What Happens to Truth in an Age of Delusion? (Part 7)
If I were the devil I would convince the young that the Bible is a myth
that man created God instead of the other way around
.that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on TV is the way to be.(Paul Harvey, 1965)
At the heart of liberty is the right to define ones own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. (U.S. Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1992.)
The march through the institutions is a term often used in this series about truth in an age of delusion because they both mean the same thing. This phrase has mistakenly been attributed to the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), but he spent his life promoting exactly what it means. It signifies what the Communists intend to do with their radical revolution, namely, to capture all the institutions of a culture and thus obtain total control of society.
Sounds of the Coming Revolution
Such a radical change occurred in a very short order in Russia, China, Cuba, and other Communist countries, as well as in Nazi Germany. What they all have in common is the elimination of the distinction between civil society and the state. In other words, all institutions, such as the family, church, school, university, the media, entertainment, the arts, and every voluntary organization are destroyed or become incorporated into the totalitarian state. History, even recent history, has provided overwhelming evidence that such revolutionary changes spell nothing but evil and misery.
So far the free West has been spared such evil. The bitter irony is that the same revolution that happened relatively quickly in other countries is occurring slowly and surreptitiously in the West as well. We need to recognize this reality and become alert to what is really happening. What are the forces that are pushing our still--free Western countries in a direction that many will come to regret? What are the signs of our time, and what should we do about them?
Obviously, these are huge issues that are complex and critical to the future of the West. Here I want to focus on two issues: secularization and its impact on the institution of the family.
The first thing we have to keep in mind is that secularism is a dominant force in Western culture. This means that Christianity plays no effective role in the formation of most peoples views of the world and of their place in it. This is how the Humanist Association of Canada summarized its contribution to the spread of secularism: Promoting the separation of religion from public policy and fostering the development of reason, compassion and critical thinking for all Canadians through secular education and community support. (Emphasis added)
The American Humanist Association stated in its Manifesto II, published in 1973, the following: We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of survival and fulfillment of the human race. As non-theists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity
. We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species
. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves
A Child of the Enlightenment
The core meaning of secularism, as you can tell from the above quotations, is the declaration of human independence from God. This radical idea was succinctly expressed in the slogan of the late 18th century French Revolution, No God, No Master. Secularization is the application of the belief in human autonomy, and it comes to expression in every detail of life.
Contemporary secularism is a child of the Enlightenment, the 18th century intellectual movement spearheaded by thinkers such as Voltaire and Rousseau. An excellent source on the Enlightenment is Crane Brintons The Shaping of Modern Thought, 1964. He describes the worldview of this movement as the belief that all human beings can attain here on this earth a state of perfection hitherto in the West thought to be possible only for Christians in a state of grace, and for them only after death. (p. 109) another excellent source on this topic is Benjamin Wiker, Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became the State Religion (2013).
The following is a very brief summary of the main themes of the Enlightenment:
· It is atheistic. Consequently, there is no authoritative rule or sovereign above us to whom we owe allegiance. Instead, we are the designers and creators of our own values.
Human fulfillment can only be achieved by our own efforts in this world through mastery over nature, especially by means of science and technology.
Human nature is essentially good. Evil is caused by the structures of society, notably by the maldistribution of power and wealth, which can be overcome by radical changes in those structures via social engineering. (Think President Obamas fundamental transformation.)
All social structures are purely historical and eminently malleable.
Ideas Have Consequences
The big problem faced by secularism is how to construct a society that is just and peaceful if all moral concepts are relative. If there is no given, abiding and authoritative standard of truth, ultimately all distinctions become problematic. It is then impossible to make judgements about right and wrong, truth and falsehood. We are left with deciding what is convenient, pleasant, or necessary for survival, but we cannot say that something should be done because it is right, or something should be believed because it is true. In fact, to do so is to risk the charge of being judgemental, arrogant, and intolerant.
The denial of a transcendent and sovereign lawgiver and standard of truth means that the very existence of a moral order is denied. The issue is not that people engage in wrong (immoral) behaviour but that they deny the very existence of a standard or norm by which we can distinguish between right and wrong. This has a devastating impact upon the possibility of agreeing to a common set of standards by which society is to be guided. Lets take another look at the radicalism of the secular faith as expressed in the Humanist Manifesto:
We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest
. Human life has meaning because we create and develop our futures
We strive for the good life here and now.
Such a radical, alternative faith does not merely touch the margins of life and society but is all-pervasive since it goes to the very basis of our existence in this world. It represents a radical denial of everything the Bible teaches, and its effects are revolutionary. But none of this is new. Secularisms modern expression has its roots in the original Fall, mans rejection of the sovereign God, coupled with the attempt of finding the divine within the human. You will be like God, said Satan.
No just and peaceful society, as Canada largely still is, can exist without some kind of order, some general notion of right and wrong. If we reject the God-ordained order, we will design a pseudo order. But such an endeavour becomes entirely arbitrary and unreliable. For if people believe that there is no transcendent authority, why should they worry about the wellbeing of their neighbour, their society? Why should they concern themselves with doing justice, or being truthful, or faithful? The bitter irony is that this kind of relativism always ends up in totalitarianism.
