On Traditional Values and Weathering the COVID-19 Storm

March 24, 2020 Updated: March 26, 2020
FONT BFONT SText size

Commentary

The COVID-19 pandemic is at our doorstep, an unwelcome intruder sweeping through our collective, comfortable assumptions about the world as we know it, ready to throw it into turmoil

A great social experiment is underway, a collective reorganizing of our basic assumptions about the world and our place in it. There could be desperate times ahead that will test the philosophical underpinnings of our society.

Life, of course, is bound to bring suffering every now and then, but with the proper value set, existential crises become the catalysts that further propel us towards greater things. This taste of the unimaginable should give us pause to examine whether our value and belief structures are intact enough to withstand an abrupt change to the quality of our lives.

The democratic civilization of the West owes its success to the Judeo-Christian ethic that formed its roots. America, with its founding principles, embodied these ethics to great success, invigorating the industrious, pioneering spirit of great women and men. Canada was cut from the same cloth. Centuries of ingenuity, stoicism, and character-driven action transformed the West into the great civilization we enjoy today.

A silver lining to the pandemic sweeping the world is that societies and individuals will need to re-evaluate their previously held assumptions born of comfort and malaise. The stillness of quarantined isolation offers an opportunity to reflect upon our more divine natures and contemplate whether we have been led too far astray by the lure of the modern world. This mandatory segregation from the hedonistic temptations of our age provides fertile ground for the awakening of the sacred and sublime. Our spirits are being tested en masse and many will find that there is no panacea like a foundation of faith to withstand the immense trials of life.

Postmodern Ideologies

But we are not immune to the influence of ideologies that threaten to erode this traditional foundation.

An undercurrent of discontent has gradually permeated Western society over the past decades, slowly eroding its confidence and vigour. In place of gratitude for our collective good fortune, a number of postmodern social movements took root that have, at their core, a quiet but pernicious disdain for the foundations of Western society.

Cloaked in many colours, these movements proved to be contagious within universities, media, politics, and the populace in general. Identity politics and political correctness created cages and confines around people’s ability to speak, while social media constructed invisible prison walls around information and freedom of thought. Unexpectedly, the West found itself living under an imperceptible illusion of freedom.

Students of history can look to both Soviet Russia and Communist China for the roots of this postmodernist thought policing. Less than a century ago these communist ideologies resulted in mass casualties, shocking in their breadth. Under possession of this ruinous ideology, man demonstrated very clearly his capacity for brutality. In Russia, China, and Cambodia, for example, unthinkable atrocities were committed by ordinary, everyday citizens caught up in fear and fervour, rendering them devoid of any sense of morality or respect for human life.

It’s a defining characteristic of postmodern Marxist movements that their sole aim is to tear down the structure of society and destroy tradition. They have no prescriptions for the enrichment of industry, they offer no solutions, exhibit no desire for cooperation, and heed no call to higher action, having abdicated any responsibility to move humankind forward.

Those who embrace these doctrines—knowingly or unknowingly—will find that they are without a solid foundation to sustain them through a crisis like the one before us. Marxism at its core is devoid of the human spirit, arrogant in its superiority, and petty in its tactics.

There are far better roads to take to weather the storm.

Sacrifice and Greatness

Societal cohesion in times of strife depends on a solid foundation of time-tested values and virtuous principles of which the Marxist postmodern school of thought is thoroughly devoid.

The Marxist philosophy of struggle capitalizes on tragedy for selfish ends while mankind’s enduring traditions spur humanity to sacrifice and greatness. The belief in the divine and faith in virtue are proven, powerful remedies for the woes of the world. Their value must not be underestimated for they offer a true countermeasure to the strife and turmoil we may face in these pandemic-stricken times.

For centuries, these principles have enabled people to persevere with hope and purpose through the darkest of times. They are the bedrock that has built greatness and encouraged the fragile human spirit to become more than itself.

We will all be struggling toward the light throughout this ordeal and in need of belief systems that acknowledge the inevitable existence of suffering while offering a path to its transcendence.

We could start by taking an honest look at the profound limitations of postmodern ideologies and turning away from them. Embracing the traditions and great moral teachings that have guided societies for hundreds of years will not only foster our better nature but give us a reliable antidote to uncertainty and despair.

Ryan Moffatt is a journalist based in Vancouver.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.