ROAD TO THE
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers. James M. Ault, Jr.
DURING THE LAST HALF of the twentieth century, the United States experienced a period of unusual spiritual ferment and renewal. As we have seen, the spiritual outburst is a normal and recurrent phenomenon in post-Columbian North America. Colonial North America began with a Puritan Awakening; the United States was born of the First Great Awakening; the Civil War was provoked by a Second Great Awakening, and the century of the welfare state was inspired by a Third Great Awakening. According to William G. McLoughlin and Robert William Fogel, these Awakenings represent a spontaneous upwelling of human spiritual torment, a shared feeling that something is amiss, neither specifically personal or social. According to their taxonomy, the present ferment deserves the title of the Fourth Great Awakening.
The sociology of religion developed by Rodney Stark also comprehends this continual upwelling of religious enthusiasm. His Theory of Religion presents his approach:
All humans share the desire for very general rewards, such as everlasting life, which seem unavailable to anyone this side of paradise. Such unfulfilled desires serve as a universal motive for religion. In addition, the powerful want religion to support their position of privilege and their superior level of rewards, while the powerless want forms of religion more saturated with specific compensators and in tension with the sociocultural environment dominated by the powerful. (Stark, Bainbridge 1996 p315)
The way in which these desires play out, according to Stark, is in the opposing forces of secularization and revival. The slow relaxation of religious feeling in the process of secularization is continually interrupted and reversed by the formation of new high-tension cults and sects. Long established churches tend to live in a relaxed relationship with the surrounding society. But this relaxation dilutes the power of the compensatorssuch as the promise for eternal life in the next worldthat are the very essence of religion. In the relaxed climate of weak compensators new cults and sects get formed by people who seek either a new way to experience and express the rewards of religion or a way to intensify an old way by revival and purification. Following each Awakening or revival is another period of secularization, as the newly formed high tension cults and sects slowly reduce their distance from the surrounding culture and as the members of the sects become more powerful and want to connect with and influence the surrounding society. The mainstream churches of the United States that cater to the comfortable are secularized churches that were once high tension sects. The Presbyterians and Congregationalists were once Puritans; the Methodists once recruited members by revivals and hellfire sermons. The high-tension sects of the early twenty-first century like the Jehovahs Witnesses and the numerous Pentecostal churches will probably become, over the course of years, more relaxed and secularized. According to Starks theory, the Fourth Great Awakening should represent an unusually large crop of cults and sects that are filling the gap left by the secularizing main-line churches that provide for their members only weak and unconvincing general compensators for the desires that people experience for rewards not available in this world.
In the analysis of McLoughlin and Fogel, the story of the North American Awakenings was entwined with their own likely story. They wanted to construct a narrative that demonstrated the important role that progressive academicians and scholars came to fill in the twentieth century and ought to continue to fill in the twenty-first century. To confirm their importance, they differentiated the spiritual leaders of each Awakening into two groups: old lights and new lights, borrowing from the taxonomy of the first great religious schism in the Great Awakening of the 1740s between Old Side and New Light Presbyterians. Old lights were those that looked backwards; new lights were those that were trying to find a new way to express their spiritual search. It was a categorization that helped to shine a light of approval on progressive forces and disapprobation on the cruder aspects of religious revival and the darker side of the sawdust trail. It was particularly helpful to McLoughlin and Fogel in their analysis of the Third Great Awakening when they wanted to show the old-light preacher Billy Sunday as irrelevant and benighted and Social Gospelers as progressive and inspired. The problem is that such a division encourages the self-anointed new lights to regard their program as the progressive truth and the old light program as a reactionary lie. This happened in 1909 when retired Harvard President Charles Eliot in an address entitled The Future of Religion formulated a conception of the Social Gospel that read the old lights out of the magic circle of respectability. (Armstrong 2000 p170) He inaugurated the great schism between progressive Social Gospelers and conservative fundamentalists that persisted throughout the twentieth century.
