“Barfield never made me an Anthroposophist, but his counterattacks destroyed forever two elements in my own thought. In the first place he made short work of what I have called my ‘chronological snobbery,’ the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also “a period,” and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them.”
C.S. Lewis made this comment in his 1955 book Surprised by Joy where he was taken to task for his thinking that the age that he lived in was superior to all of those that existed in the past.
Today, we have been constantly bombarded with such terms as “progress” and “moving forward” as if we are marching to some goal in the future where the “sins” of the past are forsaken and that we are marching to some secular Zion where all men will love each other and that the world will finally live in peace. In the past few years, many progressives have called on the state to make sure that man is perfected by a set of laws that would eliminate discrimination from the face of the earth. There has been some pushback from some of the Southern states in the form of “bathroom bills,” legislation that is designed so that people can go to the bathroom with those of the same sex and mandates transgenders to use those facilities that identify with the sex that they were born with . Critics of the bill howled and derided the bills as fascistic and an affront to “open-minded” people every where and that such bills would lead to future discrimination against them. Progress is being hindered and that we are regressing to the dreaded “dark ages” in these people’s opinion. To this I say “So what?” Groups of people should be free to associate with whomever without the State forcing them to hire people or serve people against their will. The liberty and the freedom enjoyed by people in the past is now being eroded in the name of “progress.” All that came before was evil and that those who defend the past are called neanderthals, knuckledraggers, closed-mind or “out-of-step.” They pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves for being far superior to those folks of the past. Today’s pundits state that we must be united and that we must be as one.
Butler Shaffer is not a believer, but he sees that people who identify themselves not as individuals, but rather as members of groups as a sign that civilization is fast being destroyed and that the individualistic spirit is being crushed. Here is what he had to say about the group mentality:
“It should surprise no intelligent mind that elevating the presumed interests of abstractions over those of living individuals, is bound to be destructive of life, and of the cultures around which life organizes itself. Historians have told us how the stabilization of social and economic conditions that appear to promote the permanency of institutions actually frustrate the processes of adaptation upon which life depends. In using their political influence to standardize and make human behavior more uniform, institutions have, without intending to do so, contributed to the stifling of the creative forces that keep a culture vibrant. This has relevance not only to the depletion of material values – what Carroll Quigley referred to as a civilization’s “instruments of expansion” – but, as Toynbee noted, spiritual values as well.”
Indeed, the push to become united by force is now destroying us as a free people. We must think and act alike in the name of “tolerance” or we will be cast into outer darkness. Let us take back the reins of TRUE liberty as persons and not as groups.