Tenured Radicals, Circa 1990

America’s ‘DeValued’ Moral Currency

Pervasive throughout our land is the avoidance of asking the hard questions.  We shun the real questions about life and death and about God.  We do not want to talk “good and evil.”  We glibly talk about body and soul, about reason and revelation, about eternity and time. 

 The other day I happened to watch The Lord of the Rings (LTR):  The Return of the King.  Putting the above statement into LTR terms, we want to live peaceably in the shire without ever having to venture out and deal with the Ring, a Ring which has consequential power over us. We may say to ourselves, “Why destroy the ring when we don’t know for sure it exists? We may have thoughts that all that the shire presents to us is all there is to life. We will go on with our quietude in order to avoid conflict and to live peaceably. We choose society’s ‘safe’ surroundings and its costly ‘insurance’ policies to avoid the dangerous quest that truth demands of us. We fear what it might take to make the journey.  We fear we will lose ourselves on the way and never return to the shire. We fear, we fear and we fear again.

   We fear conflict.  And this is because inherent in conflict are the morals or ethics that each of the disparate parties brings with them. Conflict is the evil we most want to avoid.  Our “dialectics” begin with opposites and often end in synthesis or in the exclusion (or boycott) of the ‘other’.  We will seek out the ‘no-fault divorce’ of our language from its historical meaning. We give a pass to “Political-Correctness” (PC) because PC talk bypasses truth and goes straight to a word originally devoid of any value in and of itself but now given full political power: “diversity.”  

With the acceptance of “diversity,” also a code-word for “whatever” or “it-depends,” moral relativity’s child, lawlessness, increasingly becomes a de facto way to govern and self-govern. Yet, “Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city She utters her sayings…”

As we go on and find more and more moral conflicts and in order to avoid angst we find it easier to believe nothing of import so that we do not have to fear disagreement, ostracism or even death for what one believes. And because we do not believe in anything then we cannot be responsible for outcomes. Nihilism’s union with materialism begets the DNA of nihilism – lives drained of any meaning other than the moment. In fact, we are told duplicitously “to live in the moment.”

 To choose to believe nothing means that absolute truth is discharged from our lives.  Its voice is no longer heeded.  In fact its voice is now being drowned out.  The commotion that you hear daily is man’s raucous resistance to leaving the shire ~ his tweeting and texting of empty words, the ever streaming pop/rock music filling the void, the Surround sound of ubiquitous blaring entertainment.  It is as if men and women were walking around in the dark calling out to each other and never finding the light switch. They have chosen to stay in the purgatory of their fears.

 The avoidance of pain and conflict has become our primary goal in life.  This is seen in the young voter’s desire for Obamacare.  The health care reform is seen by them as in line with their “values”.  The reform is also seen as providing a sense of self-esteem in that it affirms the young voters wish to avoid pain and insecurity at all costs. On the surface Obamacare appears to provide security for themselves and for others while in truth it is a compromise of what is good and what is evil – the good being the desire for your well-being and the well-being of others and the evil which is the lie that Obama and the government will somehow provide self-esteem and security for you and others and do it with altruism. Remember, God has now been replaced by social science, social science based on rationalism and egalitarianism (think John Rawls, Laurence Tribe, etc.) all under the banner of “Social Justice.”  Rationalism’s,’ “Social Justice” trumps God every time.  Social science is now becoming the creator of society’s values, e.g., God is not to be talked about in public but homosexuality must be.  All of this in spite of the fact that rationalism without revelation could never create value. As Benedict XVI said in 1969:

“What is essential is that reason shut in on itself does not remain reasonable or rational, just as the state that aims at being perfect becomes tyrannical. Reason needs revelation in order to be able to be effective as reason.”

