Summary: We live in a time of clashing worldviews. We live in a time of great corruption and uncertainty. We live in a time of great splendor, and beauty, and technological marvels and convenience.
“Never in our country’s history has a generation been so empowered, so wealthy, so privileged—and yet so empty.”
? Ben Shapiro, Porn Generation
We live in a time of clashing worldviews. We live in a time of great corruption and uncertainty. We live in a time of great splendor, and beauty, and technological marvels and convenience. Yet suicide rates are on the rise according to the CDC suicide rates have doubled in the United States when comparing the early 2000s to the late 2000s up to 2014 (source). According to the World Happiness Report in 2007 the United States ranked 3rd in happiness in surveyed countries, and in 2016 we'd dropped to 19th (source).
There is a sense of growing corruption in our times, and of growing polarization in our culture. There are no longer shared beliefs of the past that unite all americans in common heritage and worldview. There are now two chief warring worldviews in the United States, each of which are distinct and unique, with many varying viewpoints, but generally these two worldviews come down to the traditional vs. the progressive.
The traditional would affirm certain core philosophies held, some unknowingly, like the values leading back to ancient Greek and Roman thought, coming from people like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. Married with the ancient Greek philosophy of seeking unity in diversity is of course the religious heritage of Christianity in Protestant and Catholic forms, as well as various forms of Judaism. Prominent foundational thinkers of this worldview would include of course Jesus Christ, Moses, and the church fathers like Augustine, Origen, Justin Martyr, and others. Other foundational thinkers would include people like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Locke (philosopher), Martin Luther (the Reformation), Richard Hooker (founder of conservatism), Ronald Reagan (American president), Margaret Thatcher (British PM), William Rehnquist (Supreme Court Justice), Martin Luther King Jr (famous Minister and civil rights leader) C.S. Lewis (famed Christian apologist), G.K. Chesterton (Christian philosopher), and Malcom Muggeridge (famous British journalist). Current leaders include Victor Davis Hanson (author and speaker), Ravi Zacharias (famed Christian apologist), Mike Lee (Senator), Ted Cruz (Senator), Mark Levin (talk show host), Franklin Graham (Christian leader), David Horowitz (political philosopher), Dennis Prager (orthodox Jew and talk show host), Ben Shapiro (orthodox Jew and political commentator), and Dinesh D'Souza (Catholic apologist and film maker). Baked into these various forms of traditionalism are ideas like objective truth, natural law (God given rights), the concept of absolute truth, individual liberty, religious freedom, free market economics, the right to life, natural marriage, the fallen nature of man, and so on and so forth. Traditional views are often considered the conservative perspective, or the Judaeo-Christian worldview.
Secondly we have the progressive worldview. This worldview is based on various minds going back to people like Charles Darwin (founder of Darwinism), John Maynard Keynes (Keynesian economics), Woodrow Wilson (progressive era), Karl Marx (socialism/communism), Saul Alinsky (community organizing), Herbert Marcuse (Critical Theory) Theodore Roosevelt (progressive era), John Dewey (prominent Darwinist), Sigmund Freud (neurologist), David Hume (famed atheist philosopher), Bertrand Russell (famed atheist philosopher), Malcom X (Muslim minister and human rights activist), Herbert Croly (political philosopher/founder of The New Republic magazine), Friedrich Nietzsche (famed atheist philosopher), and more recently leaders like Barack H. Obama (former president), Van Jones (CNN host), Bernie Sanders (democratic socialist presidential nominee), and Nina Turner (political commentator). Baked into the worldview of progressivism are ideas like the basic goodness of humanity, equality, group rights, critical theory, deconstructionism, advocating for victim groups, social safety nets, welfare, socialism and democratic socialism, government redistribution of wealth, class structures, the evolutionary view of human origins, naturalism, post-modernism, viewing the course of history as a constant progression, and of viewing humanity as always progressing toward the greater good.
This worldview tends to believe that a ruling elite of academics, scientists, rationalists, philosophers, political commentators, and bureaucrats should rule over the society and guide the course of society, through direct democracy, and guided by the larger society's view of what progression toward utopia looks like. This worldview generally believes that very little can be learned from history, and the present must always be remade and reshaped, always evolving toward a better future.
The traditionalist view is quite different of course, believing instead that the present must be guided by the past, by history, and by learning throughout the ages. In general this worldview believes that Judaeo-Christian ethics, the ideas brought forth from the Torah and the Christian Bible form the best foundation for the ideals for a society to live by. Individual liberty is vital, religious liberty is vital, and economic liberty is very important as well. The society is considered a meritocracy where people rise and fall based on how hard they work and how well they put their ideas and values into practice.
Equality is also valued, but not in the same way as in the progressive worldview. Equality is viewed as secondary to liberty in the traditional view, while in the progressive view equality tends to be prime, while liberty is secondary to the progressive worldview.