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Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Death of an Age and Its Faith

By Rev. R.J. Rushdoony
The death of an age is a bloody business. Men, disillusioned with the promises of their faith, yet unwilling to surrender them, strike out at everything in rage and in frustration. Like a rudderless ship, the civilization loses its direction and is driven by events instead of driving through them.

Today, in the last days of humanism, as men steadily destroy their world, it is important for us to understand the meaning of the times and act in terms of that knowledge. The humanists in their blindness celebrate "the death of God" when it is in fact the death of humanism and their own funeral; they are racing to in their heedless course.

Humanism is dying because its faith is false, and its promises bankrupt. Let us examine that faith in order to understand more clearly its failure. First of all, humanism presupposes a faith in man, even to insisting on the basic goodness of man. This idealistic affirmation comes with it the assumption that evil is not in man but rather in his environment. Change the environment, and you thereby change man, it is held. As a result, humanistic sociology and politics are rigorously environmental: every effort is made to provide better housing, better education, every kind of environmental control, but, in all of this, man's evil only seems to proliferate.

As a result, many humanists have themselves abandoned their faith in man. Nietzsche, ahead of most, proclaimed the need of superman to replace man, and evolutionists and socialists have dedicated themselves to working towards the creation of a new man. Man as he now is, in terms of this hope, is expendable: he is merely the ape who shall produce the man of the future. Lenin who held this view, could therefore treat with ruthless contempt the apes beneath him as he worked to bring the new man out of them. In every version, this belief is a break with the humanistic faith in man.

A second basic concept of the humanistic faith is its affirmation that man is his own god. As I have pointed out, in several of my books (e.g., This Independent Republic, p. 140.), basic to every sound theology is the doctrine of the unity of the godhead. A schizophrenic god is no god at all. Mankind, humanity, being made up of gods, must be united to avoid a division in this new godhead, man. This means world unity, a one-world order; it means world peace, for the godhead must not be at war with itself.

Ironically, this faith has led to what has been called "perpetual war for perpetual peace." To demand the unity of all men is the essence of total imperialism. The result is total warfare. The peace lovers are history's greatest warmongers. Worldwide interventionism to effect world peace has characterized the policies of late of the U.S.S.R., the U.S., the U.N., and others. Granted their presuppositions, all are "sincere", but sincerity does not mean either truth or justice.

Moreover, man without God ends up as man without man, unable and unwilling to live at peace with anyone, and unable to live at peace with himself. The existentialist Sartre has stated the modern mood bluntly: "Hell is other people." If every man is his own god, knowing or determining for himself what constitutes good and evil, then every man is at war with any limitation upon himself imposed by other men or by a state. Hell then is logically "other people", and the humanistic faith in man as his own god becomes history's major impulse towards suicide. The Satanic temptation (Genesis 3:5) thus becomes the counsel of death to men and nations.

The third basic doctrine of the religion of humanism is the belief in equality (see again This Independent Republic, p. 140). Equality is a concept of the age of humanism, with its respect for the authority of science, transferred from the realm of mathematics and applied to man. The results have been devastating. Two plus two equals four is a valid concept, and a necessary abstraction. Such abstractions are important tools. In dealing with board feet of lumber, all cut to size, and graded, such abstractions work. But the richness and variety of man cannot be expressed by abstractions. Two Africans and two Englishmen do not equal four Americans, or vice versa: the equation mark now becomes an absurdity. Who are these eight men, and what are their talents? Are they saints of God or are they apostates, criminals or good citizens? One may be a plumber, and the other a concert violinist; the plumber may be more important to you today, and the violinist tonight. Each have their place, their function, and the term equality is irrelevant to it: it imposes an abstract mathematical judgment in an area where a vast variety of considerations must govern.

But we are governed today by the politics of equality. To challenge the doctrine is in bad form, although everyone is troubled, and society in an uproar, over the unrealistic attempts to enforce an abstraction onto the concrete facts of life.

The doctrine is honored in principle and denied in practice. The Marxist world affirms, "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs", but this is not an equality of work but of wealth. In practice, even this is abandoned by the Marxists in favor of a variety of rewards and a radically unequal society, one with greater variations of social status than the old Russia had. Both Fabian and Marxist socialisms now favor Meritocracy, rigid examinations, state control of all jobs, and positions being assigned (and power) in terms of examinations. The result is the rise of a new privileged class. In Britain, the House of Lords is steadily packed with Labor politicians, who have been made peers, and there are signs that its power may be revived under the leadership of this new elite. The equalitarians end up by asserting, as in Orwell's Animal Farm, that some animals are more "equal", than others! Whether it is the peasants of Russia, or the Negroes of America, the most rebellious and angry people, the most disillusioned members of equalitarian society, are those who have been "made equal" by acts of state. They know that they have been defrauded, and their impulse becomes revolutionary.
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