Chapter 11


Our Society

As the more Christian-dominated consensus weakened, the majority of people adopted two impoverished values: personal peace and affluence.
  • As the more Christian-dominated consensus weakened, the majority of people adopted two impoverished values: personal peace and affluence.
    • Personal peace: just to be let alone, not to be troubled by the troubles of other people, whether across the world or across the city–to live one’s life with minimal possibilities of being personally disturbed. Personal peace means wanting to have my personal life pattern undisturbed in my lifetime, regardless of what the result will be in the lifetimes of my children and grandchildren.
    • Affluence: means an overwhelming and ever-increasing prosperity–a life made up of things, things, and more things–a success judged by an ever-higher level of material abundance.
  • The work ethic, which had meaning within the Christian framework, now became ugly as the Christian base was removed. Work became an end in itself–with no reason to work and no values to determine what to do with the products of one’s work.
  • Because the only hope of meaning had been placed in the area of non-reason, drugs were brought into the picture. Following Aldous Huxley’s ideas, many students now approached drug taking as an ideology, and some, as a religion.
  • The utopian dream of the turned-on world was that if enough people were on drugs, the problems of modern civilization would be solved.
  • In the late sixties the ideological hopes based on drug taking died. As the sixties drew to a close and the seventies began, probably more people were taking some form of drug, and at an ever-younger age. But taking drugs was no longer an ideology. That was finished. Drugs simply became the escape which they had been traditionally in many places in the past.
  • After the passing of the false hopes of drugs as an ideology and the fading of the New Left, what remained? Only apathy was left. In the United States, by the beginning of the seventies, apathy was almost complete. In contrast to the political activitists of the sixties, not many of the young even went to the polls to vote, even though the national voting age was lowered to eighteen. Hope was gone.
  • In some places the Marxist-Leninist line or the Maoist line took over. But Marxist-Leninism is another leap into the area of non-reason–as idealistic as drug taking was in its early days.
  • “Dwell on the past and you’ll lose an eye” they say. Solzhenytsin adds, “But the proverb goes on to say: “Forget the past and you’ll lose both eyes.
  • Solzhenitsyn concludes about Russia, “Young people are acquiring the conviction that foul deeds are never punished on earth, that they always bring prosperity.” He then adds, “It is going to be uncomfortable, horrible, to live in such a country!” And this is the case not only in Russia but wherever communism has attained power. China probably has less internal freedom than Russia.
Cover Photo: US Dollar Bank Notes
This post contains quoted and paraphrased passages of How Should We Then Live? by Francis A. Schaeffer. 50th L’Abri Anniversary Edition, © 2005 by Crossway Books.

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