Fiat Lux!

J-J Rousseau

As so often, Fr Hunwicke is right. He complains of the decline of female modesty – which all previous ages and most other cultures have valued and upheld. The ‘Love Island’ phenomenon is a modern aberration.

But how come?

The culprit (as so often) is the Enlightenment. Earlier cultural movements – the Reformation and the Renaissance, for example – purported to be recovering a past golden age. In consequence they were careful to cover their novelties with antiquarian scholarship, and gave the past due reverence. The Enlightenment was quite different. It declared war on the past in the name of the future. And it did so with little respect and a modicum of violence.

‘Man (sic) will not be free until the last King is strangled with the entrails of the last priest’.

The wisdom of the ages and all social convention, could be set aside in the name of reason. And as the worst excesses of the French Revolution go to demonstrate, every precept of religion was cast aside and every restraint of morality questioned. License was the principle on which Jean-Jacques conducted his private life, never the nobility of the savage.

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