Thursday, May 12, 2016
Is the Culture war lost?
Let's start at the core of the problem: the human person. Within the human person is a constant battle between selflessness and selfishness. We are born selfish. An infant does not know or care that its screaming at 2AM has any negative effect on mom and dad. It knows that it is hungry, scared, or has a full diaper as is incapable of fixing said problem. They know if the cry, someone will hopefully come to the rescue. As that child grows and its abilities grow with it, then the expectation grows of that child growing away from selfishness and growing towards selflessness. In fact, classically, a child's growth towards selflessness and altruism have been marks of maturity. A failure to grow towards selflessness and altruism was seen as a sign of a psychological disorder that led to sociopathic behavior. A society of coddling, manufactured self esteem, enabling, and participation trophies has not served the last two generations well.
It is well known that selfless behavior and altruistic behavior lead to personal contentment and union in whatever entities the person belonged. However, where selfishness rules, there can be no other option than strife and division. When a society becomes narcissistic, then discord will become the norm. Selfishness is only capable of breeding personal discontent and creating an insatiable entitlement.
The more narcissistic a person becomes, the more objective truth becomes the enemy. Objective truth are those things that are true of their own merit; they do not need my personal approval to be true. Subjective truth are things true because I say so; they are matters of personal preference and opinion. What we are seeing is the society falling into the tyranny of subjective truth. Our society is not the first to fall into this trap, nor will it be the last. Historically, the descent into such a tyranny does not end well.
The tyranny of subjective truth has indeed reached the point of craziness. Statements do not even have to have any basis in reality. We can now declare gender regardless of any physical, genetic, biological, or scientific criteria. We can change our race by mere proclamation. There are multiple such fiats on every imaginable topic. In this tyranny, other simply must accept whatever fiat is made and surrender their own dispositions to mine. If you do not accept my fiat, you are a danger to me and must be eliminated. The more tyrannical the narcissists becomes, the more voices contrary to their own must be silenced. To be sure, we are seeing this played out on multiple fronts.
From this, suppression of free speech arises. Your freedom must be curtailed if you do not cater to the demands of the narcissist. From this arrives the loathsome development of safe zones where no voice is heard other than my own (that is lasing the stick a dynamite for a narcissist). The debate of ideas devolves into a chorus of personal attacks where the word intolerance rains down like confetti. If we stay on this road, there will be no other option than totalitarianism.
With all this said, is all lost? No. First, these things are not endemic to our society. Others societies have gone through this. Some were able to rise above it, some were destroyed by it. Which happens to us is dependent on the ability of selfless to rise to the occasion and stand their ground. Second, it is not as if objective truth has not been the victim of attempted assassination before. That is the beauty of objective truth, it always survives like a pheonix. This isn't to say the war isn't going to be bloody.
For those who are followers of Christ: Jesus tells us multiple times to not be afraid. Current persecutors who believe they will finally crush Christianity and Catholicism will end up on the same ash heap of history as every supposed victor. Our lot is to stand our ground, to stick to the truth in boldness and charity. No battle is won until one sides cedes the ground. Honestly, we have ceded much ground. That needs to stop. This does mean we employ the same tactics as used against us? No, quite the opposite. We do not surrender the commandment to love in how we respond on the battlefield. No victory will come if we respond in kind. It never has. The reason Christianity wins out is because we take a different road.
So chin up, fix your gaze, and know we might get bloodied, but we can not be defeated. While we might well loose some battles, the war is never lost.