The Atheism of the West
Augusto del Noce (1910-89) is among the least well known of the brilliant political philosophers of the twentieth century. …Del Noce developed a series of insights into the developing culture of the West beginning in the 1960s that still have not been broadly appropriated.
Atheism: The core of modern Western culture in the thought of Augusto del Noce, by Dr. Thomas R. Rourke
Dr. Rourke examines how the West, at the same time, both won the Cold War and lost it. He notes that by the time the Cold War ended, “the West was already riddled with a culture in a profound state of decay.” This, combined with a spiritual malaise, would lead to irrationality on all sides and moral bankruptcy.
Surely the utter collapse of the Christian West in the matter of a generation requires a more compelling explanation than what is generally given.
And it is through Del Noce’s work that Rourke examines this. He begins by offering that Del Noce does not abide by the simplification that Marxism won or lost in the Cold War:
If Marxism won, then why did it collapse in its central stronghold, and why is it today equally passé in its second stronghold: China. And if Marxism won, how could we possibly explain the Western economy which is far more dominated by big corporations and finance capital than the world of 1960 could have even imagined?
If it lost, who undid the Christian West, with the almost complete negation of metaphysics and religion in the academy? The answers will not be found in a superficial framework of liberalism vs. conservatism.
This corresponds with my view that the situation in the west today is not described in the traditional left-right framework. A look at the conversation will find many on both the left and right in search for a metaphysical understanding, while, at the same time, there are many others on both the left and right who despise such thoughts.
Del Noce underlines that the bourgeoisie historically had two enemies to cope with: one was Marxism, but the other was the Catholic Church, which insisted on an immutable morality.
And here, it starts to get interesting. The bourgeoisie in the West didn’t want Marx’s Marxism; they wanted to amass their wealth and increase control throughout. But the Catholic Church (and I will add, more broadly, all Christian institutions that stood on a transcendent morality) stood in the way of their progress. It is much easier to amass wealth and control if you are at the same time the one who gets to decide the rules.
So, what we ended up with was a Marxist victory, having unleashed relativism and materialism, combined with a Marxist defeat of leaving the bourgeoise intact. More precisely, it was a victory of one kind of atheism in the West over a different kind of atheism in the East. Del Noce offers that the Western atheism was a combination of a sexual revolution and ever-advancing consumer products and technology.
What emerged in the West was not the victory of liberty or democracy (as interpreted ad nauseum by contemporary media), but rather a “new totalitarianism,” along with a new atheism, in a sense more pernicious than those served up by the older atheistic totalitarianism in the East.
Big deal…we get to vote (well, we see what that’s worth). Del Noce wouldn’t define totalitarianism via the presence or absence of a ballot box, but in the curtailing of rationality and the ultimate denial of reason.
If there is no transcendent, immutable truth that our reason has access to, then there is no immutable ethics determined by
Article from LewRockwell