Friday, November 12, 2004

Antimodernism in America

Check out this article from The New Republic by Brad Carson, the loser in the Oklahoma senate race. He brings up a point that I think we've all been skirting around. The cultural conservatives are not just fighting a culture war--they oppose modern liberal thought in all its forms.

Are we heading into a period where antimodernists are more powerful than anytime in American history? I think the answer in undoubtedly yes. One may argue that these strains of antimodernism have been in rural American culture as far back as the early twentieth century with the Scopes Trial and the popularity of Billy Sunday, and probably much farther than that if you get back into the rural Baptist churches of the South. But it was never the national movement it is today. Antimodernists never held the balance of power in a presidential election, much less have one of their own as President.

What I doubt many of the evangelicals realize is that they are fighting the same war as Al Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalists. This rapidly changing globalized world has made a lot of people insecure--the Taliban, Hindu fundamentalists in India, the Israeli settlers, and American evangelicals, among others. In a sense of a broad worldview, the W-Coburn-DeMint-DeLay-Thune-Santorum-etc supporters have a hell of a lot in common with Osama Bin Laden. They both basically want a religious state where everyone conforms to the same viewpoints and coercive methods to achieve that conformity is accepted. Of course, there is a great deal of difference between Osama and Santorum as well but that's more obvious. What's amazing to me is how far evangelical antimodernism has worked into the mainstream in America.

If you all have any good ideas how to fight against this tide, let me know.