Curtis Dahlgren
November 14, 2007
The social engineers: Brilliant people or just "primordial pond scum"?
By Curtis Dahlgren

"You wondered whether . . the worst enemies of civilization might not prove to be its petted intellectuals who attack it at its weakest moments attacked it in the name of reason and in the name of irrationality . . in the name of sex, in the name of perfect and instant freedom." Saul Bellow, "Mr. Sammler's Planet" (quoted by Chas. Sykes)

THIS COLUMN WILL PROVIDE GRIST AND CUD MATERIAL NOT FOUND THESE DAYS IN ANY OTHER. President Reagan said, "We are a nation that has a government not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth . . If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here in this land we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before."


Reagan also said, "We've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?" [quoted by John Marini, Imprimis March 2007, ]

Paradoxically, the "perfect and instant sexual freedom" promoted by our 65-year-old hippies has led to more and more government and less and less real individual freedom. The Great Society can now be officially declared a FLOP. The "establishment" educators and media try to distract us with talk about a "hockey-stick graph" regarding greenhouse gases and global warming (an urban legend, by the way).


William Bennett called this graph the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators. In really obvious "hockey-stick" fashion, our statistics for divorce, illegitimacy, crime, and school dropoutism have gone through the roof, so to speak. The 1800s may not have been Utopian, but as Thomas Sowell says, at least the people who engaged in Wild West shootouts or lynch mobs "spared us the pretense that they were upholding the Constitution." [Newsmax magazine, February 04]

Did you ever stop to think we now have more murders in one year in the United States than during all the years of the "Wild, Wild West"? The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, has been averaging more than one murder per day this year, not to mention DC or the rest of our urban centers shining on a hill. These are the fruits of Woodstock and Berkeley and our popular culture. Because there are laws of cause and effect, including the Law of Unintended Consequences. The decline and fall of a nation don't happen over night, you know.*


In the 1830s and forties, America witnessed a sort of Second Great Awakening. The churches brought the festering sore of slavery to the attention of the general population. The elite political class, of course, desperately tried to side-step the issue by occasionally throwing a bone to the abolitionists while banning anti-slavery materials from the U.S. mails (the Gag Rules of 1835-44, with the approval of the Whig party).

In 1852, the Whigs nominated a military hero, General Winfield Scott, who was thought to be "electable." Alas, the results were not as anticipated: two Democrat Presidents, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, the latter being a disaster (he supported the pro-slavery "special interests" and couldn't figure out what the big deal was about the new Republican party movement). The Whigs had long since whithered on the vine.

Following the Civil War and many years of domination by the Republicans, the country's zeal began to turn to apathy again. Here are a few lines from the 1992 book by Charles Sykes, "A Nation of Victims":

"As the mainline churches fell into decline [in the late 1800s], there was an upsurge in spiritualism . . and New Thought [Darwinism/Utopianism]. . . By the time Freudianism first arrived here, Americans were already well-disposed to listen; the groundwork had been thoroughly laid . . Social Darwinism and the rise of an insatiable consumer society a culture of expectations and entitlements were the flotsam and jetsam of the triumph of science over faith . . .

"The results were not what the prophets of liberation had envisioned . . Instead of being freed from the oppressive bonds of the past, [man] found himself alone in a world without mooring, norms, sense of direction, or purpose."


"Filling the vacuum created by the decline of institutional faith and the collapse of the moral order it has provoked, psychoanalysis has assumed many of the functions traditionally performed by religion . . Freud himself set the tone for the assault on faith.

"He regarded religion in all its forms as an illusion and therefore recast it as a form of neurosis . . an instance of mental disorder of madness."

Sykes wrote that this New Establishment didn't need to debate the strictures of family identity or religious faith or sexual morality when they could simply be dismissed as products of the 'authoritarian syndrome. An unsophisticated . . or backward-looking populace hardly needed to be argued with when it could be "cured"!

"By identifying the 'liberal personality' as the antithesis of the authoritarian personality, [the Intelligentsia] equated mental health with an approved political position." T.W. Adorno in "The Authoritarian Personality" (1950)

In a current column by Mike Heath, "The Sexual Revolution Costs Us Much" (November 11, 2007) Heath says:

"The unrelenting campaign to loosen sexual morals derives its name from a book written by Wilhelm Reich in 1929, which was entitled, appropriately enough, 'The Sexual Revolution.' The original title was 'Sexuality in the Culture War.'