 The avoidance of truth with its inherent conflicts with other than the truth affects our relationships, our sexuality, our creativity, our culture. In place of absolute truth Americans, as mentioned, have latched on to “values.” And our new “value” system has a new way of talking:  “lifestyle”, “Be Yourself;” “Be original;” “Let go and be;”  diversity;” “I have my rights.” But now “rights” are no longer the natural inalienable God-given rights “of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Now “rights” have morphed into feelings worn on our sleeve.  We demand that others accept what we feel and that others be open and tolerant. This is what we value above all else. Right and wrong (and love (read not sex)) no longer have a place in our psyche. “Values” – a synthesis of good and evil dominates our diseased culture. And when we ignore serious questions we create words with synthetic meanings to describe our lives.

 “Charisma” is one of those words often heard today. Charisma was once considered a God-given grace but has been used as cover for the “banality of evil” as Hannah Arendt, political philosopher, notes when talking about Hitler’s appeal.

  Allan Bloom, another political philosopher, notes in his 1987 book The Closing of the American MindHow Higher Education Has failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students,Charisma both justifies leaders and excuses followers.  The very word gives a positive twist to rabble-rousing qualities and activities treated as negative in our constitutional tradition.  And it s vagueness makes it a tool for frauds and advertising men adept at manipulating images.” Consider that both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have both been called charismatic leaders.

 In the introduction to his book, Bloom writes about what he sees in the classrooms of higher education: 

“There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of:  almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes that truth is relative….They are unified only in their relativism and their allegiance to equality….They have been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society…The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance.  Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating.  Openness ~ and the relativism that makes it only plausible stance in the face of various claims to truth and various ways of life and kinds of human beings ~ is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger.  The study of history and culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and that led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvinism.  The point (now) is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all.”  (emphasis mine)

  In a later chapter titled The German Connection, Bloom relates how Nietzsche, Heidegger, Hegel, Weber, Freud have influenced American thinking.  Americans, within a “pro-choice” democracy, have assimilated this German thinking sometimes turning it on its head.   Bloom writes, 

“…there is now an entirely new language of good and evil, originating in an attempt to get “beyond good and evil” and preventing us from talking with any conviction about good and evil anymore.  Even those who deplore our current moral condition do so in the very language that exemplifies that condition.”

“The new language is that of value relativism and it constitutes a change in our view of things moral and political as great as the one that took place when Christianity replaced Greek and Roman paganism.” (empahsis mine) …

“Value relativism can be taken to be a great release from the perpetual tyranny of good and evil, with its cargo and shame and guilt, and the endless efforts that the pursuit of the one and the avoidance of the other enjoin. Intractable good and evil cause infinite distress – like war and sexual repression – which is almost instantly relieved when more flexible values are introduced.  One need not feel bad about or uncomfortable with oneself when just a little value adjustment is necessary.  And this longing to shuck off constraints and have one peaceful, happy world is the first of the affinities between our real American world and that of German philosophy in its most advanced form, given expression by the critics of the President’s speech.”

 Here Bloom is referring to the clamor arising when President Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the “evil empire.”  When yet at another time Reagan said that the Soviets had “different values,” this statement was met “at worst with silence and frequently with approval,” thus revealing our loathing of absolutism in the former statement.

 At the beginning of the chapter Values, Bloom, relates, “We have come back to the point where we began (in the book), where values take the place of good and evil.” (emphasis mine)

And so like Gollum we place the utmost value on the ring of power, becoming blind to its tyranny over us. Along with the ring we call our values “My Precious.”  Under the yolk of temporal “values” and without facing the serious questions of life we lose ourselves, we lose the real.  We lose love, romance, culture, art ~ everything that gives meaning to life.

 Love or charity, a virtue which must be constantly worked at, is replaced with ‘sexual rights.’ Consider that in our culture sexual activity is not to be repressed or self-controlled but rather it is to be given preeminent unrestrained “value.” Think Sandra Fluke and contraception. Think in-your-face homosexuality. Does America “confirm her soul in self-control” or not?

 Romance, apart from truth is portrayed in movie after movie as just a response to nihilism. Nowhere to be found is the expectation, the unrequited desire and the hoped-for revelation of real romance. Without absolutes there can be no true romance.

