The Tyranny of Casual
Dignity, Formality and Indifference in Modern Culture
“God doesn’t care.”
“Just be yourself.”
“Who am I to judge?”
“It’s just a clump of cells.”
In today’s world, who can engage anyone in conversation, whether young or old, online or offline, and not inevitably hear or read these phrases and others like them? Whether the topic is personal fashion, fitness, sexual habits, gender identity, the arts or even the meaning of life itself, the same attitude is common: casual.
Few beliefs or values are held to be universally true or good for anyone but oneself, except those truths and values propagandized by the popular ideology of the day, and to assert any “opinion” or “preference” as though it is relevant for anyone other than oneself is considered fanatical terrorism leading to violence against those with whom one disagrees. From this devout relativism backed by cultural stigma, academic skepticism and media censorship, nothing may be treated with any real degree of seriousness, formality, or - worst of all - self-sacrificial love.
Since the cultural revolution, or devolution, of the 1960s and 70s, when the hatred of tradition at the heart of Marxism and the so-called Enlightenment became enshrined as the guiding and singular principle of education, the media and government, combined with liberal progressivism, all forms of seriousness have been rebranded into forms of prejudice, oppression and violence. Chivalry is misogyny. Virtue is hypocrisy. Religion is fanaticism. Patriotism is fascism. Beauty is pretention. Philosophy is sophistry. Courtship is sexual repression. Celebration of diversity is racism. The defense of the vulnerable - the sick, the poor, the elderly, the unborn - is superstition, tyranny and patriarchy. Erudition is stodginess, and the liberal arts are “useless degrees.”
In their places, these ancient goods upheld with the seriousness called gravitas by the Romans have been given “politically correct” substitutes: “Equity” for chivalry. Virtue signaling for virtue. Political correctness for religion. Globalism for patriotism. Propaganda for art. Debauchery for courtship. Monocultural uniformity, reverse segregation and affirmative action for diversity. Indifference and government programs for charity. Function for form. Pragmatism and commercialism for craftsmanship. All things are held up to one objective standard: popular fashion. All else is superstitious, old fashioned, fanatical and bigoted.
In the wake of this wave of destruction, crushing the perennial values and prior institutions of mankind passed down through the traditions of world peoples since before written history - religion, marriage, family, duty, honor, self-sacrifice, self-discipline, sagacity, artistry - the modern world, especially the youth, have been left as hollow shells, ships without navigators carried by the winds without direction, lone wolves left prey to whatever predators lurk in the dark. Taught from childhood to be good without goodness, to be rational for no objective reason, that indulging the basest animal desires is honest, free and even humane, the ghosts living a half-life today cannot discern how to even speak to one another, to interact in truly edifying ways and to achieve true freedom and happiness.
Without social standards of behavior, the world of romance has become driven by fear and lust, with each person choosing another based entirely on the slavery of the passions and the practical usefulness of the other, driven either by a sense of one’s own worthlessness and a desperation to be aggrandized and idolized by the other, or a bestial domination or exhaustion of the other for personal gratification. In this wilderness, in which romance is degraded into whim, urge and greed, real relationships are often sacrificed for the “safety” of the internet, where the ability to cancel is always available and the other person can be used for sexual indulgence without any real cost to oneself, requiring no vulnerability, mutual respect or responsibility, and accordingly creating no bond of depth, no personification of love in children and no sanctification by the uplifting of one another to live lives of greater virtue in the hope of ultimate beatitude.
Similarly, without objective standards of value recognized by general society and held as true by individuals, independent of one’s own preferences or popular fashions in society, the protections afforded to the treasures of tradition have been eroded one by one, until now, the human person, the family, the nation and God himself are treated as dispensable commodities to be bought and sold. Unborn children are ripped apart and harvested like refuse, families are broken and corrupted into pitiable disfigurements or mocked with absurd imitations masqueraded as authentic loving relationships, and the body is polluted with junk food, guilted into obesity and ruined by drugs, mutilations and pornographic exploitations.
To accomplish this Great Reset of God’s Creation, the cabal of those who despise the good which is demanding and who have replaced it with the false goods of ease and self-indulgence, as well as those who have been given responsibility to defend the good but who have instead chosen to pacify this cabal by the justifications of sentimental “compassion” or the fear of losing the “brute necessities of life” by speaking out against evil, have used a sophisticated scheme of ideological “reprogramming.” Rather than appealing to common experience or commonsense reasoning, neither of which can support their ideology, they have manipulated and cajoled the education system into believing it is both more moral and more rational (yet without any objective morality or truth) to destroy tradition and embrace the nihilistic progressivism which they offer.
