advances, but also fomenting the dark hubris of arrogant human autonomy.

As Western civilization became increasingly sophisticated through exponential increases in scientific knowledge and technological advancement, there began a divergence from the very empowerment of that civilization in the individual moral compass of Christianity which not only empowered its great intellectual advances, but restrained the perverse consequences of those same technological and financial advances.

Detached from its moral grounding by its intellectual paradigms, the West has become increasingly and intractably secular. We now look to science for all answers about life; we have experts for everything; the new creation of Christianity has devolved into the evolutionary hopelessness and purposelessness of survival-of-the-fittest reductionism. We have become no more than random chance, with no purpose higher than our survival in this life, and no meaning beyond genetics or neurotransmitters or selfish genes. Morality, ethics, self-restraint are but social constructs convenient to our survival — and eminently disposable when the need arises.

The consequences of this imperceptible but profound change in worldview, centuries in the making, have brought us to our current state. We no longer trust the individual, based on the inculcation of moral and ethical values through family and cultural tradition, but instead trust no one, multiplying laws, rules, and regulations to micromanage behavior no longer restrained by the inner moral compass and now-discarded social mores. We no longer look to the individual, and family, the community, the church, to be the prime movers of support or those who fall by life’s wayside, in poverty, ill health, economic or social misfortune. We have outsourced our hearts, contracting with those most ill-suited to the task of compassion: those who by our own appointment or their own unbridled ambition have become our leaders in government.

We talk in terms of left and right, liberal and conservative, but such labels disguise and distort the true reality: we are engaged a war of world views, a war which has become increasingly lopsided in favor of the secular. We have gone from a Christian culture to a Gnostic culture, where knowledge is God, knowledge is power, and power is everything. We have now granted, by means of indifference, ignorance, and deception, the unrestrained levers of this power to our government, which was to have been our servant, but now becomes ever more our master. We have lived under the delusion that these two worlds may live together in harmony, but such fantasy has been demonstrably shown to be catastrophically false.

Those who live by certain conviction of a divine and beneficent deity, upon whose absolute principals lie the foundations of all moral behavior and societal harmony, may tolerate the corruption of secular man who rejects such notions, having as they do a clear-eyed understanding of the fallen nature of man. The secular, on the other hand, can broach no such tolerance: secularism is instead an aggressive and metastasizing malignancy which, while speaking tolerance, seeks only the extermination of that which by its very existence stands as a condemnation of their views. For to be religious, moral, ethical, and grounded in the consequential absolutes which transcend and measure the heart of men is to stand as an intolerable affront to the notion that man alone is the measure of all things.

We referred to this unbridgeable chasm as “the culture wars” — but it is far more than cultural differences and tolerably different perspectives. It is, in fact, a war on absolutes, and it is a war in which the secular by most measures are triumphing. The lost battles are legion; from the removal of old vestiges of religious practice and speech from the public square; to the relentless undermining of traditions regarding family, sexual behavior, public propriety, and respect for others in speech and behavior; to the hollow ethics which speak of honesty and integrity while reveling in bribes, extortion, and the abuse of power; to the absence of everything noble and honorable in our cultural expressions of art, music, and entertainment, the relentless assault of arrogant secularism in all its cultural and political forms has ground our fragile moral and cultural framework into dust.

We stand now at the edge of an abyss. Our technological wizardry, fueled by our moral blindness and hubris, has created a global firestorm — economic and otherwise — which threatens to consume us all. Nations are bankrupt; huge corporations and institutions owe far more than their assets; nation-states are increasingly impotent at providing core and essential services necessary for a safe, stable, and economically prosperous society. The world is going bankrupt, at the light-speed of its digital communications and global commerce.

And we stand at this precipice, in great peril, as those who have fostered this disaster now scurry about pretending to fix it. In our drunken materialism, we bought what we could not afford with money which we did not have; we promoted and elected those leaders who will tell us the same lies which we told ourselves as we catapulted blindly into our current crisis. We hope through a government of crooks and cronies to legislate a stable, fair and compassionate society, when neither we ourselves nor those whom we placed in our have any moral framework by which to establish such a just and equitable society. The criminals sit in the judge’s seat, comprise the jury, and mete out their punishment — and we wonder why our lives and situation becomes increasingly chaotic, dangerous, and violent.

It is a time at which one might hope for some wisdom among the elected; some humility at the daunting task now faced; some responsibility to look out for the common good rather than simply grasp for more power. Yet the fools we have empowered to govern us continue to whistle through the graveyard, pretending in their hubris that the dark forest path upon which they are hopelessly lost really does lead to Paradise — if we only run faster.

We lived in a profoundly unsettling and unstable time, almost apocalyptic in its potential for calamity. Our Gnostic guides assure us, in their high knowledge, that they have the answers — when in fact they do not even understand the questions. The liberty, the prosperity, the promise which was inherent in the Western culture engendered by Christianity, brought to its highest in the American experiment, is drawing to a close, its lifeblood long since drained by those who saw no evil except by those who pursued the good, who saw no answers save those their darkened minds could conceive and by which they might rule. How quickly this edifice will crumble is but pure speculation, but crumble it must. What will remain, or arise, in its stead, is as yet unknown.

We are indeed entering a brave new world.

