Renew AmericaLinda 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 "progressive disillusionment," Weaver perceived that old cultural restraints had failed to control man'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, "Ideas Have Consequences."
The subject of Weaver's book was "the dissolution of the West." Its deterioration was traced by Weaver to the late 14th century when, Weaver argued, Western man had made an "evil decision." Enticed by William of Occam's (d. c. 1349) philosophy of nominalism, Western man abandoned his belief in transcendent "universals" and thus the position that "there is a source of truth higher than, and independent of, man..." The consequences of this revolution in ideas were catastrophic, for "The denial of everything transcending experience means inevitably...the denial of truth. With the denial of objective truth there is no escape from the relativism of 'man is the measure of all things."
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 "goodness of man." 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, man'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 "spoiled-child psychology" of modern man, who had "not been made to see the relationship between reward and effort." 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 "metaphysical dream," said Weaver.
Weaver concluded with an ominous warning:
"the closer man stands to ruin, the duller grows his realization (for) the annihilation of spiritual being precedes the destruction of temple walls." (The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, George H. Nash, pp. 30-33)
What Weaver dubbed a "spoiled-child psychology" can be broken down into a legion of poisonous "isms:" naturalism, materialism, idealism, empiricism, relativism, positivism, determinism, reductionism, scientism, biological and spiritual evolutionism, Freudianism, progressivism, liberalism, socialism, communism, utopianism, amoralism, and underlying them all....atheism and antitheism.
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