There are many explanations for President Obama’s popularity: his personal charisma, demographics, Republican bungling and dependency on government. Yet rarely is culture invoked as the reason why so many Americans have embraced his agenda.
To many, talk about culture evokes classical art and music, and often prompts blank stares, but if we define culture as the predominant beliefs and behavior of a society, what can be said about 21st century American culture?
Few believe that culture really matters in a society where millions of voices are competing for attention and notoriety, but America has embraced a predominant culture: relativism, the belief that I decide what is right or wrong, true or false, that there is nothing that is objectively right or wrong, true or false.
Relativism has become America’s national “religion.” In recent decades, Americans have adopted this attitude because it allows them to indulge their passions and ambitions guilt-free, or because they have been brainwashed into believing that adopting this attitude is a mark of sophistication. While many Democrats have embraced the ideal of a welfare state, many libertarian Republicans have embraced the competing ideal of the autonomous man. Neither acknowledges an authority higher than the state or the individual in matters of right and wrong, truth and falsehood.
There is much talk about our freedom to choose, but we rarely hear that we can’t choose the consequences of our choices. When relativism is adopted by a society, it does not produce beauty, but coarseness…