The Curse of Rousseau
Paul Craig Roberts
The UK Telegraph on March 31, 2023, reported “Joe Biden’s America is splitting at the seams.” The article reported results of a new survey of Americans undertaken by the National Opinion Research Center and the Wall Street Journal. The survey finds startling declines in Americans faith in America, their communities, religion, and a sharp drop in patriotism. Americans who prioritize patriotism fell from 61% to 38%. Community involvement collapsed to 27%. Religion dropped from 48% to 39%, and those to whom starting a family is important fell from 43%to 30%.
If you would like insight as to why this collapse in traditional values, read Claes G. Ryn’s new book, The Failure of American Conservatism. In brief, Ryn attributes conservatism’s failure to preoccupation with politics and neglect of corrosive ideas that undermined religion, the family, parental authority, truth, and replaced a united people with a tower of babel. The other big conservative issue was saving the world from communism. Dystopian novels such as George Orwell’s 1984 were associated with the Soviet Union. Conservatives focused on outside national security threats instead of on threats from within from leftwing ideas increasingly anti-Western, anti-Christian, and anti-white. A false history of slavery was created and used to create black victimhood.
Rousseauvian idealism recast the explanation of evil. Evil was removed from the human heart against which we contend with the help of religion and was attributed to the institutions of existing society, to civilization itself. In recent years we see many manifestations of this. For example, the New York Times’ 1619 Project which says America was created on the basis of the institution of black slavery. The institution of marriage, which limited marriage to vows between a man and a woman, discriminates against same sex marriage. Pedophiles are deprived of sexual love between adults and arbitrarily defined children. Normalizing perversity is seen as liberation from discriminatory institutions. Civilization’s emphasis on moral character as a constraint on evil was replaced with the emphasis that evil resided in the institutions of civilization. Wokeness is now a pursued goal of profit-driven corporations such as Disney and Budweiser.
The latest expression of Rousseau’s vision is the Avatar movies by James Cameron in which an idyllic people in harmony with nature try to save the environment from destruction by civilization.
In the Woke view that now seems dominant, innocent people, which seems to exclude white heterosexual males, are victims of the evil in civilization’s institutions, not themselves perpetrators of evil. This view is taught in schools and universities and is being institutionalized in corporations, museums, and entertainment. The result is a generalized attack on civilization and the recasting of truth as approved emotions.
The revolution against civilization erases the empirical, rational, logical foundation of truth and gives rise to individuals who do not have to control themselves, because their transgressions are caused by corrupt institutions, from the chains of which man must be set free.
As Ryn puts it, patterns of profound irresponsibility are being deeply ingrained, thus institutionalizing the self-inflicted ongoing societal and cultural collapse.