In his book, Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong, William Kilpatrick recounts how in the 1970's the "values clarification" movement lent academic and "social science" legitimacy to what Benedict XVI calls "the dictatorship of relativism." The new presupposition was that it was now a moral wrong to impose values on children. One was to let values ooze from the individual child like droppings of a noble savage. Once again, the academics, far from questioning such unheard-of practices, instead gave their stamp of approval to the zeitgeist from which they came: "peace, love, (dope)."
In the relativist world of Values Clarification, there are no right or wrong answers. Or right or wrong values, for that matter. This is Commandment Number One in the world of Values Clarification, the brain-child of the (pagan) Renaissance, turned Enlightenment, turned Romanticism, turned nihilism, turned ouroboros.
Just think if we taught chemistry this way. "Okay, class, go into the lab and start creating your own compounds. If you should happen to blow yourself up ... well, at least it will be an authentic search."
From these perfumed meadows of a Rousseau-esque idyllic fantasy world came the present "crisis of distinctions" (R. Girard) in which the west is floundering: the individual is everything; marriage is a convention of personal preference with no definition; child-bearing and child-rearing a ridiculous waste of personal time, effort, and money; and selfhood whatever I damn well please. From this we get such arbitrary, give-away-the-store legislation as Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007.
"Hate crime," you see, is defined as anyone who balefully believes, says, or proposes anything against Values Clarification Commandment Number One (above). Or, as Dymphna says, "some victims are more equal than others, and any situation where the federal government can stick its nose is now an improvement over local law enforcement."
I was going to begin sharing some good news in Part II, but I can see that it will have to wait. However, those who have reached into both the New Testament and the scholarly work of Girard's mimetic theory know that unbaptized political power inevitably turns into a way to find new victims to sacrifice. In other words, new attempts at a very old way of scapegoating others in order to feel good about ourselves. The only -- the only -- way of avoiding this recurring pattern is the Way, truth, and life of Christ the King in humility and service.
In Part III, I will play "Dr. Cornelius" from C. S. Lewis's Prince Caspian and let you know a great secret: faith, hope, and charity exist and can be found in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, built upon Peter by the living, Eucharistic Lord, Jesus Christ. There is a bright, shining world above and beyond the dodgy world of relativism that is presently eating up itself.