Through secular education, children are indoctrinated to believe they are nothing but sacks of matter floating in a void, subject to whatever urges come to them without any agency of their own and no higher standard by which to guide their decisions, and ultimately destined to dissolve into nothingness at death and thus lose all responsibility and ultimate meaning for their life. This programmatic inculcation of hedonism comes to full fruition in the universities, where lust, indifferent toleration of others and the denial of all higher meaning are insisted to be of greater moral and intellectual value. By following this ideology, one can become a warrior of social justice, building up by tearing down, joining by separating and being oneself by fitting into the popular fashions of the day, all founded upon the undeniable certainty and immutable authority of scientific Truth, as officiated by the infallible Magisterium of professors, psychologists, doctors, celebrities and the media.
The easiest reassurance of the value of this hedonistic and scientistic ideology is, of course, the power of technology. Through the total power of the human will over the material world via scientific devices, in fulfillment of the great endeavor of the Enlightenment, all that humanity was once held up to as things above itself, whether God, natural law or social duties, are now subject to our modification. In the preeminent heresy of Modernism, all things are considered changeable, subjugated to the arbitrary will of the individual or the enforcement of mob rule, and that which is held by fashion today soon becomes outdated or insufficient by the fashions of tomorrow. Those who were considered and once considered themselves to be the most fashionable of all, those who most profoundly kowtowed to the ideology of the day and warred against tradition, quickly realize they must dispose of even the few values they still hold or become relegated to the trash heap of history themselves, affixed with the same labels of bigotry and backwardness with which they once labeled the upholders of tradition.
To remedy this situation and the artificial chaos which it spawns requires two things: a recognition that a remedy is necessary, and a rediscovery of the values of tradition. While this spiritual purgation involves a thorough uprooting of deeply-held and habituated vices and erroneous preconceptions, many of which have become so widely accepted that our consciences are dumbed and our minds blinded to them, the greater difficulty derives from the fear that goods which have been accomplished by those who advocate for nihilistic progress, such as certain technological advancements or cultural expressions, must be discarded, and the misconceptions of many who advocate for tradition but who impose standards which are only particular forms or expressions of tradition rather than the essence of tradition itself. Often, the principles of tradition are necessary to sift through the products of modern times and keep what is good, as well as to discern what expressions of tradition are in accordance with them, but when these principles are not recognized, an impenetrable wall develops which can only be broken through courageous diligence and a humble desire for the truth.
Why does it matter? What is the need for this unlearning of modernistic indoctrination, and will it not only lead back to the problems which the earliest proponents of progress purported to fight against?
The need should be clear to all. As thousands of unborn children are murdered every day around the world, as people overdose on drugs, commit suicide, languish in loneliness and despair, use others for their own gratification, disfigure their own bodies, enforce the absurd as undeniable truth and possess less eternal wisdom than many in history who were illiterate and uneducated, the need to regain these values and to replenish the wellsprings of tradition which have been blighted and depleted by modernity should be obvious to all, and only the inability to break out of one’s sinful habits and the need to be “up-to-date” can blind one to this need.
To break free of the tyranny of casual, we must return to tradition - not to some ideal and idolized vision of the pre-1960s world, ignoring its faults and those who gave rise to the reaction of anti-tradition, but to the values held in common by humanity throughout history and to its elucidation by the wise in accordance with the common sense and conscience of the many. Structures of dignified social interaction must be restored, principles of objective beauty must reinform architectural design and cultural expressions, honor and mutual responsibility must reconstitute the foundation of the family and society, each person must value their bodies, their daily choices and their eternal souls, and true freedom and happiness must be recognized as the possession of the highest good and the liberation of the mind from the coercions of vice and error which enslave the mind, deluding it with grotesque artificialities and a childish rebellion against authority.
Ultimately, human effort can only rise to limited heights by its own power and thus must be raised up beyond itself to higher vistas of certitude and magnanimity by God’s own self-revelation. Thus, once we remove the blinders affixed to our eyes by modern propaganda and acquire an unquenchable thirst for transcendental truth, goodness and beauty, as well as a longing to defend the patrimony which has been kept from us for all our lives by the cabal of progress, we must open ourselves to God, abandoning the fear of the labels of modern society which are contradicted by the saints who have gone before us and by the truth of God himself. Guided by prayer and humility, we can see that tradition is fulfilled by the Tradition given to man in Jesus Christ, that Tradition which alone perfects human tradition and fulfills its eternal desires.