I hesitate to bring up this very interesting essay by the Canadian writer David Warren, because it could be perceived as religious. That would not be wrong, necessarily—I don’t know Warren’s religious views, if any. But I see him as primarily focusing on cultural and political issues in the piece, some of the same issues being those we grapple with here. And that’s the sense in which I am discussing his work. Besides, he says it better than I do.
Warren describes how the elites in our society, who think they are not religious, really are—and how they are imposing their religion on the rest of us in a theocratic sense. This is what I call the coup de culture—utilitarianism/hedonism/scientism-neo earth religion—as the reigning societal values in place of Judeo/Christianity—which (roughly) adheres to the importance of the individual (human exceptionalism), moral constraints on personal behavior, and delaying gratification or what used to be called the “work ethic.”
Some call this clash secularlism vs. religion, but I don’t think that’s actually true—although it makes labeling easier. One can be conventionally Christian or Jewish and support the coup de culture, or atheist and believe in Judeo/Christianity.
In any event, here is how he describes the new regime. You should read the whole essay to get the context, but here’s the conclusion: From “Our Theocracy:”
[W]hat makes our own society unique, is not its freedom from religion but rather the peculiar nature of the religion upon which our [secular] theocracy rests. That is to say, we have an upside-down religion, in which there is no God, but that “Not God” commands an obedience more absolute than God ever required, stipulating everything from the sanctity of antinomian sexual behaviour, down to how we should sort our garbage.
It rides upon an inexhaustible series of mildly fluctuating, but invariably self-contradictory moral and epistemological premises (or more precisely, conceits); and because everything is “relative,” nothing may be challenged. It is, as the lively Ann Coulter has suggested, a religion for which an extremely arid Darwinist materialism provides the founding cosmological myth. And abortion is its principal sacrament.
Or to put it another way, a religion that is not going to last forever, but has nevertheless been growing at an accelerating pace for more than 200 years. Moreover, a religion not without some real appeal, to a society of nearly pure consumers. For while the great majority today implicitly accept the old, frankly religious maxim, “that you are dust, and to dust you will return,” they find any other maxim irritating and bothersome. Unless it is the corollary: “You must seek pleasure, and avoid pain.”
In that Idler magazine, I once commissioned an essay from the estimable Eric McLuhan, expounding the philosophy of Peter Pan. It was a subject I even began drafting a book upon, myself: about the ease with which people may be ruled, once the faith of Peter Pan has been accepted. According to that faith, those who age will die. The secret of immortality is thus to remain perpetually a child, wishing perpetually upon a star. It requires some Nanny, to fulfil all the wishes.
Hence, our theocracy.
This is not yet a done deal. And for me, it isn’t about the existence or non of God. Rather, I think the universal rights foundation of the ancien regime is far superior to the coup de culture, if perhaps, not as much fun. And I think it matters to the protection of the weak and the liberty of our posterity, which of the currently contesting approaches ultimately prevails.