Characteristics of Society under the Dictatorship: “Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie” (Tolkien)
The failure of the Enlightenment project has left the peoples of the West with a damp, grey cultural landscape with “a sun near the end of its life, weary of looking down upon the world”: empty of idealism, true religion and morality, with reason reduced to a pygmy of scientific calculation. Lost is the euphoria of the 1960s for creating the perfect society. Instead with quiet desperation contemporary man tries to staunch the bleeding wounds of his soul with the bandages of consumerism, hi-tech, sensuality and unrestrained individualism. Life has been reduced to a relentless raging thrust to seize the maximum of pleasure with the minimum of pain over the longest possible lifespan.
At the foundation of this new world-order lies the opinion that we either live in a universe abandoned to itself by a God who brought it into existence or we form part of a senseless reality without a Creator, a universe that has at its center -as Schopenhauer remarked – “a blind incessant impulse”, a “raging, blind, naked, suffocating, godless Will” or -as Dawkins asserted – a nature that is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent.
With the denial of the God of Christianity, the ultimate rational foundation for the existence of right and wrong actions has been swept away. This, said Benedict XVI on December 20th, 2010, implies fatal danger for civilization:
Alexis de Tocqueville, in his day, observed that democracy in America had become possible and had worked because there existed a fundamental moral consensus which, transcending individual denominations, united everyone. Only if there is such a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk wherever its place, the place of moral reasoning, is taken by the purely instrumental rationality of which I spoke earlier.
In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake.
This is the “brave new world” left us by the collapse of the Age of Reason: “My name is Mordor”!
Discredited then is the “Enlightenment Project” but far from being in its tomb: its influence remains in a world-vision of moral relativism and a “Culture of Death” that has become “common sense” for the élites of Western government bureaucracies, the mass-media and the academic circles. These three centers for the creation of culture have been spreading the Enlightenment ideas to Asia, Africa and Latin-America surfing on the wave of globalization. Indeed the Dictatorship of Relativism has become increasingly globally normative through the incessant repetition of its paradigms, values and lifestyles through movies, education, judicial decisions and declarations at the level of the European Union and the United Nations. Well-intentioned Catholics ignorant of the big picture promote this new order by only noticing the points in which it coincides with Catholic social doctrine. They accept such paradigms as “cultural diversity”, “sexual and reproductive rights”, “gender equality”, “sustainable development” which are ambiguous terms for an immoral agenda. Thus they become unwitting allies in the construction of the new dictatorship
The consequences are snowballing throughout society: states are legislating legal independence of children from their parents; parents renounce their duty to morally guide their offspring through patient teaching of the virtues; children are taught in state schools and by music and movie to reject authority; everywhere citizens repeat in zombie-like fashion slogans such as “freedom of choice”. Ominously judges and legislators have swept aside natural law as the basis for legislation and tiny pressure groups with powerful media backing prevail on parliaments to “denucleate” the traditional concepts of marriage and family.
All over the West, the lights are going out one by one. The encroaching darkness threatens all facets of life with the ominous figure of the culture of death stalking the land: abortion, sexual disorder, the demographic death (a birth rate below replacement level) not just in Europe but also in Japan, Canada and even Mexico, growth in the suicide rate of teenagers, widespread break-down of marriages, homosexual unions equated with marriage, euthanasia and “therapeutic” cloning. We are now living in an epoch when an unprecedented assault rushes against the very walls of man’s humanity: when the ultimate intellectual grounding for morality -the rational nature of assent to God’s existence and man’s duty to obey God through the natural law – are denied by the dominant world-order.
No wonder that Herman Hesse, a Swiss-German author, described modern man as a wolf roving restlessly in “the endless and loveless desert that is Western civilization” hideously crying his hunger and thirst for Eternity.