“What are the symptoms of … the derailment of man?” asked Eric Voegelin in his book, Hitler and the Germans. Man has a particular nature. He is a spiritual being and a rational being. The West drew its reason from the ancient Greeks, its spiritual grounding from the ancient Israelites. This was our twofold heritage. Only now we have abandoned it for positivism and materialism. Consequently, Western Civilization is rapidly unraveling.
According to Voegelin, the Old Testament teaches that we have a share in what is divine. Man is “theomorphic,” to use a Greek term, or made in “the image of God.” Voegelin noted, “The specific dignity of man is based on this….” Yet we have kicked this to the curb, seeing ourselves in “the image of the monkey.” Prevailing thought has debunked the idea of the “first cause,” the divine creator, the maker of all things. This is the spiritual side of our radical stupidity. Voegelin wrote, “One cannot de-divinize oneself without dehumanizing oneself….”
The brutality of our daily thought, our disconnection from spirit, would be readily apparent to a medieval or ancient person. For our part, we hardly know what we have lost. Because of this we are imbibing anti-depressants at an astonishing rate. Despite our comparative wealth and comfort we are increasingly unhappy. We are, as one social scientists noted, “coming apart.”
On every side the most brutal slogans resound. We are now the creatures of an ideological age. As noted by Carl Jung, we have succumbed to mass-mindedness. “There are no longer any gods we can evoke to help us,” he wrote. We now lead “an ignominious existence among the relics of our past….”
We have largely closed ourselves off from the spiritual. Many religious leaders are frauds. Many of the “faithful” lack the discernment to detect imposters. It is a sickening situation all the way around. As for our reason, it is now grounded on erroneous propositions — disconnected from spirit, from the ground of being. Because of this, noted Voegelin, “there occurs a loss of reality, insofar as this divine being, this ground of being, is … reality too….”
This “loss of reality” leads some men to set themselves up as God. They promise to eliminate poverty, war, disease. Oh yes, and they can leap tall buildings in a single bound while lowering global temperatures. Such is the essence of the New Religion – the religion of our moral idiots, evolving day-by-day to the “tyranny of the radically stupid.”
You see, the moral idiot thinks he is cleverer than God. He is fabulously intelligent in the most radically stupid way imaginable. Yet, the moral idiot doesn’t know that he lost himself. As a deserter from reverence and truth, he tells irreverent lies and lives in a childish fantasy world. It is not only the fantasy world of CNN, but the fantasy world of Fox News.
According to Hesiod there are three kinds of men: (1) those who think things through; (2) those who listen to the thinkers; and (3) those who neither think nor listen and, consequently, are stupid and even dangerous. Today, persons of this latter type are everywhere. They are in charge of everything. Voegelin says our entire ruling elite is of this type.
Voegelin says it is “extremely difficult to understand that the elite of a society can consist of a rabble.” Then he says, “[our elite] really does consist of a rabble.” The proof is there, before our very eyes. There is something wrong with almost all of our leaders. They are not properly oriented. They are profoundly disoriented. According to Voegelin:
Stupidity shall mean here that a man, because of his loss of reality, is not in a position to rightly orient his action in the world, in which he lives. So when the central organ guiding his action, his theomorphic nature and openness toward reason and spirit, has ceased functioning, then man will act stupidly.
He will murder millions in concentration camps, commit genocide against minorities, firebomb cities full of women and children, drop nukes when the enemy is already trying to surrender, hand over whole regions to slavery in order to keep a bargain with a mass murdering ally, etc. etc. Such is our latter-day history, “full of sound and fury,” signifying betrayal.
In the Hebrew understanding, a fool is one who creates chaos and disorder because of his folly. In Plato’s terminology, the fool “does not have the authority of reason and … cannot bow to it.” Look to the left and look to the right. Where are the wise men? Who bows to reason?
Our descent into chaos is progressive and may accelerate at any moment. Stupidity follows stupidity, error follows error. We are killing unborn babies through abortion, importing aliens from hostile civilizations, teaching children the virtue of sodomy and Bedouins the virtue of democracy; marriage can now be between a man and a man, war is waged on the wings of sanctimonious chatter, to achieve unobtainable objectives. Despair all ye who enter here.
We live in the Age of Radical Stupidity in which the elite are the radically stupid – a rabble of intelligent nitwits passionately combating reality and common sense. Our bankruptcy advances from twenty trillion to twenty five trillion, to a hundred and fifty trillion. Nothing can stop the slide into universal chaos, except reason and spirit. But where can these qualities be found?
We think we are the good guys, that we know what we are doing. But we have no clue. We mistake goodness for self-righteousness. We mistake ideological slogans for knowledge and reason. We do not know our limitations, and do not like being told that we are vulnerable. It is only a matter of time before our radically stupid leaders cause a major derailment. When everything begins to fall apart, when we are dying by the tens of millions, will we find leaders of a different stripe? Where will they come from?
What are we doing to oppose the radical stupidity of our rulers?