The Spiral Dynamics perspective comprehends the analysis of McLoughlin and Fogel and then transcends it. It sees the old lights as religious leaders who appeal to the people of red consciousness and to their spiritual needs while the new lights, the Social Gospelers, are religious leaders who appeal to people of green consciousness. It does not find itself attempting to judge the progressiveness or benightedness of the different strains of spiritual experience. It judges them on their effectiveness at delivering spiritual nourishment to their adherents and helping with spiritual growth, and expects to find that the old-light leaders provided the simple offering of discipline and purpose that red impulsives need to acquire competence in the city, while the new-light leaders offered the vision of a universal community of caring and sharing that provides a menu of spiritual nourishment attractive to those entering a green consciousness. For the Fourth Great Awakening, the old light/new light analysis is clearly inadequate. The Fourth Great Awakening is too big, too multifaceted to be limited by such a cramped perspective.
The Spiral Dynamics perspective also comprehends the sociology of religion of Rodney Stark and extends it. Stark sees the cycle of religious revival and secularization as responding to self-conscious deprivation. His analysis does not permit much differentiation of the different kinds of deprivation, although he notes that the recruits to revivals of enthusiastic Christianity tend to be less powerful and less educated than those recruited to cults like Theosophy and Transcendental Meditation. The Spiral Dynamics perspective, armed with a more differentiated psychology, is able to develop a more nuanced analysis of the process of spiritual renewal. It sees the cycle of secularization and revival in the Christian churches as a continual process of renewal whereby red impulsives remake a secularizing church to respond to their needs for a high-tension religion to help them separate from their red roots, and make the journey on the road to the middle class. As they and their children assimilate into the middle class their need for a high-tension religion dissolves. Their sect relaxes into a church, and then the church relaxes into secularization. It sees religious groups like the Mormons, the Brompton Oratory, the Alpha Course, and the religion at work movement as evidence of blue conformists starting to deal with the challenge of orange consciousness, developing the courage to leave the safety of conformism and the moral idiocy of the welfare state into the adventure of a career. The Spiral Dynamics perspective sees the New Age movement, environmentalism, and the interest in eastern religions as the quest of orange creatives and green communitarians for their own high-tension cults to reflect their feeling of apartness from the mainstream middle-class society. Naturally, their spiritual needs at the orange/green transition would be different from the needs of red impulsives trying to cope with the challenge of making it in the city or the needs of blue purposives attempting a tentative break out of conformity.
The Fourth Great Awakening began in the aftermath of World War II and manifested itself in a general increase in church membership in the late 1950s. But growth in the mainline Protestant churches soon stalled, and membership growth continued only in the enthusiastic Protestant sects. Since around 1960, membership in the mainline denominations has declined by around 35 percent while membership in the enthusiastic sects has doubled. (Fogel 2000 p25) The characteristic leaders of the initial phase of the Awakening were Norman Vincent Peale, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, and Billy Graham. Peale wrote a number of self-help best sellers that preached the virtues of self-reliance and the Protestant ethic. Sheen warned conservative Catholics against the dangers of communism, and Billy Graham moved the traditional revivalist tradition into the modern age, preaching on radio, TV, movies, and mass urban crusades. (McLoughlin 1978 p186) These religious leaders (old lights to McLoughlin and Fogel) were all appealing to the traditional target of enthusiastic Christian preachers: the red impulsives, the new immigrants to the city, people thrashing around trying to make it in the city but hampered by their pre-industrial culture, and unable to get traction in the slippery streets of the city. But the revival of enthusiastic Christianity was only part of the Awakening.
In the arts, the 1950s saw a revival of Romanticism. The Beat poets: Ginsberg, Ferlingetti, Snyder, and Kerouac all preached and celebrated life, spontaneity, and creativity. They urged America to reject the white collar world of purpose and discipline, and to live life in the now, becoming open to the whole spectrum of human experience, and recognizing the ineffable spur of creativity, the intuitive, and the unexpected. Like the Romantics of the nineteenth century, the Beats were experiencing the transition between blue and orange consciousness. Like the nineteenth century Romantics, these sons of the bourgeoisie cried Down with Rules and proposed to replace rules and roles of blue consciousness with pure intuitive orange creativity. Later, in the 1960s, this movement metastasized into The Sixties and the counterculture, and encouraged millions of young educated middle class Americans to transcend the safety of middle class suburbia and try a life of artistic adventure. The advertising industry reflected the times in its creative revolution that celebrated brilliance and originality rather than methodical market analysis. The new creative geniuses of advertising began selling the Sixties generation on the idea that they could demonstrate their rebelliousness by purchasing mass market products that communicated a cocky irreverence towards conventional society. Ivy league mythologist Joseph Campbell explained the new cult of creativity as Creative Mythology, and the creative artist as a modern novice entering on the ancient Heros Journey.
