Ross Hunt The American Mind Website
The Zombie Enlightenment enslaves us to a new religion.
America’s tragic and needlessly incompetent public health response to COVID-19 was not an accident. It was the logical consequence of the prevailing American creed of the body. Over the course of the last year,
America’s bureaucratic, academic, and media elites have taken advantage of the pandemic to turn that prevailing orthodoxy into a clerisy of public health and modern medicine. As governors, county judges, and newly minted bureaucratic kaisers around America closed down real churches for Sunday worship, they were hard at work building a new Church—the Church of Health.
Surviving the virus is this Church’s equivalent of salvation; saving “just one life” is its version of Christian charity and community; the daily and hourly COVID reports are its liturgy of the hours and the double mask its scapular. Social distance is its prayer without ceasing. Hand sanitizer is the Church’s holy water: who among us, for months, did not faithfully apply it before entering or exiting any building? The vaccine (at last!) is its only sacrament, the faithful reception of which is no excuse to return to our former way of life.
The religion of the Church of Health is not a new faith: it is simply a more radical form of an enlightenment and post-enlightenment teaching regarding the body and the care of the body. Centuries before mRNA vaccines and social distancing, in an age in which the use of leeches was the cutting edge of surgery and the “science” of humors was the best diagnostic medicine had to offer, Descartes, Bacon and the other founding fathers of modernity promised a new age of health through medicine and peace through the better satisfaction of man’s basic needs.
Soon, they prophesied, disease would be abolished and life would be extended almost indefinitely. Disease challenges man’s body: “You will die. Even now, you are dying.”
The Church of Health responds: “We can rebuild him: we have the technology.”
The Enlightenment’s obsession with preserving and extending life emerged in tandem with a robust political philosophy of individual freedom. This meant the preservation of life always had to be weighed against other rights, like property and freedom of speech, action, and thought.
But as the substance of classical natural rights liberalism has withered away, the shell of individualism and its laser-sharp focus on preserving mere life have remained, like the carapace of a dead lobster, hollowing out and hardening with time.
The Church of Health theory of the human body may be expressed in four principles:
- The body is nothing but matter.
- The primary function of the body is merely to continue living.
- All other supposed “ends” of the body are arbitrary inventions of the mind or arbitrary exertions of oppressive force upon the body.
- All bodies are equally worthy insofar as they are alive.
These theoretical doctrines imply five practical principles about how to care for the body:
- Preserve bodily life at any cost; sacrifice other functions of the body, mind, or soul.
- To preserve bodily life most efficiently, focus only on the body’s survival.
- The best way to preserve life is through technical interventions at the individual level, like policy prescriptions, medicine, and technology (“follow the science”).
- Heighten the fear of death, which makes us more conscious of the radical equality we all have in our vulnerability.
- Discourage communal bodily activity, honors for exceptional bodily activities, or anything else which would tend to emphasize inequality between bodies or present bodies as anything more than undifferentiated, purely material, subsistent, and equal.
The most disturbing thing about the Church of Health is that it clearly values its devotion to these theoretical and practical principles more highly than the common good.
The Church is committed to upholding the survival of the radically equal body as the highest good, even if that means sacrificing every other good—and even if it means more individuals will die.
This teaching now issues from every government authority and is reinforced by every major cultural institution. We have seen the fruits of the Church’s teaching during the pandemic. America is ready for an alternative understanding of the body.
Ross Hunt is a partner at Murphy Nasica Associates, a Texas-based political consulting firm. He holds a B.A. in liberal arts from St. John’s College and a Ph.D. in Political Theory from the University of Dallas.
4 thoughts on “The Church of Health”
Oh my…….The American Mind group should be called the American Mindless, after a little reading on this Ross chap and the Clairmont Institute. Some of their pieces in praise of Trump and to limit Americans from learning the true history of their country…….the nasty bits. So essential to keep statues of racists front and center, and hide the attrocities against the American Indians as well as the black people.
Next to math and science, which directed me to an engineering degree, I was always interested in history. Yet that has gained in the last few decades, as to the shallowness of history taught in school in my youth, and what has been hidden. Surely Mr Peckford, as a teacher, is aware of that hidden history, whether in America or Canada, or the UK and elsewhere. NOw we here that teachers here cannot teach Grade 6 math, and professors at MUN not teaching the teachers! The Big Reset Green Report often mentions a change in Culture needed here.
And so the fear of those who speak of Cancel Culture, and wanting to keep the fuller truth to be known and taught.
Indeed, the aim of a more perfect Union, in the USA, should always be to acknowledge and correct the wrongs of the past, and aim for the perfection. And of course, Stalin was a master of hiding history, and not just Western countries. In the USA some fathers of the Constitution were anti-slavery , many were not.
Rhodes statue still stands tall in London, thought his character is much reduced, and they are puzzled as to what to do. His promoting of Empire left a nasty trail, especially in Africa.
What grade would Mr Peckford give to this short piece by Ross, a Texan political consultant? I would give him an F on The CHURCH of HEALTH.
Their site has an amusing take on Dr Fauci, as near naked and in the Garden of Eden, I find it funny. No saint, but he had the balls to not bow down to Trump, with his wild ideas of ingesting bleach or a UV light inside to knock out the virus, and promoting all going to church on Easter, as the virus was spreading rapidly. He hid the truth from the public, that it was airborne. Even Fauci under promoted masks for the public, but because they were scarce.
Of course time will tell, as the war in not yet won against the little virus.
Winston Adams, Nfld
Winston, I read your above response with curiosity as it raised a number of questions that you might have some insight into:
1. Can you provide me a list of empires (certainly not these: British, French, Spanish, various Chinese dynasties, Inca, Aztec, Roman, Ottoman, Byzantine, Russian, Abbasid Callaphate, Portuguese, Ayyubid, Timurid, Holy Roman Empire, Sasanian, etc.), who never took advantage of others during their reign. Everyone of them included conquering, killing, pillaging, raping and enslaving others. To be clear, I’m not aware the USA has established an empire, dynasty, caliphate, etc. in its history.
Also, which Nation, other than the USA has provided more freedom, entertainment, research, technology, wealth, famine relief and security to the world?
2. Is there any reason why the economic slavery in which Newfoundland and Labrador fisher-people were held, for approximately 300 years, not taught in Canadian and other countries’ schools and universities;
3. Did the USA eliminate every aboriginal person in their country like was done in your province with the Beothucks?;
4. Why is there virtually no discussion of the white slave trade that took place in the Mediterranean area (Barbary coast) by their Muslim masters? There were hundreds of thousands of WHITES held in slavery, the trade lasted for 150 plus years;
5. Why is there not outrage and a human outcry regarding the present day slaves being “quietly” held in Africa, Middle East, China and some would say the sex slaves in Canada, USA and elsewhere around the world?
It has been my observation that one doesn’t need to look far to see man’s inhumanity towards other humans—it has been ever thus; it surrounds us 24/7 and the GREAT USA is certainly not where the vast majority of such inhumanity has occurred and is occurring.
My wise father once told me that, “he who walks around with his eyes closed to reality and the real world will be battered and bruised from the walls they walk into as well as the holes and ditches in which they will fall—many never recover from their injuries!!
Thanks for your comments, I enjoy the read.
Food for thought.
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Noted. Thanks for your continued input.
Thanks for your continued input.