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July 04, 2003

Enter the godless hordes

The Cultural Left: Making the World Safe for Fundamentalism is an article published by The Secular Web, one of the oldest sites promoting a non-theistic worldview. I have commented before that two groups seem intent on launching broadsides against the soft-pedaling of Islam in vague-theism-friendly American culture: the Christian Fundamentalists (Franklin Graham et al.) and self-identified Secularists (Chris Hitchens & co. being exemplars). These are the two faces of the West at war with each other since the 18th century [1]-but perhaps there might be a truce to acknowledge the emergence of a new rival in the form of PoMo relativism and its foot-soldiers of the non-Western ancien regime. An excerpt:

The Cultural Left is not a movement, an ideology, or a philosophy. It is a set of attitudes and beliefs based on the prejudices of the modern intellectual elite, shored up by shallow and simplistic interpretations of modern philosophy (often Karl Marx) and pop psychology. These beliefs are a hodgepodge of moral relativism, Marxism and political correctness--topped off by an almost pathological hostility to traditional Western civilization and the values it is based upon.

The Cultural Left's belief system is a threat to secularism on many levels, but three reasons stand out above all others:
1.) extreme relativism,
2.) hostility to traditional Western culture, and,
3.) the view that academia, scholarship, education, science, culture and the arts are nothing but weapons for use in political and ideological warfare.

I don't agree with some of the specifics, I think most Christian fundamentalists are wacks and sound like wacks when debating PoMo cracks, but the general message is spot-on in my opinion.

[1] I am being a bit broad in my definitions, the "Fundamentalists" of the modern American scene are a direct byproduct of the anti-Modernist reaction among conservative Protestants in the early 20th century, but their roots can be discerned in the echoes of the First Greak Awakening which occurred concurrently with the ascendence of a secular Deism-the ancestor of modern Secularism.

Posted by razib at 12:07 AM

This article is a bit odd, ah because it says the cultural left, unable to make judgements in its state cannot denounce racism? Does this just means it cannot denounce the racism of other civilisations? It seems thier hostility to traditional Western culture means they denounce racism the whole time to us to quicken the death of the evil western tradition. This applies also to their hatred of devout Christians and tolerance of devout muslims (of which a small subset is far more extreme and empowered then any christian nutjobs). Is there a good example of the thinking this article describes because I just dont get it.

Forgiveneensnsnnss please

Posted by: Stephen at July 4, 2003 02:15 AM

There are certainly peculiarities in the American Christian experience. It has mostly to do, however, with the social circumstance of free-enterprise and the opportunity to start one's own social movement, if even with only one small group of people.

Your identifications of chronological movements are sweeping, of course, but that isn't really the issue, either. It would be better to understand that these different movements represent the social/political/chronoligical outworkings of "states of mind" which are always present, simultaneously, in each person. Once you are talking about religion, you are talking about psychology, and, yes, individual psychology at the root. An individual person can fluctuate from Communism, to Fascism, to Cultism, to Libertarianism, all in a single day, in a single hour.

I think more progress in understanding can be obtained by concentrating on the psychology of religion, in the individual, than pursuing the social ramifications.

Furthermore, your "sweeps" refer to cultural/social/political phenomenon that have been going on since the beginning of Christianity, in Palestine, then in Eastern Europe, and all the Mediterranean.

Genetics is personal, is it not? If you want to say causal, also, then you can't look to social "effects" to understand the nature of genetics itself, can you?

Posted by: David Yeagley at July 4, 2003 09:54 AM