Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Philosophical Undoing of America and How the Sixties Nearly Undid Me

Woh, Brannon Howse must be doing something right. The vitriol directed against the man could curdle water (google him and follow the links, you'll see).

Brannon Howse is new to me. Discovered him through Jan Markell's site, and she's also new to me. I forget what took me to his site this morning, but was spending some time there glancing over this and that and found this book, Grave Influence, a book I thought I probably really should have.

Of course I often think that about books and don't buy them anyway, mostly because I can't afford them. Right now I have a little extra money though...

Anyway, this book is all about the thinkers of the past he considers to have been major instruments in the making of America's current philosophical debacle, and it's a great list. Most of them I'd put on a list of my own if I made one. Only a few of them I don't know anything or much about, and I might exchange a few for others or at least add some new names, but overall I have to say that just as it stands it's quite a good list. I think I can justify buying it as an essential reference book.

Its subtitle is 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews that Rule America from the Grave
This is it, the one book you need to read if you want to understand the big picture, connect all the dots, and understand current times, and future events and trends that will be unfolding. This ground-breaking book by best-selling author Brannon Howse is the result of thousands of hours of research over many years and is must reading for every teenager and adult.

Brannon reveals how the worldviews of 21 dead people are still influencing every aspect of American life and vying for the hearts and minds of adults and students. Whether we are discussing, law, science, economics, history, family, social issues, education or religion, the people and worldviews seeking to further their agenda in these disciplines are almost always connected back to four major forces. Brannon reveals the connection between occultism/pagan spirituality, the apostate church, the educational establishment and government/corporations.

Through this book you will come to understand the oppositions worldview, heroes, goals, strategies, masking terms, networks and targets. Those who share the worldviews of these 21 enemies of our constitutional republic and Biblical worldview do not want their agenda and its consequences to be revealed to the American people. Above all, they do not want us to equip and train our children and grandchildren with a Biblical worldview by which to recognize, reject, and fight against their seductive and destructive lies. This book will equip you to do just that as Brannon gives specific and pro-active responses you can take to make this the finest hour for the American church.

Here is the list of twenty-one for which Brannon has dug up worldview facts you must know and prepare to oppose:

Saul Alinsky,
Karl Marx,
John Dewey,
John Maynard Keynes,
Aldous Huxley,
Charles Darwin,
Friedrich Nietzsche,
Margaret Sanger,
William James,
Alice Bailey,
Helen Schucman,
Sigmund Freud,
Alfred Kinsey,
Benjamin Bloom,
B.F. Skinner,
The Frankfurt School,
Soren Kierkegaard,
Julius Wellhausen,
Christopher Columbus Langdell,
Betty Friedan and
Roger Baldwin

Topics covered include:

Corporate fascism, sustainable development, the Third Way, global governance, dialectic process, the Delphi technique, the Cloward-Piven Strategy and deliberate chaos, community organizing, Fabian socialism, the federal reserve and a fiat currency, America's decline is Europe's gain, cultural Marxism, government mandated youth service, legal positivism, postmodernism, soft-despotism, higher-criticism, pagan spirituality, feminism, welfare-state capitalism, the false-dominate church, the Emergent Church, the spiritual battle for America, the United Nations and occultism, unmasking the one-world religion, the deconstructionists in the culture and in the church, psychological labeling of dissenters, behavior modification, a planned economy, the assault on parental authority, the two tracks to globalism, Keynesian economics, collectivism, similarities between America and Nazi Germany, national leaders are a reflection of the people, social justice, why the culture war is lost if the church goes weak, is God judging America?, When and why does God judge a nation?, the environmentalist/globalist connection, cultural revolution/sexual revolution, the right to die becomes the duty to die, the true purpose of the law, why the State wants the children, are we all God's children? And much, much more.
Saul Alinsky, Karl Marx, John Dewey, John Maynard Keynes, Aldous Huxley, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Margaret Sanger, William James, Alice Bailey, Helen Schucman, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Kinsey, Benjamin Bloom, B.F. Skinner, The Frankfurt School, Soren Kierkegaard, Julius Wellhausen, Christopher Columbus Langdell, Betty Friedan and Roger Baldwin

I first got wind of the Frankfurt School's destructive influence perhaps fifteen years ago, found out how their influence was very big -- pervasive -- and very destructive. Their ideas were part of the air you breathed in a college town in the sixties but at that time I hadn't known the source of those ideas, which are considered to be the underpinnings of Political Correctness. I followed reading up on them with some reading up on Roger Baldwin who founded the ACLU, then John Dewey. I already knew Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Sanger and Freud had made influential undesirable input. I still don't know much economic theory, so Keynes isn't on my own list yet. I didn't know Huxley or Alice Bailey had any particular influence on the culture, or B.F. Skinner, much as I despised his thinking back when it was big. Betty Friedan got her licks in for sure but I never thought of her as a big mover and shaker. So I guess I'll learn a few things from this book -- or disagree on a few things, probably both. In any case such a book is needed.

