"Moral issues are always complex matters- for people who have no principles." G. K. Chesterton
Every human being is a dichotomy- on the one hand a reflection of his/her Creator and on the other a product of the fallen nature of mankind. Nothing I can think of reflects the latter than what we commonly refer to as "Progressivism." This encompasses politics, the arts, education and society in general, perhaps what we call "pop culture" more than the rest. This fallenness has come to pervade our society like the malignancy of a cancerous tumor. Or...
How has it come to pass that in America, a man can identify as a woman, and his linguistic affirmation by itself, at least in New York City, obligates others to refer to him as "her"? And why is it increasingly considered mandatory to declare that men taking female hormones can compete against women in sporting events? What aberrant philosophical doctrine, you may ask, is behind the assertion that there are sixty-three genders or that marriage must no longer be considered the union of a man and a woman? The answer to these and other absurdities can be found in Robert Curry's new book, Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World. This brief and manageable philosophical analysis forms a welcome addendum to Curry's earlier work, Common Sense Nation, which "explores the thinking of the American Founders" and "present[s] to Americans today what was once known by virtually every American."
This lack of common sense and critical thought has propelled our society into a state of emotionalism- an inability to react to socio-political stimuli with anything other than a knee-jerk reaction. People deprived of critical thought by a broken purposely educational system have only emotionalism to fall back on for decision-making. The tragic thing is that this was done on purpose. Caught up in a consumerist culture in which personal sacrifice is an almost forgotten virtue, hedonism manifests itself in virtually every facet of human interaction be it politics with a cadre of narcissistic psychopaths running the government, or society in general... we see it rears its ugly head in abortion (the ultimate manifestation of myopic selfishness), movies, music and pop culture in general. We are a society in desperate need of some genuine heroes.
Real heroes have been replaced in our society by anti-heroes. People in our military who selflessly give their lives to protect the few rights we have left have been replaced by pampered multi-millionaires who have nothing but disdain for the country responsible for giving them their fortunes. The recent movie The Joker is a splendid characterization of the new cadre of anti-hero, a man with no redeeming virtues whatsoever. He mirrors the absence of morality in today's Progressives.
Approaching the final scenes of the movie, when asked if his clown make-up made him part of the protests and riots raging across Gotham, Joker defends himself with “No… I don’t believe in anything.” And therein is both the lie of the movie and the hope of mankind. Refusing to see Truth does not make it any less true. Denying its existence does not lessen its reality. A man, a culture, even all the world identifying as God-less does not change the simple and profound Truth in the first four words of the Bible: In the beginning… God.
Like Arthur Fleck, today's Progressives believe in nothing, they aren't "for" anything, they merely rail against the status quo- whatever it might be. Progressivism is an ideology based on negativism. It is the antithesis of common sense as well as the antithesis of morality and virtue. It's the embodiment of emotionalism- "if it feels good do it." There is no room in the Progressive lexicon for notions of personal responsibility and ethics.
A Marxist variant of these "progressive" ideas became all the rage on American campuses in the sixties and seventies thanks to another German émigré, Herbert Marcuse. By that time, however, the illusion that Marxism and science were joined at the hip was becoming implausible. Eventually, instead of rejecting Marxism or other utopian constructs, science and reason were themselves jettisoned in favor of the unbridled emotions that always lay at the heart of Marx's romanticism.
And herein lies the rub... it doesn't matter in reality how many times you tell a lie- it's still a lie. It all comes down to one simple choice that mankind has ahd to make since the beginning of time- Good or Evil. Will you choose outer-directedness- the willingness to sacrifice, or inner-directedness- myopic selfishness. It doesn't matter how you frame the question, the choices are the same. Virtue signalling vs. moral principles, critical thought and common sense vs. emotionalism, liberty and freedom vs. totalitarian rule.
This goes back to the "original lie" told to Eve by Satan, "you can be as gods." The truth is that you cannot be as gods, but we are capable of thought which the forces of darkness fear more than anything. The main character in The Joker mirrors Godless man- the futile attempt of a man to be his own god with no moral foundation. The lie of the movie is not the injustice shown, but the truth that is not shown. There is no redeeming context, no balance to his brokenness, no light. In short, it is not Joker who is so frightening; it is the world in which he lives, a world with no moral compass, no ray of hope – a world without God. We may be fallen but there is always hope of redemption, except in the broken world of Progressivism.
Because we have free will we are faced every day with decisions in which we can either reflect the image of our Creator or choose our fallen nature. But despite the all too self-evident brokenness of creation, the reality absent in Joker is the existence of real heroes. Men and women who, imperfect as they are, confront evil, willing even to sacrifice their very lives for others... for no man hath greater love than he who lays down his life for another. That is the truth of this universally fallen, diseased world in which we live missed by the movie. There is light. There is hope. For God so loved the world....
There is always hope. In the movie The Kingdom of Heaven there is a monologue that sums this up perfectly...
As Jesus said: "The kingdom of God is within you." All it takes is making the right choice... this is why the forces of evil have attacked our educational system along with the rest of government. Power corrupts, but it also attracts the easily corruptible. Satan is the god of this world, that's why it's up to all of us to learn to think critically and teach our children to make good choices. Redemption is the ability to overcome our fallen nature. Satan and his minions in government and the entertainment industry are fighting desperately to keep us enslaved. Emotions- jealousy, envy, hatred, greed... these are all the works of the evil one. It takes common sense, critical thought and faith to overcome.