The so-called “Culture Concept” destroyed Western Civilization. Now that there is a general recognition that civilization is being systematically destroyed, and there are a list of immediate scapegoats, beginning with, but hardly ending with “Islamic terrorism” it is imperative that the root cause be identified. Actually, in spite of the wolves howling at the door, civilization in a material sense continues to limp along and satisfy the daily needs of the vast majority. But civilization as an idea was long ago subject to barbarous assault, and without the idea of civilization it remains but a matter of time before the material benefits of civilization.
It was the culture concept which eclipsed the civilizational capacity to distinguish good from evil at the societal level. Since this is a weighty claim, I should make it clear what I mean by the “Culture Concept.” First of all, it has to be made crystal clear that human groups have always had different traditions and customs, and human beings have always understood that there were a variety of life ways practiced throughout different ages, climes, and countries. The acknowledgement of what we today call “cultural differences” was not something that suddenly descended from the academic towers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rather, the “culture concept” represents a repackaging and rethinking by academic elites (and subsequently everyone) of how to understand the educationally imparted, non-physical, characteristics of human groups. Previous to the enlightenment the different institutions of the nations were ascribed to the various gods that they worshiped. From the point of view of the new religion of secular humanism which increasingly replaced Christianity in the West from the 18th century onward, an alternative theory had to be devised to account for human institutions and their variability.
Contrary to the vague notions which are conjured up by the word “Humanism” often indistinguishable from humanitarianism, secular humanism is a crypto-religion with its own highly dogmatic and precise doctrines. Perhaps the key figure, if not in the foundation of, at least the buttressing of this doctrine at the theoretical level was the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. The culture concept is essentially thinking about human institutions from a neo-Kantian view.
What do I mean by “thinking about human institutions from a neo-Kantian view.” Negatively, it means bracketing out of all supernaturalitic influences. Positively, it means that human being invent their own institutions, either through a heroic frenzy of Prometian creativity, or through a long period of trial and error. Since there is no standard outside of human minds to judge “culture” it becomes an irriducable primary, and its own justification. Humans promulgate thought forms and decide what is good and evil. What corresponds to the thought forms they have promulgated is good, and what deviates from them is evil.
There are two variants on this post-Kantian theory of the human mind making its own world. One is species wide and one is ethnic. Hegel took up the idea that there was a species wide mind which sorted out all the various categories of existence, it passed through various stages in its evolution, but was not capable of external judgment hence the Hegelian dictum “Whatever is real is rational and whatever is rational is real.”
The ethic theory developed as a neo-Kantian reaction to the species-wide evolutionary mind of the Hegelians. This was the culture concept that we are familar with, in which each ethnic group posits its own collective mental world. Again, since there is nothing outside the human mind, there is nothing that can call each culture to account according to a higher standard. There is no spiritual distinction between civilization verses barbarism which can be invoked. Sure enough, according to a consistent application of this neo-Kantian reasoning, the use of barbarism, and later civilization to describe qualatative differences among the institutions of the nations gradually passed out of use.
One can easily see where this is going. Since there is no higher spiritual criterion by which groups can be judged, and since group conflict, like individual conflict, is inevitable…then a lowest, rather than a higher common denomiator must be invoked. The “culture” of neo-Kantian humanism is only the next to last stop before the final destination. Culture must in the end give place to materialism, and humanism to inhumanism.
So it has gone with the modernist/humanist movement. With God it is differen, for one of the primary characteristics of God is judgement among the nations according to their works… “Jacob I have loved and Essau I have hated.
He is not a relativist.