Consumerism and the Culture of Death
A discussion I have been having with my Catholic brothers and sisters about the causes of abortion helped to speed along an essay I had planned on writing as a follow-up to previous articles I have written about consumerism and the culture of death. Fully adequate treatment of this subject will require a book, and hopefully one day I will write it. For now, an essay, limited in scope, but hopefully not in substance is what I have to offer.
In my essay, linked below, I cover Catholic social teachings’ critique of the precursors of consumerism, its extended definition and conception of consumerism, and the relationship between consumerism and the Culture of Death. In the discussion I mentioned previously, a major objection to my line of argument – which, as I hope to show, is firmly rooted in Church teaching – was that abortion, infanticide, and other features of the death culture were present in ancient societies, long before consumerism as we know it today. Therefore I also take up that claim, since it is important to differentiate between old and new manifestations of sin.
I don’t offer much here in the way of remedies, but I hope to develop more concrete proposals in the future. I mention it because my commentary, and that of others, I have noticed, is often criticized for being heavy on critique and light on solutions. In my way of thinking, however, it does little good to talk about solutions to a problem with features and characteristics, or even basic foundations, we cannot agree upon.
Read the entire essay here. Yes, it is lengthy compared to a typical blog post, but as far as essays go, it isn’t that long. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers or even an air-tight argument, but I do think it is important that Catholics understand the extent to which the Church of the last hundred years or so has criticized and ultimately rejected a way of life most of us take for granted, and the reasons why it has done so.