But not all young people wanted to embark on a heros journey of the creative ego, trying to win at the art game or the university game. Many young people wanted to get beyond ego, and find truth in a genuine community of caring and sharing. They entered communes, or, in the New Left, tried to rescue the socialist dream of peace and justice from its descent into Stalinism. Later, after the failure of the communes and the New Left, the survivors moved in on the nations universities and powered a movement to radicalize the nations faculties with the ideas of French neo-Marxists. Their movement represented an attempt to create a purely green consciousness by extinguishing the poison of blue rule and role, represented by the worship of the logos of reason, and the corrosion of orange ego represented by the mythic narrative. They reacted against the egoism of Eurocentrism, embraced the traditionally marginalized Social Other, and demonstrated that every historical narrative was a crude apology for power. The persistence of the project of the left, even after the horror of the hundred million victims sacrificed to Marx-inspired political regimes in the twentieth century, demonstrates that the desire for universal community is a human aspiration that transcends its vulgar human prophets and their cosmic crimes.
There is another spiritual movement that constitutes a major current within the Awakening, the major explosion in non-traditional belief, generally referred to as New Age. Because the term new age is generally used by journalists, both of left and right, as a free-floating pejorative, meaning lightweight or flaky, the term requires definition for the purpose of this book. It is used here to refer to any belief system, excluding traditional Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and left-wing and right-wing secularism, as practiced by non-hyphenated Americans in the United States. Thus Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, meditation, yoga, and eastern martial arts, as practiced by fully assimilated Americans are considered new age, as well as astrology, channeling, dowsing, crystal work, dream work, est, scientology, and shamanism.
A typical treatment of New Age is Alan Jacobs The God of the Bestseller List in the Weekly Standard in 1999. In Neale Donald Walschs Conversations with God, Marianne Williamsons A Return to Love, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul phenomenon Jacobs found nothing but self-flattery and self-congratulation: no Day of Judgment, just immediate admission to the Place Where Everyone Is Nice. (Jacobs 1999) Of course, such patronizing is a common way of belittling other peoples religion, and not far from the comment of Stanley Hauerwas about the mainstream Protestant churches: God is nice and we should be nice too. (Carter 2001 p5) Yet New Age religion is a solidly middle class phenomenon, setting out, ever so gingerly, for something more spiritual than a good job, a pretty wife, and a dream house in the suburbs.
The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, a project of the Christian Right, does not experience New Age as a joke, but as a challenge, a competing way of seeing that threatens to abduct the Christian faithful away from the traditional dualistic western world view. In the Christian view, people are separate and distinct from God, and they are sinful. But in the New Age way of seeing there is a strong aversion to harsh dualisms. (Ankerberg, Weldon 1998 ix) For New Age, dualisms are extinguished in the union of opposites as in the yin and yang of the Dao. Rather than being separate from God, New Age encourages its adepts to believe in an eternal union with God.
But New Age also includes the drift of Americans and people of European origin generally towards eastern traditions, a secular trend that has been gathering speed for two centuries. When the British encountered Hinduism in India they generally regarded its culture as backward and in need of muscular Christian improvement. But some of them studied the Indian culture, and became more respectful. Schopenhauer was the first Western philosopher to read the Hindu scriptures, and marveled that Kant had already intuited Hindu concepts. The Boston transcendentalists developed a long distance acquaintance with Buddhism and Hinduism, and William James acknowledged in his Varieties of Religious Experience that he wished he knew more about the East. But by 1950 Zen masters had set up in San Francisco, and by 1960 Alan Watts had popularized Zen. By 1970 Frijtof Capra had written The Tao of Physics, and by 1980 Gary Zukav had written The Seat of the Soul. The East had gone mainstream.
If there is a unifying theme around the congeries of New Age beliefs, it is that New Agers dont experience the sense of sin that is central to Christian belief. They know that they arent as good as they could be, but they dont feel enough weight of sin to make it the center of their belief. In Spiral Dynamics terms, they are blue purposives born to the middle class and innocent of the Manichean experience of the red/blue transition. Some of them are tempted to recover the primitive purple and red consciousness that their parents transcended and repressed. They dabble in magical wiccan practice, or experiment with the red world of rap music. But most of them are beginning to grow towards a post-rational consciousness, to experience the pull of the adventurous ego of orange consciousness and the longing for universal community in green consciousness.