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17 thoughts on “A Brave New World

  1. Excellent. Well done. Thanks.

    And I thought I was gloomy, quoting a huge chunk of Ecclesiastes (with a goofy picture of you know who) today! But such on target comments of yours.

    Lately I’ve taken some solace from Ecclesiastes, as too much time with the prophets and our appropriate fears makes me so askeered that I forget that the One who made it all, will also make all things right. I tell my kids, that He says “I make weal and I make woe” and that even tho the woe is more in evidence right now, it will give way eventually. (Our church is big on the hopeful message of Jeremiah 29:11)

  2. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. (Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838)

  3. Our Creator’s Truth applies at all levels – to the world, to nations, and to individuals. Turning away from Him and His Truth, whether as individuals or as a nation, is apostasy (a turning away from or abandonment of faith or principles). Apostasy, at whatever level, will always eventually be dealt with as He sees fit. Individual reckoning is underway at every moment, everywhere (“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” – Heb 4:13). I think Dr. Bob well-describes the overwhelming sense of many of us individuals that a national, if not cosmic reckoning may not be far away.

    The warning of history and revelation, so oft-repeated, stands:

    “I will go away and return to My place
    Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;
    In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (Hosea 5:15)

    Thankfully, as Hosea also proclaimed to an unrepentant Israel, the promise of reconciliation also stands:

    “Come, let us return to the LORD.
    He has torn us to pieces
    but he will heal us;
    he has injured us
    but he will bind up our wounds.
    After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will restore us,
    that we may live in his presence.
    Let us acknowledge the LORD;
    let us press on to acknowledge him.
    As surely as the sun rises,
    he will appear;
    he will come to us like the winter rains,
    like the spring rains that water the earth.” (6:1-3)

    The Creator’s Nature will always stand as creation’s hope.

  4. Dr. Bob-
    I too have always survived by seeing the best in people and circumstances- I don’t know if that’s makes me an optimist, but that’s how I have survived thus far. I too am troubled that I am having such a hard time seeing the good around me now.

  5. “We talk in terms of left and right, liberal and conservative, but such labels disguise and distort the true reality: we are engaged a war of world views, a war which has become increasingly lopsided in favor of the secular.”

    I would beg to differ with you–strongly. The issue most certainly is one of left and right, liberal and conservative. If we don’t understand the origins of the culture war, we stand almost no chance of combating it. Western civilization–the fruit of Judeo-Christianity–has not become secularized out of the blue. There is a clear cause: marxism.

    A major goal of marxism has always been to eliminate Christianity. People who believe in God will not revolt against the System as Marx predicted. (Neither will people who own their own homes, have steady employment, or eat three meals a day.) Such people don’t need the Left, the left has nothing to sell them. As Gramsci observed, need has to be created.

    The left has been undermining the church for more than 100 years. One highly successful tactic is to lay claim to goals resembling those of the Christian church: peace, equality, fairness, etc. How can you argue with these? In fact, that’s how the secularists have managed to make such deep inroads into the church, rotting it from inside. Too many people take the left’s deceptive claims at face value and are incurious about the actual details and means the Left uses to achieve them: mass murder, propaganda, censorship, theft, etc.

    They also fail to appreciate the freedom God has given us. If slavery were desirable, God would not have made us free. Only another human would dare to take our freedom from us, or be arrogant enough to believe they were wise in doing so. I could go on, but I won’t. There is no mystery about why we are in this mess. Letting the left off the hook is a symptom of years of leftist propaganda and equivocation.

  6. Oddly, perhaps, I don’t feel as though we were “duped”; I see and hear The Man in Charge fulfilling the promises and predictions that he made during the election campaign, including, “Things will get a lot worse.” He promised to raise our taxes, which he is certainly going to have to do, to pay for all the failed bailouts–those made on his predecessor’s watch, and those that he is pushing for on his own. He spoke of spreading the wealth around, and that he is doing, already. As so many have pointed out, the only people who will benefit–if anyone does–from the “spendulus” bill and from the coming mortgage bailout are the people who have made dumb choices, spent unwisely, taken out loans they couldn’t possibly repay, all in the expectation that the boom would continue. The rest of us will have to pay for their foolishness.

    Meanwhile, many of us who have worked hard and own businesses that were highly successful now find that business has all but dried up, our one source of income nearly gone, our retirement funds falling away, thanks variously to greed, corruption, and the stupid choices others have made, as well as to the policies and laws being passed over the strenuous objections of the new minority.

    And the money we have given with glad hearts to people who live in real, desperate poverty–? We may not have it to give, anymore, and our hearts break at the thought.

    I have just dwelt more on this than I can afford to do. I leave you with this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

  7. It is not, of course, a brave new world but a cowardly one. Still

    Arguments are like the seed, or like the soul, as Paul conceived of it, which he compared to seed. They are not quickened unless they die. As long as they remain for us in the form of arguments they do no good. Their work begins only, after a time and in secret, when they have sunk down into the memory, and have been left to lie there; when the hostility and distrust they were regarded with dies away, when, unperceived, they melt into the mental system, and, becomeing part of oneself, effect a turning around of the soul.

    If men have become incapable of seeing what they once saw, it is because they have gone so long without having to look at it.

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