On the one hand, self-styled Conservatives fear and anticipate a New World Order. In their vaguely Christian forebodings, they are considering a kind of social and economic apocalypse in which “Socialism” and “Globalism” and “secularism” take over our country and submerge its (vaguely Christian) ethic into something terrible, a Hitler-like state of compulsion and fear. A few anticipate that this state of thing, along with other Apocalyptic “signs,” is heralding the end of the world, and the salvation of the saved.
On the other hand, I see a new world order, but it is not only unlike that one, but diametrically opposite. Let me start inductively with some facets of change in the broader world.
On a practical, daily level, I see people creating names for their children instead of using Saints’ names or relatives’ names. Mikayla and Conner (female) and Cara and Taelor and Zoe (with a mark, not an accent nor apostrophe, at the end of her name)–these currently populate my classroom.
I see people interacting across vast reaches of our globe–I can talk virtually for free with friends in England or California; I can know what the Vatican says on an issue instantly. A misstatement by a politician is repeated a zillion times. We are slamming our minds into a wall of information, for better or worse.
I see ancient virtues of obedience, pride and loyalty becoming opposite in value. Obedience is neutral; for some it is a sin, and for others, such as some Catholics, or some cult figures, it is the only virtue worth having. Pride, once a “capital sin” is now a virtue to be achieved as “self-esteem” throughout childhood. Loyalty is to be found by many people as far more important emotionally and intellectually than truth, growth or, yes, maturity. Loyalty to sports teams or political parties gives meaning to life for some.
These are but signs, like sawhorses or flickering lights along the road. They point to a different future–not better than this one, nor worse, but differing from the past significantly. A whole new and, I suspect, global culture is forming. Our understanding of meaningful truth, of virtuous living (such as sketched by Aristotle and Plato), and of faith in the unseen–these are all shifting away from the past, for better or worse.