Friday, January 19, 2024

We Christians Are Surrounded, but Lucky

Shaping up to be a N.I.C.E. century, isn't it?

Most of the best writing now being done is on Substack, and one of the most astute Substack writers is NS Lyons. If you aren't reading him, you are missing out.

I’d say Lyons again scores a slam dunk with his coinage this week of “Right-Wing Progressive” (RWP). It's a spot-on designation for figures like Marc Andreesen and Elon Musk. Lyons’ analysis of the role they play, and his slight ambivalence toward them, also seem wise. Though if pressed, I'd have to say I see more danger in RWPs than any sort of ally.

I do admire Musk for many things. But Andreesen? His widely commented “Techno-Optimist Manifesto” is a horror show, demonstrating the usual fatal combination. Add high IQ to philosophical shallowness to a fanatical concern with “transforming society”, and you have in by book a VDC (Verified Dangerous Crank). Now seeking investors.

Problem is, Andreeson, co-founder and partner in Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreesen-Horowitz, will have no problem getting the funds he needs for boosting whatever he sees as “transformative”. Like many in his wide-eyed tribe, this crank is gonna crank.

Amazing world the Enlightenment has put us in, no? A mad-house of fanatical busybodies. We’re stuck with them. We live in a social order where the most engaged are woke authoritarians, RWP techies, and WEF “Great Resetters”. Meanwhile, on the other side of us, the mass of normal citizens wander in a kind of frozen shock: partly dazed by entertainment and all the shiny new tech, partly dazed by the new political reality they still haven’t quite processed--i.e. their rulers in Washington and Brussels really really really don’t give a damn what they think. Or even that they exist.

“The March will Go On! Plebs stay in your lane! It won’t be yours for long!”

We faithful are stuck between fanatical activists on one side, and this mass of exhausted, titillated, angry consumer-citizens on the other.

Rod Dreher, who yesterday featured Lyons’ piece, offers a telling anecdote about his encounter with one of Lyons’ RWP types.

A few years back, I spent a couple of hours on the phone with one of the leading lights of this movement (if you can call it that), a billionaire who reached out to me (identifying me correctly as an anti-woke Christian of the Right), trying to get me on board the transhumanist project. He honestly did not understand why Christians would find transhumanism problematic. Why wouldn’t I want to improve the species? Why wouldn’t I be in favor of applying technology to breeding out flaws that lead us to sin? This man is extremely smart, very personable, and completely baffled by the things I was saying.

Isn’t that just it? We Christians are now oddballs to the extent that educated fellow westerners can’t comprehend how we view humanity. Given this is so, are these “extremely smart” people really educated? No, they are not.

All these zealots (from wokester to RWP to transhumanist) sacralize secular stuff. It’s Eric Voegelin’s “immanentize the eschaton” across the board. Yuval Noah Harari claims tech will render us “godlike” because at some level he still believes in the divine, but can’t believe in any divinity.

We Christians are lucky by comparison, but it’s going to grow ever more difficult for us in a social order full of religious zealots whose religion is their own Newest Updated Manifesto for social salvation.

Still, we’re lucky. Holding to the true faith, we needn’t sacralize politics or technology. Believing in God and the redemption promised through His Son, we emphatically do not believe in salvation through Progress. We know humanity is fallen, that evil will rear its head no matter what political arrangement is tried or what technology is developed. We know sin cannot be legislated or reformed away. Thus we do not believe in promises of utopia or transcendence here on earth. Whether through political revolution, tech, psychedelics, or sexual abandon--we are the permanent wary shoppers who aren’t buying it.

I think that is a blessing.

These others, they are not content with human reality as it is. They cannot let human reality alone, because they can do better. This is what makes them toxic. Toxic to liberty and to all that is natural in humanity.

G.K. Chesterton put it like this: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

Politically and socially, we are now at the mercy of those who believe in anything. But ultimately that is not the mercy that matters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said!