 We are a culture that seeks therapeutic counseling.  Yet modern psychology, the sworn enemy of shame and guilt, refuses to talk about good and evil and therefore offers nothing for the soul. Freudian psychology only brings the patient back to repressed sex.

 Modern art has nothing of consequence to offer. Consider the pop art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

 Deafening music, pop or rock, pummels our ear drums daily evoking barbaric passions and depriving the soul of its senses.

 Tattoos deface our bodies so as to reveal our disdain for the discipline that purity of mind and body requires. Inking is given the (non-)value of counter-culture and rabble-rousing.

 Religion, wherein serious questions are faced, is being replaced by positive thinking as preached from the temples of TV.

 In view of the fact that our nation is becoming increasingly devoid of absolutes and truth while at the same time becoming increasingly laced with relativism and sliding scale “values” consider this:

 Jesus, the Son of the Living God and The Way, the Truth and the Life says, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Free from what? Free from fear.  All fear:  the fear of the unknown, the fear of facing ultimate accountability, the fear of death, the fear of loss and personal suffering, the fear of evil.  Jesus’ perfect love casts out all fear. Because of this we can face the serious questions of life head-on knowing that God ~ Father, Son and Holy Spirit love us, that They stand with us and that Jesus has gone before us through the same difficult places. Seek Him and He will be found.

 Going back to the LTR analogy do you remember how Frodo and Sam and the rest rejoiced that the ring had been destroyed, that their arduous life and death journey had been accomplished? Their courage and resoluteness saved the shire, themselves and Middle Earth even while the others in the shire had no clue as to what was going on.  You and I must do the same.

Climate Apocalyptic-ism & The WannaBe Oppressed


Having made it through the sixties I understand youth’s hot-blooded fervor over and desire for revolution.  My own adrenalin was pushing me in all directions looking for answers and for my own special scene on the reel of history.

  The Beatles gave us their theme song for those times:  “Revolution”  “well you know we all want to change the world.” Today’s youth are no different.  The adrenalin is still pumping wildly; the hot-button issues are different.

The sixties, basically a large party staged around the Vietnam War and the Cold War with its escalating nuclear armament, gave us the apocalyptic warning that the “Eve of Destruction” was upon us. The sixties also gave us zeitgeist as the narcissistic moral, intellectual and spiritual center of our universe.

 As political philosopher Allan Bloom writes in “The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students (1987) when discussing certain professors at Cornell University (circa 1969) who gave up their intellectual credibility,

“The American university in the sixties was experiencing the same dismantling of the structure of rational inquiry as had the German university in the thirties.  No longer believing in their higher vocation, both gave way to a highly ideologized student populace.  And the content of the ideology was the same ~ value commitment. The university had abandoned all claim to study or inform about value ~ undermining the sense of value of what it taught, while turning over the decision about values to the folk, the Zeigist, the relevant.  Whether it be Nuremberg or Woodstock, the principle is the same.” (emphasis mine)

Today’s Millennials are no less radical in spirit but are clearly misguided due to the denouement of rational thought and critical inquiry. The sixties zeitgeist has fast-forwarded on history’s reel to the present. You’ll see it particularly in the theaters of politics and religion.

Here is just one example of what I am talking about.  This article may or may not shock you:

From the opening of StanleyKurtz’s article, The WannaBe Oppressed, The National Review Online, October 16th, 2013:

 What do America’s college students want? They want to be oppressed. More precisely, a surprising number of students at America’s finest colleges and universities wish to appear as victims ~ to themselves, as well as to others ~ without the discomfort of actually experiencing victimization. Here is where global warming comes in. The secret appeal of campus climate activism lies in its ability to turn otherwise happy, healthy, and prosperous young people into an oppressed class, at least in their own imaginings. Climate activists say to the world, “I’ll save you.” Yet deep down they’re thinking, “Oppress me.”