An interesting sector of the New Age is a group that could be called the Womens Creativity Movement. Representative writers are Julia Cameron, The Artists Way; Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love; Elizabeth Lesser, The New American Spirituality; and Sonia Choquette, Your Hearts Desire. Camerons book is a frank invitation to grow from the safe world of blue rule and role to an orange world of post-rational creativity. She consciously evokes the importance of the ineffable in a creative life, that creative work is part preparation and part inspiration. An alcoholic who used whisky to open a swiftly narrowing window of lucidity during her days as a scriptwriter, she advertises herself as a representative of the first generation of sober artists. Marianne Williamson represents the bad girl of the Sixties, who went and let it all hang out (regressing to red impulsiveness) and then returned to the Christian caritas and a life of purpose and creativity. Elizabeth Lesser represents the good girl of the Sixties. Entering Barnard College at the height of the anti-war movement, she was attracted to Sufism, and entered the commune of a Sufi mystic. Then she and her husband left the commune so they could have a private, nuclear family, and they started a weekend retreat center. Then they got divorced. Lesser had done everything the culture recommended for an upper-middle-class girl, yet found herself a single mother in her thirties in a world of hurt. Her solution was an integrated spirituality of body, mind, heart, and soul. Sonia Choquette on the other hand is the child of a Romanian war-bride and a spiritual teacher who gives intuitive readings. She promises your Hearts Desire to those who will follow her nine Principles of Creativity that teach the universal laws of creative manifestation.
These women are tackling the particular consequence, for a woman, of choosing a creative life. They have understood that it isnt quite as simple as shouting Down With Rules and getting a room of ones own. Most women lack the breathtaking audacity of Georges Sand and find it impossible to summon up the ruthlessness to compartmentalize their lives and become thoroughgoing nineteenth century Romantics. They want to relate and to nurture as well as create. Nor is the creative woman as cavalier about breaking the rules as the male Romantic. The rules represent a limitation and proceduralization of power, a departure from the principle of might makes right. Throwing away the rules means throwing away the defense-in-depth that bourgeois culture has erected against power. A world without rules would not be a very safe world. In particular, it would not be a safe world for women. So the new generation of creative women, the first generation of sober artists, tries to build an integrated worldphysical, emotional, mental, and soulfulthat transcends the rules but does not abolish them.
But the big story of the Fourth Great Awakening was the rise to notoriety of the Religious Right, epitomized for most educated Americans by Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority, Pat Robertson and his Christian Coalition, and Jim Bakker and his disgrace. All of a sudden, at the end of the 1970s, these TV pastors appeared on the media radar and became lightning rods for political controversy. Many Americans were outraged that preachers would dare to enter the political arena from the right. Other Americans were delighted to see liberal oxen gored by new political upstarts. Still others were embarrassed by their holy roller rhetoric. Over all, as Karen Armstrong wrote for many of the elite, the belligerent righteousness in Family Values... must be rejected as inauthentic. (Armstsrong 1994 p391) In fact, they were entirely representative of the revivalism that has burst out throughout American history. They represented, of course, but the tip of the iceberg of spiritual revival, and an entirely normal stage in the great story of the churching of America by enthusiastic Christian sects. In the seventeenth century, the enthusiastic revivalists were Puritan Congregationalists and Presbyterians. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the revivalists were called Methodists and Baptists. By the end of the nineteenth century the American Catholic Church was acting very much like a high-tension sect and the Mormons had established a base of expansion in Utah. In the twentieth century, the fundamentalists broke away from the secularizing Social Gospelers because they felt a profound discomfort with the retreat from a Bible-centered religion. By the second half of the twentieth century, the revivalist core of Christianity had migrated to Pentecostalism, suburban mega-churches, and the inimitable TV ministries that turned up on the political radar.
