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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
This article was originally published in the National Catholic Register.
Fellow Christians, do you ever feel like we are in the crosshairs of all sorts of ideological groups? I sure do. I’ve had to think about this a lot! And I think I’ve figured out a pattern that explains why we are always in hot water with the “Latest and Greatest and Ultimate Ideological Fad.”
I first discovered this pattern in my study of the Sexual Revolution.
Step 1:Somebody sells the public on a utopian ideal, a heaven on Earth, something that sounds appealing but is utterly impossible. Even good ideas and noble goals can be corrupted by being turned into utopian ideologies. For instance, the utopian dream of the communists is the workers’ paradise of perfect economic and social equality. Now, we can eliminate some inequality, but we will never have perfect equality in every dimension. That’s completely impossible.
Some environmentalists want to eliminate all pollution, all carbon footprints. Not possible. Reduce pollution? Sure, we can do that. But eliminate it? not possible.
Some in the public health establishment want to eliminate all cases of COVID. Reduce the number of cases? Sure. Eliminate them all? Not possible.
And of course, the Sexual Revolution is all about creating a sexual heaven on Earth, where every adult can have all the sex they want and nothing bad ever happens.
Step 2: These same people selling the fantasy also sell themselves as the potential savior class who can make this dream a reality, if only
Step 3: We grant them enough power. Doing the impossible requires a lot of power. So, the self-described “savior class” requires unlimited power to bring about the fantasy dreamscape. But even with lots of power, they can’t really do the impossible. So, they must fill the society with
Step 4:Unlimited propaganda, which keeps people convinced that the dream is possible and desirable. And finally, and very importantly, the propaganda must turn people’s attention to the
Step 5:Scapegoat Class. The dreamscape will never materialize, so, the savior class needs someone to blame. Every totalitarian ideology you can think of, has had a scapegoat class. The communists blamed the kulaks and rich peasants and crypto capitalists. The Nazis blamed the Jews. The Sexual Revolutionaries scapegoat Christian hold-outs who refuse to go along with the program.
Any fantasy ideology is utterly at odds with the Christian religion. Let’s review the five elements to see why.
1. A fantasy ideology first promises heaven on Earth. But Jesus never promised us heaven on earth. As a matter of fact, he promised us persecution and trouble. He told us to “take up your cross and come follow me.” He told us to abandon our families, our possessions and our reputations, anything that interferes with the cross. Jesus does not promise heaven on earth. He promises heaven in heaven.
2. The fantasy ideology presents the need for a savior class, which can bring about this heaven on earth. Jesus doesn’t allow us to go looking for a savior class. He is the one and only savior. The Christian religion specifically forbids us from assigning the title of “savior” to anyone but Jesus.
3. The savior class can save us if only we give them enough power to achieve the impossible task they have set for us. As Christians, we are not allowed to take this deal. We are supposed to render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar only what is Caesar’s. It should go without saying that we are not allowed to render unto the political or technocratic elites unlimited power. We owe the experts in any field a respectful hearing. We don’t owe them unquestioned obedience. In fact, they owe us respectful answers to our questions and concerns. At the end of the day, the experts in public health or in so-called sexual health or climate science or the global economy are ordinary citizens just like the rest of us.
To make Christians even more troublesome to power elites, we have this crazy idea that people with power do not get to do whatever they want. The guy at the top of the totem pole does not get to do whatever he can get away with. The history of Christianity is littered (literally) with the bodies of people who confronted people in power on this point. This, more than anything else, has gotten Christians into trouble with ruling classes down through the ages.
4. Fantasy ideologies need unlimited propaganda. Let’s be clear: Propaganda is a form of deception. When an ideology gives itself permission to deceive in order to achieve the dream, the faithful Christian needs to object. Christianity holds that there is such a thing as truth, that truth can be discovered both through reason and revelation and that everyone has a responsibility to live in the truth.
5. Finally, the fantasy ideology requires someone to blame when things don’t go according to plan. But the Christian religion specifically forbids us to scapegoat people. Because we believe in original sin, we have no expectation that we could cure the human race of all evil if we could just get rid of Those Bad People Over There. When the subject is sin, we are all in it together. As Solzhenitsyn famously said, “The line between good and evil runs within every human heart.” There are degrees of personal wrongdoing of course. There are better and worse societies, of course. But no matter how much improvement we might make, we will never achieve perfection. Promising that we will, somehow, someday do so, is setting us up for failure and disappointment.
People of faith are the ones standing in the way of whatever the fantasy ideology of the moment happens to be. When a new ideology breaks out, we are the ones scratching our heads, saying, “That doesn’t sound right.” We are the ones who are willing to say: “If someone promises heaven on Earth, don’t take the bait. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably neither good nor true.”
And that is why Christians are public enemy No. 1.