Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
For all our Western liberal democratic traditions and individualist rhetoric, we are a collectivist, Gnostic people who long ago swallowed the horse-pill of Marxist determinism and chased it with a vial of structuralist poison, causing an ugly growth of confused moral relativism. We no longer trust ourselves, we no longer trust what we see, convinced that appearance is illusion and that there lurks below the surface some absolute but discoverable structural system. With no genuine faith left in the moral conscience or the freedom of the individual will, with no belief in our transcendent ability to direct the currents of history, and with a latent mistrust of empirically demonstrable surface facts, we are a people who walk blindly along a predetermined cultural and biological path, following the invisible mandates of a theoretical substructure, as revealed to us from the high-bully-pulpit of the social sciences--psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, demographics etc. Psychology and sociology decide how we will behave; economics, geography and demographics determine where we will live and what we will do with our time; anthropology informs us of who and what we are.
Like all forms of intellectual utopianism, this variety implies the kind of inevitable social engineering that killed untold millions in the twentieth century. And it contains another, more personal and ultimately more dangerous undercurrent: by it we have turned a collective cold shoulder to all thought of human possibility; the easy assumption that human activities and attributes are governed by strict natural laws--analogous to the physical laws which govern the inanimate world--essentially amounts to a complete abdication of our individual humanity, and an absolute loss of hope. The bedrock of tomorrow is eroded away, the field of the future laid with mines (which are, of course, predestined and unavoidable)...