As we have seen, the United States began its life predominantly unchurched. In 1776, only 17 percent of Americans belonged to a church. By 1890, at the end of the nineteenth century, church adherence had more than doubled to 45 percent, and that in a nation whose population had increased from 4 million to 63 million. Of course, all that phenomenal growth took place in the nineteenth century, in a different time. Since, then, however, the adherence rate has increased further, to 51 percent in 1906, 59 percent in 1952, and 62 percent in 1980. Throughout the notoriously secular twentieth century, when the national elites had written religion off as a vestigial superstition by projecting their own loss of faith upon the population at large, religious adherence increased, and not just in absolute numbers. Despite the huge increase in population, the proportion of Americans adhering to a church increased by over 30 percent during the twentieth century. Obviously something was going on, something that had been completely missed by the faithless elites and the chattering classes.
The whole phenomenon of the Fourth Great Awakening, from the rise of the Religious Right and the continuing rise in church adherence to the rise of New Age and the growing popularity of eastern religions make complete sense in the sociological theories of Ronald Stark and the psychological theories of Don Beck and Ken Wilber. In Starks theory, people will always turn to religion because they will always seek rewards that cannot be obtained in this world. In lieu of unobtainable rewards like everlasting life, they will seek compensators, and religion will always respond by supplying those compensators. Those who desire compensators already devised in existing religions will form sectsreligious groups that try to return to the basics, the original pure religion corrupted by the existing churchbreaking off from existing churches to seek a higher tension religious experience than that available in the prosperous and relaxed church of the stolid bourgeoisie. Those who desire compensators not already available will form cultsreligious groups that seek religious innovation. In the context of North America, the New Age and eastern religions represent religious innovation, and are therefore experienced by society as cults.
The Sprial Dynamics perspective understands religious experience not as a desire for compensators but as a response to the great existential crises of life arising when the dominant personal level of consciousness no longer proves efficacious and a person feels an overwhelming sense of unease and a need to take action. The most common and the most typical existential crisis in the industrialized society is the transition from red impulsive to blue purposeful, the adaptation from the life of agriculture to the life of the city, what we have called the road to the middle class. Religious organizations like the Methodists of 1800, the American Catholics of 1860, and the Religious Right of 1990 are clearly social responses to the experience of trying to move up from red consciousness to blue.
The unchurched Americans who were drawn into the enthusiastic Protestant movement did not think of their situation as an existential crisis. They experienced themselves, when prompted by the revivalist preachers, as living in sin, and they ached for salvation. But the educated middle class Americans who began to experience an existential crisis in the nineteenth century did not feel like sinners. They were uneasy because they wanted to live life not as obedient communicants in a religious community, but because they felt a deep need to become authentic individuals. In Either/Or, Kierkegaard asserted that it is not so much of choosing the right as of the energy, the earnestness, the pathos with which one chooses... [The] crucial thing is not deliberation, but the baptism of the will, that lifts up the choice into the ethical. (Bretall 1973 p106 p108) The existential fear of being one of the crowd just going along because it is the right thing to do is resolved in the risk of creating an authentic, creative life for good or evil. For Kierkegaard this choice meant denying the comfort of marriage and conventional church membership and creating a tension between himself and the bourgeois Danish round of work, Sunday worship, and innocent recreation in the Deer Park, brutally dumping the girl he had engaged to marry, and railing against the hypocrisy of the established church prelates. In Heidegger this sentiment crystallized into the difference between the ontic and the ontological, the unself-conscious inauthentic everyday life against the self-conscious authenticity that breaks with the unreflective they. A decade later, in Paris, the Existentialists put this into practice. Determined to create their own creative space and not have social norms imposed on them, they one-upped Kierkegaard and dumped girls by the dozen. In Spiral Dynamics terms, this existential crisis occurs at the transition from blue consciousness to orange consciousness, at the point that the idea of conforming to the One True Way that everyone else is following ceases to hold meaning. The self-conscious creative ego is being born for whom the essence of meaning is the creative work of individuation, the signature of the creative artist. That this noble quest became comically a mass phenomenon in the creative 1960s when every young bourgeois sprig was called to the creative life, dropping out of the rat race dressed in mass-produced flower prints, does not invalidate the experience. After all, the baby boomers were the first generation in the modern world to be mostly middle class. Born to the security of a middle-class childhood, they wanted something better. They couldnt help it that they thought like millions of others. A century before, when Kierkegaard and Thoreau were experiencing the same middle-class angst, they were sons of privilege, the very few whose very bourgeois fathersKierkegaards was a merchant, Thoreaus a pencil manufacturerpermitted their sons the luxury of sitting around and philosophizing without being gainfully employed.
