Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Tale of Three Idiots

Seven years into the 21st century, it might be useful to look at the three men of the 19th century who had the greatest influence on the centuries that followed. The three men were, and are: Darwin, Marx, and Freud. While no one holds to all of the details of their mad philosophies, all liberals and most conservatives share the basic core assumptions of the infamous trio. What were their assumptions?

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin is the father of Freud and Marx. Without Charles Darwin there could be no Marx or Freud. Darwin claimed to be a scientist, but like Freud and Marx he was really a philosopher. His basic premise was quite simple: Man's origin can be explained by simply collecting enough facts about mankind's biological life on earth. Darwin claimed he had the facts and was ready to reveal them. The "facts" Darwin "discovered" were these: Man had somehow managed, without outside help, to fashion himself into a hairy ape; then, becoming dissatisfied with his appearance, he decided to make himself into a man. In the course of switching from apehood to manhood, and in doing other odd jobs necessary for survival, man is brought into conflict with other men. This conflict creates "natural selection," which is the process by which the race of man weeds out weak individuals. This fabulous new doctrine was welcomed by the liberals as a refreshing relief from the old (fantastical?) notions of God. Now man was free to live, love, and laugh.

How this new doctrine made man free is not clear to a rational individual. A rational individual would say, "Instead of being created in the image of God with an immortal soul and an eternal destiny, I am now, you tell me, an extraordinary ape with no soul and no eternal destiny. Oh joy, oh bliss." The Russian philosopher Lev Shestov cut right to the heart of the matter when he summed up Darwinism with the following statement: "Man is a monkey, therefore we must all love one another."

Darwin made no scientific discovery. He advanced a philosophic theory as a solution to the riddle of man's existence. As theories go, Darwin's theory ranks as one of the stupidest to come down the pike. Yet, the pseudo-intellectuals and the mass media of the day bought it. In fact, they lapped it up. Why? There are two major reasons. The first I'll call "The Man in the White Smock with a Ph.D." phenomenon. Modern man will believe almost anything if it is presented to him by a scientific expert as a new breakthrough for science. If Joe, the 19th century grocer, tells Mike, the 19th century butcher, that he has a new theory about the origins of man and that it involves monkey bones and evolutionary clap-trap, Mike the Butcher is likely to advise the grocer's wife to have good old Joe packed off to a loony bin. But, if a newspaper man tells Mike the Butcher that a scientific expert with a Ph.D. has just discovered that man is really a monkey, Mike the Butcher will be very impressed and start spouting the new theory to everyone he meets, because he will not want people to think he is out of touch with the latest "scientific discovery."

Why is Mike the Butcher, and why are we, Mike's spiritual heirs, so afraid of appearing unreceptive to the latest scientific discoveries? It is because of Zeus's curse. When Our Lord, the one true God, destroyed Zeus's pantheon of nature gods, Zeus left a curse. "If this God loves man so much as to give him dominion over my nature gods, then let men fight over the mechanical means to control nature, and let them be so fascinated by the mechanisms by which they control nature that they forget the God above nature who gave them the means to control it." Thus spake Zeus.

And thus we sit, like a 6th grade school boy who has learned to simulate a fart by strategic placement of his hands over his mouth, delighted by our ability to pull levers and push buttons. When we talk about God at all, we cloak our language in scientific jargon so that the personal God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God who took flesh and dwelt among us, is obscured by a foul-smelling gaseous fog. And from gaseous fogs come gasbags. That is the origin of Charles Darwin.

The second reason for the wide acceptance of Darwinism is the "Fear of Hell" reason (also known as the "I Don't Look Good in a Puritan Hat" reason). There comes with a belief in Christ a belief in hell. A person with a virile belief in Christ puts the fear of hell well below the love of Christ in his priorities, but a disordered soul usually places the fear of hell at the top of his list. To such a person and to similar collective persons, the doctrine of Darwinian monkeyism came as a relief. If we are all monkeys, then we need not fear hell. Lurking in the heart of many a liberal who proclaims his firm belief in evolution is a secret fear that hell just might be a real place.