Funny, I already knew I wanted off this planet by the end of the sixties, when I was still a child of that generation and had no critical perspective to speak of on any of it, no coherent critical perspective anyway though the whole thing had disturbed me in some deep all-embracing way. I'd been part of it up to a point but profoundly alienated from it at the same time. It's hard to be coherent about it now because it wasn't clear in my mind then, but the feeling of distress it engendered in me returns when I think about it at all. In fact, thinking about it now I wonder how I remained at all sane through it.

The sixties is when it all started coming together for the sea change we've been living in ever since. There was something brewing I hated, the philosophical and political atmosphere was poison, but I didn't have any clear names for it then. There was no way to talk about it really either, except to describe the brooding gloomy feelings and the inchoate sense of being at odds with a nightmare world, because instead of gaining coherence by the talking it would be turned into a personal problem of your own, the focus would shift away from the real problem of a world gone loony onto your own problems of adjustment.

I wasn't a Christian until much later, and then Oh eternal gratitude to Thee, Lord, the sun of Reality and Truth broke through. (It just occurred to me now that one reason I never had a strong sense of myself as a sinner saved by grace is that I had SUCH a strong sense of having been saved from this poisonous world. Oh I know I'm a sinner and salvation is from my sins but that other salvation is probably going to dominate me until I see the Lord).

Back in those days B.F. Skinner might have been the only one I could have pointed to as the purveyer of a poisonous doctrine and I hated his stuff with a passion. One thing I knew I knew was that human beings aren't animals or automatons who get "conditioned" mechanistically and unconsciously -- or "programmed" to use probably the more current metaphor.

I didn't like a lot of what Freud had said either but wasn't able to criticize him clearly. I thought evolution was true, had read Darwin, accepted it but did have questions about how to prove his stuff that came up from time to time. I read Friedan but thought most feminism was silly. Not so much pernicious as just addlebrained -- because the earlier feminists HAD won the major battles. Some of the new feminists were deadly serious and even scary. (To be fair, I do think that although by the 60s the major injustices that had provoked the first wave of feminists had been overcome, there still was a patronizing belittling attitude toward women that did rankle and still needed to be dealt with, but nothing that could justify the Marxism-based rhetoric and results of the movement that followed).

It was all quite depressing to me, that decade where we were all supposed to be happy flower children. I wonder if I'm the only one who experienced it as I did, with that inarticulate alienation. It seems that either you hated it and knew why or loved it and knew why. I hated it but in some sense didn't know it, just "went with the flow" at least outwardly, or to the extent I did know it I struggled to understand why. It was hard to get a grip on it at least partly because I was surrounded by people who thought we were living through this wonderful change for the better. All the old musty morals and values were being challenged and brought down, you see, and a new dawn of humanistic possibilities was emerging right before our eyes. I assume everyone on that list of Brannon Howse's contributed to this wondrous new formulation of human potential in one way or another, it's the point of his book. (Just the term "human potential" brings many more names flooding to mind but I'll leave that for another pondering.)

I'm not sure I'd have done a lot better among people who hated the time and knew why, though, because I don't think they'd have had the right terms for what was really bothering me about it. (I now realize that must be because for them the problem was predominantly political, while for me it was philosophical. Their heirs are today's patriotic right-wing conservatives and I DO identify with them up to a point, those of my own generation particularly, but if they managed to live their lives without being unraveled by the sixties, even pleasantly engaged during that time, there's a limit on how far we can go together).

Anyway, what was bothering me about it: The attacks on America were part of it, the accusation of "American imperialism" from the left wing activists, but just a small part of it. It seemed to me that rationality had deserted the nation, at least it had deserted my generation. That much I did have clear in my mind. And the seventies were even worse, the pits, the dregs, as then there came sweeping in to fill up the holes that had been blown in Rationality the most irrational collection of babbling idiocies, the eastern religions and their Americanized offshoots.

I'm still incoherent about all this. It's still a blurry gray fog of experience I once had. I'm saved from it, it's safely Out There now, and from a Christian perspective it is possible to look at bits of it with some objectivity, a huge relief from the unnerving sense that everything was just going to go on chaotically and meaninglessly forever after. In a sense there is no longer a need to understand it even if I could, for my own personal wellbeing anyway, but I would still like to be able to get a better grip on it than I've had.

It's all about ideas, the ideas that were in the air, that have now come to define today's philosophical environment. The Zeitgeist of today. Can people still be saved from it?

So I want to read this book for what it may offer of further understanding of all that.