We are taught that the social change called the Enlightenment, from roughly around 1600 to the early 1800’s, was the product of European society abandoning superstition for reason and science. That this was shown by the overthrow or weakening of the aristocracy, the abandonment of Catholicism for Protestant Christianity, the strengthening of democratic and legal institutions, and the establishment of an international trade and diplomatic system.
But is this really true? The new way was different, but not necessarily better for most people. As David Goldman/Spengler recently pointed out, globalization has always destroyed societies. Having most things decided by judges or lawyers rather than noblemen holding court isn’t much of an improvement- the idiocy of the English legal system was well parodied by Charles Dickens in “Bleak House”. Being able to pacify the masses with imported grain and sugar only holds off the inevitable for so long, as we see in Egypt.
The “Enlightenment” was really the shift in power and cultural values from the aristocratic military elite to that of bankers and merchants. Its supposed greatest accomplishment- science- was not a product of Calvinist businessmen, but Anglican gentry with curiosity and time on their hands. Its primary accomplishments- “democracy”, “human rights” and “equality” are all bogus on their faces, and in any case highly conditional to suit the case at hand.
People, especially conservatives, and even many alt-righters, need to get the idea out of their heads that there is any such thing as “the Constitution” or “the rule of law”.