In his important new book, The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: Save the Earth, Punish Human Beings, French intellectual gadfly Pascal Bruckner does the most thorough job yet of explaining the climate movement as a secular religion, an odd combination of deformed Christianity and reconstructed Marxism. (You can find Bruckner’s excellent article based on the book here.) Bruckner describes a historical process wherein “the long list of emblematic victims ~ Jews, blacks, slaves, proletarians, colonized peoples ~ was replaced, little by little, with the Planet.” The planet, says Bruckner, “has become the new proletariat that must be saved from exploitation.”

But why? Bruckner finds it odd that a “mood of catastrophe” should prevail in the West, the most well-off part of the world. The reason, I think, is that the only way to turn the prosperous into victims is to threaten the very existence of a world they otherwise command.

And why should the privileged wish to become victims? To alleviate guilt and to appropriate the victim’s superior prestige. In the neo-Marxist dispensation now regnant on our college campuses, after all, the advantaged are ignorant and guilty while the oppressed are innocent and wise. The initial solution to this problem was for the privileged to identify with “struggling groups” by wearing, say, a Palestinian keffiyeh. Yet better than merely empathizing with the oppressed is to be oppressed. This is the climate movement’s signal innovation.

Read the whole doggone article.  You’ll read things like white male Bill McKibben almost single-handedly turned global warming into a public issue in 1989, his problem was solved.  Now everyone could be a victim. And, Climate activism answers their existential challenges and gives them a sense of crusading purpose in a lonely secular world. The planet, as Bruckner would have it, is the new proletariat.” (emphasis mine)

   The cult or religion of global warming has it devotees circling the UN in hopes of coercing the world to pay up for carbon credits and, more importantly, to make themselves pseudo-martyrs for this now victims-everywhere cause.

 I’ll close this post with these thoughts from David Mamet’s book, The Secret Knowledge: On Dismantling of American Culture (2011). In discussing religion’s focus on the unknowable as applied to political and social issues, Mamet writes, 

Observe that to propitiate an unknowable power, the Left, ignorant or dismissive of any society or history but is own, insists upon the primacy of Trees and Soil, Oceans and Animals ~ theirs is a return to the worship of the Savage.  To see that this nature worship is not quite the good simple-heartedness they believe it is, but rather a religion, observe its imperviousness to information:  polar bears are not, in fact, decreasing but increasing in population; the earth is not, in fact, warming.


It is interesting to note the points made above cinematically, in the two films The Day the Earth Stood Still. More specifically, the 2008 version underscores the thrust of Kurtz’s article:  “The planet, says Bruckner, “has become the new proletariat that must be saved from exploitation.””

You have undoubtedly seen one or both versions of the following movies.  You know the characters so I will go forward.


In the 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still Klaatu’s message centers on a very real and immediate concern ~ The Cold War and nuclear armament:  “…government agents escort Klaatu to see Barnhardt. Klaatu introduces himself and warns the professor that the people of the other planets have become concerned for their own safety after human beings developed atomic power. Klaatu declares that, if his message goes unheeded, “planet Earth will be eliminated“. (From Wikipedia)

2008-The_Day_the_Earth_Stood_StillThe 2008 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still centers around the desire for earth to remain sustainable:  “Klaatu meets with Mr. Wu (James Hong), another alien who has lived on earth for 70 years. Mr. Wu tells Klaatu that he has found the human race to be destructive and unwilling to change.  This confirms Klaatu’s experience so far, and so he determines that the planet must be cleansed of humans to ensure that the planet—with its rare ability to sustain complex life—can survive.” (From Wikipedia)

  “Global Warming is in fact a brain-child to counter the Environmental Movement against pollution, more particularly agriculture pollution, initiated in late 60s and early 70s.” Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

~Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California: “Hal Lewis:  My Resignation from the American Physical Society”

Added 7-21-2014:

Influencing Climate Policy on the Back of a Lame Horse

Added 1-25-2015. Epicurean science dismissing fact becomes a fanatical ‘faith’ to avoid fantasy-future owies:

MIT Climate Scientist: Global Warming Believers a ‘Cult’