Materialism is “good news,” according to Stephen Greenblatt, since it shows us the truth of “human insignificance” and dispels enchantment. We’re liberated from sacred boundaries to do what we like.
Rusty Reno, who quotes this from Greenblatt (Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society, 148) considers this a bit of naively class-based cheeriness: “What Greenblatt fails to see is that this gospel is for the rich and powerful – professors at Harvard, for example. As materialism disenchants, the norms by which we can hold the powerful accountable melt away.”
Far from being revolutionary, “materialism is attractive to people . . . because it justifies the status quo. There are no higher truths to serve. Accept things as they are, for they can’t be otherwise. Far from revolutionary, materialism, like all the lowering therapies, eases the way for empire and servitude” (149).
A philosophy that affirms the reality of something beyond the status quo – that makes revolution a real possibility.