Reposted from Miscellaneous Ramblings.
Charles W. Moore
In “Streets of Laredo,” the second of Larry McMurtry’s quartet of Lonesome Dove novels, a muy malo dude named Joey Garza stocks South Texas and the Mexican borderlands, picking off people with a high-powered German rifle fitted with a telescopic sight.
McMurtry’s Old West novels are an odd—albeit often entertaining—mixture of postmodern nihilism, Grand Guignol excess, extreme violence, and cameo appearances by historical characters, populated with flawed heroes and villains so evil the reader is fervently wishing them dead long before the usually bloody climax of the story in the late chapters.
I seriously doubt that there was anyone like Joey Garza serial-sniping with a scope-equipped rifle in the Texas of the 1890s, but there is certainly one such individual stalking the environs of Washington D.C. this October. Such moral monsters are a product of our morally adrift culture, not the Catholic culture of Mexico and Latino Texas a century ago.
Larry McMurtry loosely weaves historical threads throughout his yarns, but one glaring omission is the almost total absence of reference to Christianity or religious faith of any sort in his books. Whether this blind spot is deliberate or unintentional, I cannot say, but it’s probably not a coincidence that McMurtry’s background is in Hollywood screenwriting, a field where Christian faith is mostly ignored, or, when occasionally referenced, usually slandered and ridiculed. That obliviousness and contempt for religion in entertainment culture is not coincidental to the post modern nihilism that dominates popular culture nowadays, which in turn is the culture that has produced Washington’s sniper.
Postmodern culture is, in the context of our society, post-Christian culture. It is marked by the poisonous notion that morality is relative, that there are no absolutes, and that nothing can be truly known. Its only creed is that of indiscriminate tolerance of virtually anything except any sort of moral absolutism or definitive truth-claims.
And it is no surprise or coincidence that such a climate of moral anarchy can create amoral predators like the evil individual blowing away folks in Washington while they gas up their cars, clip their hedges, or arrive at school.
Civilization did not derive from “the goodness of individual human spirits” working in harmony for the common good, as humanist dogma would have us believe. It is dependent upon honouring the objective moral laws of the created order and in acknowledgment of the sovereignty and authority of God.
The father of modern and postmodern moral-relativism, Friedrich Nietzsche, asserted that man creates his own values, and that the codes of good and evil affirmed by various cultures derive from the longings and strivings of human will—not divine revelation, objective truth, or even reason. However, Nietzsche was more intellectually honest than today’s liberal humanists, who imagine that they can retain quasi-Christian social morality without reference to its source. If Christian faith was to be denied, Nietzsche maintained, then Christian morality must also be spurned. And without Christian morality and its demand for personal accountability, all hell breaks loose.
Western civilization bloomed with the Christian religion, was sustained by it for some 1,500 years, and is withering with Christianity’s popular decline and loss of cultural purchase. It’s probably fair to say that most people never lived strictly by Christian values, but in the past a majority affirmed them as the benchmark of right and wrong, good and evil.
Carl Jung warned that there would be hell to pay if the cultural ethical consensus ever broke down. In 1911, Jung wrote:
“Today the individual still feels himself restrained by public hypocritical opinion, and therefore, prefers to lead a secret, separate life, but publicly to represent morality. It might be different if men in general all at once found the moral mask too dull, and if they realized how dangerously their [inner] beasts lie in wait for each other, and then truly a frenzy of demoralization might sweep over humanity.”
Sweeping it is, into a moral and philosophical vacuum created by the compound effect of three or four generations now who have “found the moral mask too dull,” discarded Christian ethics, and embraced positivist humanism’s false claims that good and evil are merely matters of opinion. Christian-based moral authority is now disdained, leaving only the criminal-justice system and the ideological tyranny of leftist political correctness attempting to hold a reactionary line against social breakdown.
As W.B. Yeats so prophetically observed:
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
are full of passionate intensity.”
Secular humanists suppose you can maintain civilization without objective moral or religious standards. I disbelieve this, and there’s more evidence all the time confirming my skepticism. Without moral order there can be no political or social order—or genuine freedom.
Civilizations end this way.
There’s nothing free or civilized about being afraid to go to the supermarket because some depraved lunatic might take you out in the parking lot with a random shot.
Miscellaneous Ramblings ©1999-2002 by Charles W. Moore.
Originally published under the title: Serial Sniper a Product of Postmodern Moral Anarchy. Low End Mac is pleased to publish Charles W. Moore’s Miscellaneous Ramblings. Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and writing for Mac websites since May 1998. His The Road Warrior column is a regular feature on MacOpinion, and he is a news editor and columnist at Applelinks.com.
Charles lives and works in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, on the shore of Indian Harbour Lake and in sight of the Atlantic Ocean. His newspaper columns are syndicated across Canada, and he writes regularly for several magazines, as well as doing Mac website journalism. Charles has also contributed to MacToday magazine.