The barefoot glossolalians are emerging from the desert once again. Only whereas in the second century, these cultures met one another on a fairly equal footing, this time the North is vastly outnumbered... What happens when a generation of hip, aware, tattooed, multilingual, educated, environmentally-responsible Episcopalian urbanites who stopped at one child (if any) is overcome by a majority of dozen-siblinged fundamentalists who think being gay is caused by demonic possession? The North has been outbred by the South, and the fundamentalists are basically just waiting for us - and our egalitarian, feminist, green, tolerant, "reasonable" Apollonian culture - to die out.
The ignorant unwashed masses are outbreeding our liberal aristocracy?!? Holy crap, stop right there, Pim Fortuyn. This is how quickly urban, tolerant liberalism can flip into out sheer imperialism, close to racism. Because they are the left wing of globalised imperialism, of course they're going to be terrified by the end of globalised imperialism and therefore their privileges as the systems' internal, polite, critics.
But seriously, in the immortal words of Tonto, "what do you mean our culture, paleface"? Is the dominant culture of the West really feminist and green and egalitarian? You know, with all the rape and sexual objectification and extractive industry and consumeristic waste and people begging on the streets? No it bloody isn't. A very small privileged layer - among whom Msgr. Stratford lives and for whom he speaks - gets to live that way, because they're the middle class professionals and skilled workers who benefit from the real underpinning of "their culture" - the continued pillaging of natural resources and super-exploitation of the global proletariat in the name of glorious profit. You are not more environmentally aware because you breed less, especially if you on your own have a bigger environmental footprint than Reverend Kiswahili or Mullah Omar and their dozen kids whom you're having paranoid dreams about.
Jordan Stratford goes on about Athenian culture, and the later culture of the Roman Empire, being swamped by primitive backwards Christianity, and within "two generations... the plumbing stopped working". Uh-huh. Now this is where middle-class idealism gets you. Athenian society was based on slavery (and oppression of women of a Saudi Arabia level, or perhaps worse). The Roman Empire was based on slavery and conquering as much of the known world as they could hold. And Christianity was the overwhelmingly popular religion of those slaves by the time of the fourth century CE. The social system had run out of steam. The Lombards, Goths, Vandals and other barbarian hordes were relatively more vigorous than decadent, senile Rome, no matter whether they were sacrificing to Zeus or celebrating the Eucharist.
Yes, it's true. Neoliberal, globalised, financialised capitalism makes a very sweet lifestyle possible for a middle-class layer who - precisely because they're not struggling for a crust, and because they don't have to directly exploit anyone - can make consumer choices which they interpret as a life of virtue. That's not the culture I have any interest in protecting. To paraphrase Catharine MacKinnon, and that's something I thought I'd never do: "if your genteel culture requires having a global slave class, you have no right to your genteel culture."
To be fair, though, Msgr. Stratford isn't precisely defending the Empire against the barbarians at the gates. What he's suggesting is that Gnosticism is an example of a compromise. But the real compromise can't be a new faith or an old faith or a culture or a creed, it has to be a material way of existing. The fundamentalist hordes don't have a solution - when the kind of people he's worried about took over in Iran in 1979, nothing really changed except some industry got nationalised and the regime stopped grovelling to American foreign policy.
If your culture of "Lulu Lemon yoga gear and $200 Nikes... "Tradition" starbucks cups... [and] Bang & Olufsen speakers" has nothing to say to people who live in grinding poverty and whose faith is all they have and do not really take kindly to being told not to reproduce themselves by corpulent, privileged white folks, then you need to think a bit more clearly. The only people who can change the world and create a new culture on a new material base are the globalised proletariat - the people who actually make all those things that Jordan Stratford's people consume. Isn't it such a pity that the United States spent so long wiping out communist movements among that class of people in the 70's and 80's and instead building the credentials of the religious fundamentalists that are now the Great Satan?
(As an aside, by "global proletariat" we have to include the information workers, and this is where those of us with plenty of Western cultural capital can intervene. I more and more think that Anonymous has become the modern equivalent of 1870's Russian Narodnik terrorists. I wonder what form a "Cyber-Bolshevik" party might take. Just as the tiny but vital industrial proletariat in Russia had to make an alliance with the peasant masses to win power, the vanguard of modern information workers who keep globalised capitalism and consumerism functioning have to line up with the inhabitants of the sweatshops of China and the coffee plantations of Colombia.)
Chaos Marxism stands against both fundamentalist obscurantism, and a defence of "liberalism and Western culture" which is nothing more but an appeal for the perpetuation of the privileges of the middle class.