Untimely Observations

Totalitarian Humanism and WASP Acquiescence

My correspondent David Heleniak offers some interesting observations regarding the relationship between Political Correctness and "God is dead" theology:

The simplified narrative I'm starting to believe explains TH is that in the 60s, Nietzsche's death of God caught up to the Episcopalians who made up the American ruling class.  They could no longer believe the old mythologies: Adam and Eve, original sin, blood atonement, all that medieval bs.  But they couldn't give up the religion that they grew up in, with the community fellowship, the memories of church hayrides, etc.  So they looked in the mirror and said: "What can I feel guilty about, now that I've rejected the reality of Adam's sin, so I can keep being a Christian.  Aha.  I'm white, male, and Christian.  I will feel guilty for being white, male, and Christian."

In the Union County Courthouse near my house there is a mural in the front wall one of the courtrooms depicting a Pilgrim man standing with his arms reaching forward in a benevolent yet firm pose indicating a kind and just rule, while kneeling down around him in obviously subservient poses are Native Americans and women.  I don't own a farm but if I did I would bet that it was drawn well before the 1960s, during a period in which the white Protestant patriarchy was self-conscious of its role as the ruling class and self-confident in its legitimacy.  If an accurate mural were to be drawn today, it would depict the white Christian male in sack cloth and ashes, bowing down in worship to the Other, or perhaps offering himself up for punishment.

Dave also suggests the modern feminist movement was a reaction against the Sexual Revolution:

One idea I've been kicking around is that the feminist revolution was a reaction to the sexual revolution, which was a betrayal of the implicit contract that men had struck with women in America.  De Tocqueville had observed that husbands and wives in America had reached an agreement whereby men would work outside the home while remaining faithful and in exchange women would adopt a helper role within the home.  This broke down in the 1950s when men went along with Hefner's advice that they become "playboys."  Women rightly saw the cultural fascination with hot stewardesses and movie starlets as a threat.  A wife could no longer count on her husband's fidelity.  She now needed to become self-sufficient in case the bastard ran off with the secretary.

I would also highly recommend Dave's book, "Rousseau and the Real Culture War," which makes a fascinating and highly original set of arguments regarding the relationship between each major period in Western intellectual history-classical Greco-Roman paganism, Christianity, and the Enlightenment-and the modern ideological paradigms of left, right, and libertarian.