There’s this commenter over at TAC, Charles Cosimano, who can be witty and smart at times, and usually that’s what most of his comments try to be (although usually a bit more witty than smart). He had a serious comment (September 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm), however, that I found interesting, an excerpt of which is copied below:
Here in the midwest the Pope … might as well still be in Italy for all anyone cares.
Reiff is of course wrong. Cultures do not die. They are transformed. Other than that, Rod has it right.
People do not make decisions that matter in their lives on the basis of religious teaching. They make the decision and then find the proof text to justify it. What is interesting now is that people are not going to Christianity for the proof text any more. In that sense, the broader culture is, de facto, post Christian.
For large portions of the culture, Christianity carries no special authority. By that I mean if you say to X, “A Christian would not do that,” X is likely to say, “Probably not, but who cares?”
Now, it is a mistake to apply that to the Pope in the US for a very simple reason. The US is overwhelmingly non Catholic. The Pope carries with him no special authority for the bulk of the population. He is easily ignored. The rot of Christianity goes far deeper than what is happening to the Catholic Church which
never really had much cultural weight here to begin with. It is reflected in the decline of the mainline Protestant denominations which did control the culture and who still matter in ways that
the Catholic Church can only look upon with envy.
The question now is what is going to replace Christianity as the determiner of Western, particularly US, which is the only place that really matters, culture.
I don’t think that’s really a question to where there’s any doubt. We already know what has replaced Christianity – it’s the deformed, perverted, and violent culture of liberalism.
Savage West + savage capitalism = savage sexuality (homosexuality/bisexuality + porn + promiscuity + sexual abuse + sexual harassment + STI epidemics + adultery epidemics + divorce + abortion as contraceptive + transgender + prostitution + etc.)
And liberals are like mullahs – ignorant, narrow-minded bigots who stifle everyone else and destroy society while thumping on their porn, because for them, being deformed and sexually violent represents freedom and progress.
And like mullahs, the thing that liberals hate most is freedom of speech – because that permits dissident voices to be heard. It means their nasty ideology is criticized. It means all the violence and harm they do in the world is not entirely covered up by their own lies and denial.
This is why liberalism is just another form of any dictatorial religion. It’s oppressive, repressive, and so very destructive.
I think we are advancing rather fast to a state where Twitter et al will censor all viewpoints that attack liberalism. Mullahs and dictators are like that. They hate to be challenged.
Then, more specifically on how liberalism is really the very expression of the savage and brutal capitalism that organizes the West and the rest of the world today, there was this comment from KD (September 25, 2015 at 9:33 am):
I was reading Turchin’s War, Peace an War where he discusses Southern and Northern Italy, and argues that Southern Italy is a capitalist wash, at best family business with large Mafia contingent.
In contrast, No. Italy has produce medium-sized corporations (family-based), but nothing like a GE or Microsoft capable of planetary organization. These larger structures only occur in particular societies (generally Protestant/Confucian).
It will be interesting if American corporations will continue to be able to function as secularization progresses. Note, it may be that MTD and therapeutic managerialism may be superior to
Protestantism: the materialism, status consciousness, conspicuous consumption, commodity fetishism divorced from any spiritual elements of Calvinism. In other words, MTD may be the new order because it is adaptive to an international system of resource exploitation and consumption, in a way that Christianity, with its focus on the family and its symbolic particularity could not be.