Deadly Architects: An Interview with Donald De
Marco and Benjamin Wiker, authors of Architects of the Culture of Death
Part 2 | Part 1
IgnatiusInsight.com: Schopenhauer sought to escape Nature,
Nietzsche believed that the Christian God is evil, and Ayn Rand believed
that only a select few will be able to be individuals. Would it be accurate
to say that all of these are variations on ancient gnostic themes? Do
modern atheistic systems reflect a sort of secular gnosticism?
Donald De Marco: I think they do. In the absence of any belief
in God, a passionate person will create a caricature of God. We must give
credit to Schopenhauer,
Nietzsche, and Rand for being both passionate and creative. Unfortunately,
what they worshipped, very much like the gnostics of old, did not transcend
themselves. And this explains a great deal about why these three were
so bitterly unhappy. They were pursuing an illusion, but with great passion
and force. I cannot begin to understand the intensity of their frustrations,
because an illusion offers us not nourishment and leaves our passionate
quest unsatisfied. They were continually disappointed by their own convictions.
It was as if they tried to quench their thirst by consuming more salt.
This is not a formula for peace.
IgnatiusInsight.com: Darwin and Darwinian evolution have been,
of course, very controversial for many decades. What do you think are
the biggest misconceptions and incorrect notions about Darwin and his
beliefs that exist today? How seriously is Darwinian evolution taken today
in the scientific community?
Benjamin Wiker: I think there are two very serious misconceptions
about Darwinism today. First, that Darwinism is a well-established theory,
with no considerable intellectual difficulties. The second, one more directly
related to Architects, concerns the essential moral implications
of Darwinism. Generally, historians and scientists alike have tried to
distance Darwins biology from the eugenics movementan understandable
move, given the ugliness of the eugenic programs of Nazi Germany. If we
read Darwin, however, we find that he himself understood eugenics to be
the obvious inference from his biological theory of evolution through
natural selection. Natural weeds out the unfit; so should we, or at least
keep the unfit from breeding. Further, he also understood quite clearly
that his evolutionary account of morality, which destroyed the permanency
of human nature, provided the most radical moral relativism possible.
As for the scientific community, it generally accepts Darwinism without
question, which means that it generally hasnt studied the theoretical
and evidential problems facing Darwinism. Happily, more and more scientists
have found the courage to look at Darwinism with a clearer, more critical
IgnatiusInsight.com: How did Marx exploit the religious
impulses of his followers and how did he distort Christian doctrine for
his own anti-Christian ends?
De Marco: Marxism is a kind of religion and as such, appeals to
our religious instincts. Marx speaks of paradise (but on earth), total
justice for all (but in the distant future), and doing away with sin (though
the sinners are the capitalists). In this regard, Marx is drawing on people's
religious instincts. But he does not offer a way of love, and therefore,
omits that which is most important to religion. Rather, he appeals to
our weaknesses: our pride, envy, anger, and hope. Marx, who condemned
exploitation, was himself, the great exploiter of people. He appealed
to our pride in telling us that we are not sinners, to our envy for the
riches that others possessed, to our anger against the ruling class, and
to our hope for a Utopia on earth. Marx is a False Messiah who offers
a religion that draws upon our religious impulse, but is poisoned by the
addition of deadly sins.
IgnatiusInsight.com: How is it that people such Margaret Mead,
Margaret Sanger, and Alfred Kinsey, all of whom were sexual deviants and
inveterate liars, continue to enjoy a high level of respect, at least
in popular culture? Is this simply due to lack of knowledge, an unwillingness
to assess the data truthfully, or a purposeful distortion for ideological
Wiker: All of the above! We do find that, for example, Planned
to present the facts about Margaret Sangers private life, and her
truly strange and pernicious views about sexuality and eugenics. The same
goes for Kinsey. His work is always presented by the sex education establishment
as the very epitome of disinterested scientific research. But on the other
end, sad to say, I think a large number of people have come to accept
the same goals that Mead, Sanger, and Kinsey sought to establish, so that
their "ideology" appears inviting rather than distorted.
IgnatiusInsight.com: You note that John Paul II describes Marx,
Nietzsche, and Freud as the "Masters of Suspicion." What does
he mean by that and why did he pinpoint those particular men?
De Marco: John Paul borrows the phrase "Masters of Suspicion"
from Paul Ricoeur, a prominent philosopher at the University of Paris.
We begin to understand the meaning of this simple yet telling phrase when
we realize that Marx, NIetzsche, and Freud depict man in such a way that
that by following their lead, our lives would become self-contradictory.
Freud wanted to free the sexual instinct from the constraints of the super-ego;
Marx urged a revolution against the ruling class so that people could
satisfy their desired for material poassessions; Nietzsche advocated the
emergence of the "superman," too proud to be held back by moral
conventions. Freud appealed to "lust," Marx to "envy,"
Nietzsche to "pride." By following the path of vice, we put
our heart at odds with itself. Therefore, we should be most suspicious
of advice that so utterly untrustworhy in the practical order, since it
leads the heart of man to implode upon itself. There is a striking correlation
between these Masters of Suspicion and the First Letter of St. John (15-16)
which warns against the "lust of the flesh" (Freud), "lust
of the eyes" (Marx), and the "pride of life" (Nietzsche).
IgnatiusInsight.com: Many of the architects of the Culture of
Death were raised in homes where Unitarianism, Episcopalianism, or some
form of Congregationalism was practiced. What influence, if any, did this
religious background have on people such as Darwin, Kinsey, Mead, and
Wiker: For Darwin, his familys Unitarianism certainly helped
to lead him to take more seriously the claims of materialism in general
and evolution in particular. (We note here, that contrary to the popular
account, theories of evolution arose long before Darwinin fact,
we find them in ancient Greek and Roman Epicurean thought. In the first
half of the 19th century, decades before Darwin released his version of
evolution, evolutionary theory was associated with the radical left.)
Interestingly enough, Darwins wife was a more conservative Unitarian,
and feared for her husbands soul all their married life.
Donald De Marco, Ph.D., is a Professor of Philosophy at St. Jerome's
College in Ontario. He is also the author of several books, including
Heart of Virtue.
Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D., is a Lecturer in Science and Theology at
Franciscan University and a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute, focusing
on Intelligent Design. He has contrbuted to various Catholic publications
and writes regularly for Crisis magazine, and is the author of
Moral Darwinism (InterVarsity). Visit him online at www.benjaminwiker.com.
of the Culture of Death
by Donald De Marco and Benjamin Wiker
The Culture of Death has become a popular phrase, and
is much bandied about in academic circles. Yet, for most people, its meaning
remains vague and remote. DeMarco and Wiker have given the Culture of Death
high definition and frightening immediacy. They have exposed its roots by
introducing its architects. In a scholarly, yet reader-friendly
delineation of the mindsets of twenty-three influential thinkers, such as
Ayn Rand, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alfred Kinsey, Margaret
Sanger, Jack Kevorkian, and Peter Singer, they make clear the aberrant thought
and malevolent intentions that have shaped the Culture of Death.
Still, this is not a book without hope. If the Culture of Death rests on
a fragmented view of the person and an eclipse of God, hope for the Culture
of Life rests on an understanding and restoration of the human being
as a person, and the rediscovery of a benevolent God. The Personalism
of John Paul II is an illuminating thread that runs through Architects,
serving as a hopeful antidote.
An action-packed, riveting and educational exposé that reveals
little-known facts that are shocking and incredible. You will not want to
put this book down... Judie Brown, President, American Life