A Tipping Point in American History: New Forms of Violence
Man thrives when he is loved, and needs love most especially when he is young so that he grows straight up and is not bent over by the burden of neglect. A mature adult grown on love is then capable of giving love in more abundance, 10-fold, 50-fold or a 100-fold. When such a man or woman becomes a father and mother they can now give love and begin the cycle again. As we have seen again and again, those in the intact married family are those most likely to give in abundance, not perfectly but in most abundance.
Therefore, the society of the future that will thrive most is the one with the most children growing up with the most love. Thus the basic model of the thriving society is one that has more along three axes, the two axes of love and the axis of more children. The more society worships, marries and has children the more it thrives — in everything.
The reverse model gives us much less good and much more weaknesses when there is less marriage, less worship and less children.
But with this negative/reverse model we are beginning to see that we get much more than “just less”.
Mary Eberstadt, in her recent critique of emerging patterns of violence across campuses and other places in the US, is getting quite close to Rene Girard’s insights on the role of violence in society, and in starting new civilizations. From the ‘almost-lynching’ of Charles Murray at Middlebury College earlier this year to the many similar incidents which have multiplied since then, she is highlighting an emerging violence new to our society, one that Charles Murray points out is going unpunished. Professor Marsha Kinder of USC seems to suggest we are at a tipping point in saving or losing our society.
Going back to our reverse/negative model it occurs to me that what we are really seeing are the noxious weeds that are growing in the advanced de-Christianized section of America which is now in search of the new idols it needs to make America newly ‘sacred’ in its own terms. In a very Girardian manner campus society (students and professors) is acting-out basic instincts of violence and hatred, testing their new “theology” as they search for victims to be successfully blamed and sacrificed.
Society’s laws, which attempt to contain violence, are undergirded by religious beliefs in turn undergirding the moral code that informs that code of laws. Christianity, over the centuries, not only gradually contained violence but unmasked it through the Crucifixion. In that event the totally Innocent Victim was sacrificed but in so permitting Himself to be murdered overcame and exposed, for all future citizens of the world, the evil nature of violence and in the process made all innocent victims His closest collaborators across time and place.
There is a new rage loose in America that any rational person fears. Should our leaders fail to contain this violence it will likely end in the murder of an innocent victim somewhere. The violent part of America will continue to seek its “evil victim” who, by definition, is innocent in the eyes of Christians, but guilty in the eyes of the haters who marshal a Christianity-based victimology to condemn this ‘culprit’. Cardinal George saw this phase coming some time ago, when he reiterated and republished his lesson a year before his death:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
According to Girard all other cultures got their start with a foundational violent event, the murder of an innocent victim in which all the onlookers partook. If successful in making the victim “guilty” the mob’s hatred is assuaged, and the event becomes sacred to their history.
The ‘reverse/negative model’ fills the vacuum with hatred. Keep an eye on the emerging raw hatreds and violence, the noxious weeds that fill the vacuum created by generations who worship God less and less. This is very new phenomenon in America and the nation’s rescuers will have to be endowed with a special genius.