On January 1st fourteen years ago the ball dropped in Times Square and the world sailed forth into not only a new year, but a new century and a new millennium. We’re now well into the glorious 21st century and everything is perfect – so perfect that we no longer need controversies – consensus is the only acceptable stance. We’ve found all the right answers and total sophistication fills our lives with all that is superior.
I get such a kick out of those folks whose response to any traditional, conservative thought is, “But this is the 21st century and things have changed.” And they mean for the better. Really? What exactly has permanently improved over the 20th century? Or, for that matter, over the previous millennia?
Well, we have I-phones – that’s pretty cool. And drones – how fancy is that? Our cars beep at us when we’re about to back into a kid on a trike. We have Google Earth on our computers. We have pumpkin lattés.
But that’s not what the Age of Aquarius contingent means. They mean that we’ve made super-progress in human society and conservatives (especially those pesky Christians) had better not screw it up. They, however strident they may seem, are taking this great leap of faith out of a very rickety plane using a chute full of holes. Their assumptions have no substance and history is now proving that.
The left assumes that human nature is perfectible all on its own, a Darwinian position that supposes a constant up-curve regardless of the social laws of entropy and the terrifying evidence of human behavior. It is true that with the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Christ society seemed to actually advance. We built orphanages and hospitals. We began exploring this amazing world God had created. We worked toward fair and understated governments. That’s taken 2,000 years.
No doubt that progress fooled people into thinking we’d evolved into a better species, but they failed to see the divine influence behind those changes and took credit for them, assuming mankind was shedding its barbaric past. After all, it’s been 478 years since Henry VIII had Ann Boleyn’s head chopped off – we’ve come a long way. Oh. Right. Daniel Pearl. James Foley. Fifteen hundred Iraqi Christians. Oh. Well then.
The fact is that human nature hasn’t changed at all. Barbarism awaits right under the surface. A lust for power still bubbles up – from Putin’s recent assaults on Ukraine to Obama’s “pen and phone”, the megalomaniac in human nature is alive and well. Cruelty abounds – in the magical 21st century a woman can be forced to give birth in shackles, hundreds of young girls can be abducted and sold as sex slaves, a young man can be imprisoned for taking a wrong turn. How is this better?
I once had the amazing experience of being in Times Square for New Years Eve. It was the winter of 98-99, not quite the millennial change, but close enough. I was there with students on the field trip of all field trips, and we watched the ball drop directly across from our Marriot hotel room. Two million people cheered below us and the fireworks exploded in our faces. It was a thrilling experience, but in reality, nothing really changed but the date we wrote in our checkbooks.
And nothing really changed when the ball-drop ushered in the next thousand years. No cosmic shift occurred. The Earth’s magnetic field didn’t reverse. We didn’t wake the next morning with halos encircling our heads. It is pure childish, magical thinking to believe that anything different happened.
Obama milked that naïve belief during the 2008 elections – “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!” The seas would cease rising (not that they ever were), the rich would share their millions and we would all be united. Wave the wand, abracadabra please and thank you and the world was going to be peaceful and fair. Wow.
Of course he didn’t bring up the fact that his Marxist ideas can only work if all us get on board. Buried in this fanciful progressive mindset is the belief that Utopia is worth selling off some freedoms – all freedoms if necessary, so the NSA may need to keep us in line and the school systems will really have to train kids not to think. But that’s OK – it’s the 21st century and things have changed. Most of us didn’t want government health care, but no matter – here it is. Most of us want the borders closed, but that’s not a very 21st century, one-world idea, so that’s not going to happen. Our right to private property, private anything has been sacrificed to the god of Shangri-La.
We chuckle about the naïve idea that World War I was “the war to end all wars,” yet, starting with the 60’s we have indulged in similar fairytale thinking more and more. Tax the rich and poverty will vanish. Be nice and “just get along” – war will be no more. Legalize abortion and rid the world of unwanted children. Ban guns and murder will no longer happen. Elect a black president and racism will vaporize. Poof! I can just see the Disney sparkles floating around us.
The left is also sure that all the old moral rules that went with knowing God are no longer applicable and can be safely left in the past. No need for difficult honesties. No worries about STD’s. No point in troublesome family ties. No necessity for hard work, and nothing to feel guilty about, because nothing is wrong. They operate under the delusion that mankind has arrived safely back in Eden and God is no longer there.
As I watch racism rise to a fever pitch, see the economy teetering on the edge of doom, observe crony “capitalism” enrich the undeserving I take umbrage when I’m told that “this is the 21st century” as if all the wisdom of the past has just ghosted away leaving us to skip around smoking dope and ignoring reality.
Unfortunately reality is a truly obstinate thing; we can’t wish it away. Our nation is dissolving with our borders, our happiness is going the way of our freedom, and our self-respect with our self-discipline. Now, in general, progress is a wonderful thing; I have no desire to live the hard life of my ancestors, but we must snap out of this pretentious pretense that we can just will ourselves, and others, into perfection. In their arrogance progressives have believed they could cut our lifeline and float safely away. The events about to unfold will teach us how wrong they have been.