The secular faith (yes, it is a faith) leads to a strange paradox. Whereas it glorifies individual liberty and questions all traditional moral constraints in the private sphere, even to the extent that traditional norms are held in contempt, we witness the increasing reliance on legislation and the (coercive) power of the state. In the words of Supreme Court Justice Beverly McLachlin (quoted in the Vancouver Sun): Today, it is not to religion or the community that society looks to regulate and remedy its evilsit is to law, primarily the criminal law. In other words, the state is given the task of controlling society. A more dismal prospect is hard to imagine.
What About the Family?
The family is a bulwark of a free society, because it is the first and foremost institution in which every life begins, is nurtured into maturity, and serves as the indispensable means for the continuation of the human race. It obviously belongs in the private sphere of life, but where secularization takes over; it will be accompanied by the ongoing expansion of state power, at the expense of the other non- state institutions. It is especially the family and marriage that are now besieged from many sides. Michael Novak, a Roman Catholic author, has eloquently described the freedom-defending task of the family, as follows:
There are many families that are in trouble because they are dysfunctional, but dysfunction is aided and abetted by myriad outside forces, especially those who call for the radical revolution. They understand the point made by Novak that the independent family is the first line of resistance against totalitarianism.
William Gairdner is a Canadian author who describes himself as a parent who speaks out on the political, economic, and social policies that threaten us all. And speak out he did in his 655-page book, The War Against the Family, published in 1992. In 2010, he followed up with another clearly argued defence of the family, The Trouble With Canada
Still. Gairdner does not call himself a Christian, but in both books he provides a vigorous defence of a Judeo-Christian notion of freedom, over against what he perceives to be a slide into a form of statism that constitutes a direct attack on the family. As Gairdner and many others have stressed, we need to be alert to the way the deliberate destruction of the family is being played out. (See e.g., George Grant, The Family Under Siege: What the New Social Engineers Have in Mind for You and Your Children; and Mary Eberstadt (How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization.)
Radical Feminism and the Planned Parenthood
Radical feminism is fueled by the kind of revolutionary fervor that motivated the 1960s rebels who declared that the West is totally corrupt and needs a radical transformation. As we have seen in previous instalments, these revolutionaries invariably sided with totalitarianism of the Marxism/Leninism type. Many of them often travelled to the Soviet Union, North Vietnam, China and Cuba to learn first-hand how to bring about the Revolution, returning home where they become propagandists for the most barbarian regimes. The worst offenders in spreading these lies were and are many university professors whose job it is to tell the truth to their students
Gairdners two books provide a wealth of information and a detailed, historical overview of the developments that brought us to the current anti-family patterns of behavior and public policies. He traces that history back to Plato who advocated that families should be incorporated into the state so that all blood ties would be abolished. The Communist Manifesto also lists the abolition of the family as a major item of the Marxist agenda. The late Robert Bork, author of Slouching towards Gomorrah, penned a succinct description of the destruction wrought by radical feminism.
Radical feminism is the most destructive and fanatical movement to come down to us from the sixties. This is a revolutionary, not a reformist, movement, and it is meeting with considerable success. Totalitarian in spirit, it is deeply antagonistic to traditional Western culture and proposes the complete restructuring of society, morality, and human nature. (p. 193)
One of the most influential organizations in furthering the radical feminist agenda is the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, affiliated with the International Planned Parenthood Federation, usually shortened to Planned Parenthood. Its roots go back to the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York in 1916 started by Margaret Sanger. In 1942, it was renamed Planned Parenthood and has grown into an international organization with affiliates in many countries, including China where it assisted the government with its one-child per couple policy. The Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada reports that it provides clinical services of information and counseling on sexual and reproductive health issues in 68 communities across Canada.
Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) saw it as her lifes function to remove the veil of ignorance about sex and reproduction. But in the process she adopted all the negative ideas about family relations, calling for the total rejection of the traditional ideas about sex and family. Thats why she became the darling of the radical feminists. In the literature, Planned Parenthood stresses its work in reproductive health and education. But in reality, its education is teaching even the very young about free sex, homosexuality, and other variations of sexual acts. It is also fanatically pro-abortion in its counselling and education services.
Planned Parenthood is the nations largest abortion provider, which is one out of every four abortions in the United Sates. In 2009 it performed 332,278 abortions, which is an average of 910 abortions each day. Abby Johnson, the former director of Planned Parenthoods clinic in Bryan, Texas, said that in 2009 her clinic was given an increased abortion quota to raise revenue, because thats where the revenue was. (Charmaine Yoest, National Review Online, April 26, 2011)
Sex education is a good thing, but it should be done in an age-appropriate manner, while the parents have the right and duty to ensure that is done without violating their beliefs. The reality is that abortion has become big business and a major source of income for Planned Parenthood. But taking the life of a helpless baby (whether partly or completely formed) is evil. And so is sex education to the very young that will give them a wrong start in one of the most intimate, sacred, and mysterious component of life (see Solomons Song of Songs). It is stealing the innocence of little ones, which is a loss that can never be undone.