MacDougald on “Fascists and Revolutionaries”

Over at American Affairs, millennial Park MacDougald has a very well-written piece titled “Fascists and Revolutionaries”:

Millennials, in short, encounter a world in which our culture’s mythologies are crumbling. The most dynamic political forces on both the left and the right today are those that can offer substitutes, connecting believers with creation myths, accounts of the origin of evil, and doctrines of salvation. They answer the permanent questions: What is good? How should we act and why? The great mid-century scholar of religion Mircea Eliade wrote in The Sacred and the Profane that, for religious man, the first step in inhabiting a world was discovering a sacred center that would bring coherence and definition to the chaos of homogeneous space, rendering the world not only legible but purposeful. The problem was to find an orientation in order to act…

What can break us out of that trap? For Eliade, the revelation capable of orienting us in space was a discovery of something pre-existing, not an invention. “Men are not free to choose the sacred site,” he wrote, “they only seek for it and find it by the help of mysterious signs.” Perhaps it is within the power of millennials to do without such mysteries, to consciously choose where we are headed. But how we get there is a mystery both to me and to Harris, who dismisses so many sites of meaning in secular life—political reform, ethical consumerism, personal virtue—as a form of play-acting. If the life we have been given really is so deeply disenchanted, perhaps we millennials truly are stuck—waiting for a sign.

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