Canada Free PressLinda Kimball
By the close of WW II, Richard Weaver and countless other classical liberals apprehensively discerned that the Western civilized nations were on the road to breakdown and totalitarianism. Suffering â€œprogressive disillusionment,â€ Weaver perceived that old cultural restraints had failed to control manâ€™s propensity for evil. This led him to ponder the fallacies of modernist ideas that had produced the holocaust of evil visited upon the world from WW I to WW II. By late 1945, Weaver published his conclusions in his book, â€œIdeas Have Consequences.â€
The subject of Weaverâ€™s book was â€œthe dissolution of the West.â€ Its deterioration was traced by Weaver to the late 14th century when, Weaver argued, Western man had made an â€œevil decision.â€ Enticed by William of Occamâ€™s (d. c. 1349) philosophy of nominalism, Western man abandoned his belief in transcendent â€œuniversalsâ€ and thus the position that â€œthere is a source of truth higher than, and independent of, manâ€¦â€ The consequences of this revolution in ideas were catastrophic, for â€œThe denial of everything transcending experience means inevitablyâ€¦the denial of truth. With the denial of objective truth there is no escape from the relativism of â€˜man is the measure of all things.â€
Things worsened as the downward spiral continued:
God would be conceptually murdered, Heaven shut-down and Nature itself elevated to the supreme reality. The doctrine of original sin was abandoned and replaced by the â€œgoodness of man.â€ With only the physical world of the senses held to be real, Christianity declined, rationalism arose, and materialist science became the most prestigious way to study man. With knowledge limited to the sensory realm, manâ€™s spiritual attributes, that is, the soul, mind, conscience, and free will were soon lost in an endless cycle of reductionism and determinism. Man, created in the spiritual likeness of his supernatural Creator would be lost. In his place would stand the soulless human ape, an accidental emergent product of mindless evolutionary forces.
Weaver dubbed this way of thinking the â€œspoiled-child psychologyâ€ of modern man, who had â€œnot been made to see the relationship between reward and effort.â€ This orgy of mindlessness is traceable to certain terrible-willed modernists who, no longer wanting to be created in the spiritual likeness of their Creator, had failed to achieve an integrated world picture, a â€œmetaphysical dream,â€ said Weaver.
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