Since the existentialists, ancient and modern, were experiencing the need to liberate themselves from the rigid rules of community into the experience of the individual creative ego, they did not institutionalize their yearnings in a religious community. The vision quest of the creative ego was not communitarian. In Starks terms, their desires for the impossible goal of immortality through creative individuality could not be satisfied by compensators offered by the social interactions of a religious sect or cult. There was no alternative for them but to go out upon their quest, and have the luck, like the heroes of The Fairie Queen, to fall in with Una or Belphoebe at the right moment when help was needed. But others, trying to transcend the limitations of the creative ego and discover a paradise of universal community, were not so disadvantaged. The socialists and the Progressives, disturbed and offended by the all-too-human creative egos at the head of giant corporations, were provoked to ask: So what? What profiteth a man if he gain money, power, and the love of beautiful women as the most creative artist in the world, if he lose his own soul because crude capitalists are doing the same?
The spiritual turmoil that has characterized the second half of the twentieth century has been an appropriate period of reflection after the murderous wars and genocides of the first half of the century. But it has not been a consequence of those wars. It reflects the existential challenges faced by ordinary people as they go about their lives, trying to breathe meaning into events that seem to gasp for explanation. What has been lacking has been explanation of the secular events of the Fourth Great Awakening. What causes spiritual outbursts? Why is religion surging in popularity a century after the Death of God? What is the meaning of all the cults, the Zen centers, the yoga classes at the fitness center? What is New Age all about? The fusion of the theories of Robert William Fogel, William G. McLoughlin, Rodney Stark, Don C. Beck, and Ken Wilber demonstrate that all the confusing events of the Awakening make sense. They are natural and healthy, and demonstrate millions of people going about their lives and responding properly and sensibly to the challenges they face. The problem was a lack of knowledge, the lack of a theory to explain the social phenomena presenting themselves for analysis.
With new knowledge comes new illumination and the need for reevaluation. The first shaft of light teaches that helpless immigrants to the city seem to instinctively choose the right strategy to cope with their new environment. They are open to revivalists who invite them to join religious movements that help them convert their impulsive peasant culture to the directed and purposeful culture of the city. In the nineteenth century they actively sought out education for their children long before political activists built a movement to municipalize and nationalize the education of children. In fact, many of them went without food to find the money to pay the school fees for their children. Today they try to find ways around the government school system so they can find the back-to-basics education that city immigrants need. They come, in time, to accept the value of the regime of law that obtains in the city, shedding eventually the culture of subordination and patronage that they lived under before they came to the city. This finding calls into question the legitimacy of the whole maternal/paternal welfare state that has been built on the assumption that city dwellers cannot be trusted to develop the proper social safety net to help the helpless and to educate the ignorant.
The second shaft of illumination provides a new way of understanding the remarkable diversity of Americans, not in the sense of ethnic difference, but in their levels of consciousness. There are Americans struggling in a cesspool of violence and failure in the inner cities; there are dutiful Americans following the rules as the One True Way; there are creative Americans who belief that life is an adventure, a great creative endeavor; there are Americans who long for genuine democracy, a community of caring and sharing, free from power and oppression. The problem is that each community, sealed in its own world of consciousness, wants to create a world safe for them to seek salvation, and experiences other communities as threats that seek to prevent them from achieving their salvation. Many people talk about celebrating diversity, but they mean celebrating the colorful people who think like them. The true challenge of diversity is to create an America that lets others work out their salvation in safety, that helps them achieve their sensible goals without imposing a top-down one-size-fits-all comprehensive and mandatory solution devised by national experts, to recognize, in the words of Clare Graves, that Damn it all, a person has the right to be who he is.
Since the industrial revolution, everyone has agreed that the poor, meaning the proletarians of the city, are the group that needs help most urgently. This book has shown that what the proletarians, the red impulsives, need is a firm and solid road to the middle class, that shows them the way to go, gives them a good solid road to travel on, and helps them in their struggle. In the next chapter we shall examine how to help them in this task in the context of the early twenty-first century and the demoralizing culture of the welfare state that lives on the continued problems of the poor.
Click for Chapter 13: Repairing The Road
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton