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.