"In the book, Wilhelm Reich a disciple of Sigmund Freud set forth his program for radicalizing society by undermining sexual morality. Central to the thinking of Reich was the idea that conservative political views have their origin in the repression of sexuality in the child by an authoritarian father. With time, the conservative ideology becomes incorporated in the character of the child. Character, for Reich, was a bad thing.

"To change an individual's political viewpoint from conservatism to liberalism, the character of the individual must be altered or destroyed through sexual liberation.

According to Reich, the path to a better world lies through the loosening of sexual morality in others words, a sexual revolution. "

The perfect epitome of this old, old game is the news report that a public school board in Maine voted to offer free birth control (behind the backs of parents) to 11-year-old girls! Charlie Sykes wrote a column in which he suggested that if you know an older male who is having sex with an 11-year-old girl, call 9-11 and her parents, not the school nurse, because a crime is being commited. Freudian political correctness has now reached the point at which it is "appropriate" for a fifth grader can be used as a Kleenex, as long as the couple doesn't light up a cigarette afterwards!

The Woodstock party-goers saw themselves as pioneering something brand new, just like the philosophers in ancient Athens, and the "free love" Nihilists in 1860s Russia. But there's "nothing new" under the sun.

*P.S. That reminds me; some otherwise fine conservatives in the "culture wars" don't want to have anything to do with the Intelligent Design/Creationist battle with those same liberals (even though Darwinism is the "rock-bed" foundation for all modern forms of liberalism). Theisitic evolutionists and/or commentators lacking the courage to touch the subject with a ten-foot pole need to review the history of our Western Civilization. Here's the "good stuff":

"Many today assume Darwin was the originator of the idea of evolution, but the concept had actually been around as early as Greek times [and] . . Charles was familiar with his grandfather's writings on evolution." [The Good News magazine, July-Aug. 07]

The Darwin family was actually quite a strange one. The Good News reminded me that "ironically, some might say Darwin was a victim of his own theory of natural selection because of the genetic dangers of inbreeding.

"In 1839, he married Emma, his first cousin. Both families had intermarried through first cousins for some time . . . [talk about Rednecks!] Twenty-six children were born from these first-cousin marriages; 19 were sterile and five died prematurely, including Darwin's daughter and first son. Many suffered from mental retardation or other hereditary illnesses, as was the case with his last son. All these effects engendered great hostility toward the idea of a personal, intervening God." [see also, "Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist" (1992) by Adrian Desmond and James Moore]

As for Grampa Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1910) says:

"The fame of Erasmus Darwin as a poet rests upon his Botanic Garden, though he also wrote The Temple of Nature, or the Origin of Society . . and The Shrine of Nature.

"The Botanic Garden . .
is a long poem . . The artificial character of the diction renders it in emotional passages stilted and even absurd . . Gnomes, sylphs and nereides are introduced on almost every page, and personification is carried to an extraordinary excess. Thus he describes the Loves of the Plants according to the Linnaean system by means of a most ingenious but misplaced and amusing personification of each plant, and often even of the parts of the plant . . . [if you get the picture]

"In 1799 Darwin published his Phytologia, or the Philosophy of Agriculture and Gardening, in which he states his opinion that plants have sensation and volition."

POINT IS: The Darwin family's opinion was that plants have "will" but their Designer and Creator do not ("they worship the creation more than the Creator," as Romans 1 puts it). As old Erasmus wrote in Zoonomia (1896):

"Would it be too bold to imagine that, in the great length of time since the earth began to exist, perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind, -would it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament . . with the power of acquiring new parts . . thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down these improvements by generation to its posterity, world without end."

Yes, "imagine." Erasmus Darwin was a contemporary of Thomas Jefferson, et al, and our Founders were voracious readers, and so had "heard it all" about the old Greek fables being recycled in merry old England in the 18th century. Charles Darwin, the grandson, was a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, the two having been born on the same day in 1809 (the irony and paradoxes get thicker and thicker, the more you study Darwinism).