Acceptance of the Darwinian solution divests man of his fear of hell, but he also loses his hope of heaven. It would seem to be a rather penny-wise, pound-foolish view of existence, but the Darwinian view of existence is the preferred view of modern man. Even the theologians who wish to reject the logical atheism of the Darwinian solution (Teilhard de Chardin, etc.) hedge their bets by using Darwinian jargon to explain their theories.

So the old gasbag really stumbled onto something with the evolution shell game; and Herr Sigmund continued Darwin's work from a different angle.

Sigmund Freud
Freud was one of the most prolific writers of all time. His works fill library shelves in all corners of the earth, but there is no need to summon every work forth. Freud started with the Darwinian assumption that man was an ape whose essence could be discovered through research. Freud called his research scientific, yet his most significant work as pertains to his religious views, Moses and Monotheism, was, by his own admission, "more of a novel" than a work of research.

Moses and Monotheism was written late in Freud's life. I first read the book as a freshman in college; it is a very easy read. Freud accepts as fact the Oedipus myth, and this acceptance was at the core of his psychoanalytical theory. The myth, as we know, was about a man, Oedipus, who killed his father and slept with his mother. Freud claims that the first group of sons on earth killed their father and slept with their mother. This, according to Freud, led to the racial guilt that all men share. Right away, one runs into a problem. I remember asking my religion professor, "Let us accept, for the sake of argument, that Freud's theory is true: the first sons killed their father and slept with their mother. Why should they feel guilty? Guilt is a Christian concept, and man, according to Freud, is an animal. So, why the guilt?" My teacher could not answer my question. Indeed the question is not answerable by reference to any biological theory of man's origin.

Freud, accepting the Oedipus premise as true, went on to theorize about Moses. Moses, Freud claimed, was not a Jew but an Egyptian. This Egyptian Moses led a band of Hebrew slaves into the desert, and once in the desert, the Hebrew slaves slew their Egyptian leader, thus reenacting primal man's murder of his father. Christianity, said Freud, helped alleviate man's guilt by creating a religion where the son offered himself up as a sacrificial victim to the father. Some Christians have praised Moses and Monotheism because Freud presents the Christian religion as an improvement over Judaism, Christianity being better equipped to assuage racial guilt. Such praise is ludicrous. Freud still presents Christianity as an illusory religion, which I hope would always bring out the fighting blood in Christians.

Although few modern psycho-witch doctors accept all of Freud's theories, they do accept his premise that religious belief is illusory and that it is only healthy or unhealthy according to how well it helps an individual "cope" or "become the best he can be" or achieve orgasm or some other nonsense.

We witness the phenomenon of sickness casting judgment on health. Freud really did want to murder his father and sleep with his mother, but that was his problem, not ours. Is Christianity false because Freud was sick? Yet we continue to slavishly kow-tow to Freud's successors. To whom do the Christian churches send their clergymen to determine their "mental fitness"? In our schools, whose language do we use to define personality types? Freud's basic premise remains unchallenged in the citadels of what should be the main opposition.

Karl Marx
While Darwinism remains strong, and psycho-babble mumbo-jumbo has become part of Western culture, it would seem that Marxism is a dying ember. This is not quite the case. While most of Marx's details have been rejected, his basic core assumption has been accepted in virtually every nation in the world. Marx's core assumption was that man was an ape who was controlled completely by economic forces. This is a principle held by both American capitalists and Chinese communists. The only disagreement between the American capitalist and Karl Marx is over the best way to deliver the economic goods.

Can Karl Marx be credited with any positive contribution to Western Culture? No. His critique of capitalism was incorrect. Capitalism deserves the harshest criticism; it is no less godless and atheistic than Marxism, but Marx didn't criticize capitalism for its godlessness. He criticized it for being unable to deliver the economic goods to the great mass of people. On this score, capitalism proved quite superior to Marxism. The legitimate criticism of capitalism has come from the older Christian tradition, from such authors as Walter Scott, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, and the Southern agrarians. Their critique emphasized the inhumanity of treating man as a cog in the wheel of the godless GNP. Read Rob Roy, Les Miserables, Hard Times or So Red the Rose to read a legitimate critique of capitalism.

So, the essentially materialistic, mechanistic view of man expounded from different angles of the same triangle by Darwin, Freud, and Marx is still very much with us in the twenty-first century. Is it possible to remain fascinated for so long by the ability to simulate farts? Apparently it is.

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