I am speaking in this writing as a Christian, paternalist/patriarchist which really just means, regular man before modernism. If this presents a problem to you or you do not love having your biases challenged, read no further.
Attempting to point out to most people the flaws and errors in the way our current society thinks and acts is a bit like describing water to a fish: it cannot understand it simply because it is surrounded by it. I have wrestled with encapsulating this for a long time, but I decided to go ahead and tackle this beast.
What is wrong with modern thought is tricky because it goes to the heart of who we are as a species. It goes beyond the sexual revolution, beyond 60s, probably stretches all the way back to the 16th/17th century with the Enlightenment/French Revolution/Protestantism. It is simply the idea that human beings should cast off all forms of hierarchy, authority and restriction on their personal will. Freedom is what is wrong with modern thought, and by freedom I mean the ability to do what you want. In political life, society, family, study, in almost every sphere of human activity, the idea of submission to any kind of authority is regarded as an anathema. You’re not supposed to allow anything or anyone dictate to you at all. Your will, your want and your self is the only reason for doing anything. Anything that makes you put anyone or anything above your own wants or your own will must be evil. “Do what you want” is the center of modern thought. It’s idolatory, but it doesn’t sound like it. How does this play out in modern thought?
Moral relativism is rebellion against the idea of a transcendent standard of good, for no other reason that that it might clash with whatever we happen to want in the moment.
Feminism is an affront to the authority of the husband over the wife.
Political liberalism seeks to make every idea equally valid and therefore remove the ability of society and community to limit anyone’s actions.
Racism (at it’s roots) is the idea that since all humans have equal rights and equal standing in society, people who happen not to have those rights have to be less than human. It declassifies certain groups, in order to protect the universal equality of others.
Protestantism is the rejection of the apostolic authority of the Church, in favor of the idea that anyone should be free to read the scriptures and come to their own conclusions of what its demands are.
Atheism is the wholesale rejection of the idea of any higher being or existence to which we owe an existential responsibility.
The list could go on.
Why is it idolatory? Because the Christian doctrine as an explanation of reality, already covers pretty much every area of human existence. And the foundational teaching of the Gospel is that human beings, on their own, have an irresistible desire towards evil. Submission to God, to different hierarchies in society, to family, to husband, to church, to state, and to absolutist ideas have always been different mechanisms through which the human urge toward lawlessness and evil was held back and kept in check. Modern thought breaks all these restrictions on the human ego, unleashes the beast, and then presupposes that mere freedom itself is a virtue. It is not. It is at best, neutral in that the good will be free to choose to do good, and the evil will be free to choose evil. And we are evil. The evidence of this surrounds us.
By making our self/ego the only standard to which we swear by, modernism makes it easy, even logical to give into all our impulses, which leads, not to good, but to destructive and evil behavior. Humans only do good when they act with something transcendent in mind. Abolishing the transcendent, and subverting all authority is what modern thought considers as freedom. And thus, the only result is what we see: crumbling families, tortured souls, ugly art, strife filled society, drugs, sex, self-loathing, nihilism.
Human freedom only leads to chains. Modern thought, by pushing for this freedom, is underwriting the chains with which we bind ourselves.
I will not be a party to this.