The Good News writes: "As he mused over evolution, then called transmutation, Darwin started to question the need for a Creator God. He began to write some secret notebooks on the subject, afraid to divulge his radical ideas. For a country gentleman with a Christian wife and many Christian friends, he wanted to keep his heretical thoughts to himself."

In this, Charles was not unlike some males today who feign affection for radical feminism in order to continue enjoying the "perks" of heterosexuality. But Darwin's hunger for attention and "relevance" eventually won out over his reluctance. The rest is history, as they say, but he owed a lot of his fame to the quirky quality of Anglo-Saxons for loving "Celebrity Culture."

Charles Darwin was the Britney Spears (B.S.) of his day, propelled to fame by the insatiable appetite of human nature for "something NEW" and "cool chic." By the mid-19th century when he wrote, the "cultural evolution" had gotten to the point where a William Shakespeare probably couldn't have even gotten his name into his local paper's obituary column without an agent! The Times they were a'changin'!

PPS: Please do not mischaracterize this column as "anti-intellectual." The culture war is not a matter of "you and me against the intellectuals"; it's our intellectuals against their "intellectuals"! And, I'd like to recommend still more reading material:

1) A book: "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism" by Michael Behe

2) A website: [quotations of Nobel Prize winning scientists who believe in God]

3) One example: "The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you." Werner Heisenberg (from Does God Exist, Sept/Oct 07)

4) One speech: The address by French President Sarkozy to a joint session of Congress (as reported by ): "To the millions of men and women who came from every country of the world and who with their own hands, their intelligence, and their hearts built the greatest nation in the world, America did not say, 'Come, and everything will be given to you.' Rather, she said, 'Come, and the only limits to what you will be able to achieve will be those of your own courage, your boldness, and your talent.'"

5) One article: "Movin' On Up" by the Wall Street Journal (again, reported by Rush) re "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer" -

"In John Edwards' two Americas, which America had the greatest percentage change in income? Don't bet the farm on the richest. You'd be wrong. It's the poorest. The lowest quintile, the liberals' losers in the lottery of life, the lowest one-fifth of earners, their median income over the last ten years increased by 90%. Well, how about the highest fifth, the quintile with the Clintons in it and me? It went up by 10%. Percentage income, 10% increase over the last ten years in the highest quintile. Lowest quintile, 90% increase over the last ten years. Now, are you surprised about this? Some of you probably are, because if you read the Drive-By newspapers, you're shocked."

© Curtis Dahlgren

Comments feature added August 14, 2011

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in the frozen tundra of Michigan's U.P., and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


Receive future articles by Curtis Dahlgren: Click here

Latest articles

June 20, 2012
YOUR ENGLISH HERITAGE (whether you like it or not)

June 13, 2012
re "NATURAL" resources: An open letter on mining (part 1)

June 10, 2012
WALKER, TAXES RANGER, new marshall in Madison [a classic "best of"]

May 27, 2012
How is Lady Gaga playing in Indonesia? [plus some other dumb questions]

May 19, 2012
More on scamming God's green earth; an open letter on the hoax

May 13, 2012
From the ridiculous (Monday) to the sublime (Tues) to the ridiculous (Wed.)

May 1, 2012
Why would ANYONE live in the U.P.?; a change of pace (part 2)

April 26, 2012
Freedom's tipping points (a must-read); thoughts on the GSA, the NBA, and the BSA, too

April 13, 2012
Bad "social science" (fiction) = MAD "political science fiction" (consequences)

April 8, 2012
"SEASONAL" greetings (plus more amazing energy facts, part IV)

More articles


Alan Keyes
Update re Romney's refusal to renounce Obama's abusive executive order

Fred Hutchison
Faith and atheism in politics: The great divide

Alan Caruba
What just happened to the rule of law?

Lloyd Marcus
Supreme Court ruling: rebirth of tea party

Kevin Fobbs
Obama's tax lies brought communism to America's door

Kevin Fobbs
Obama's tax lies brought communism to America's door

Louie Verrecchio
Patron saints of the Constitution?

James Lambert
Musician from '60s rock group Love has dramatic encounter with God
  More columns


Michael Ramirez


RSS feeds



Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
J. Matt Barber
Michael M. Bates
Bill Borst
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites