The Dark Heritage of Cookie-Cutter Philosophy

Cookie-cutter philosophers will always cleverly label the wisdom of the ages as yesteryear’s worn-out fashion—as archaic ideas whose time has come and gone. They will attempt to free us from the very thing that gives us freedom. 

In a post-Roe world, it is very important to consider what drove the acceptance of the insane legal precedent. To be sure, the drivers were legion, so let’s just explore one of them. What follows may seem a redirect, but soon enough you will see the point. 

Diversity is a biblical value. No matter who kidnaps it and holds it hostage for political ends, it will always and everywhere be a Christian value. Most of what is now labeled as diversity is but a mockery. 

What now oft bears that label is a seeking of oddity for oddity’s sake—perhaps devotion to the ever-lingering promise that “change is good.” There is an old adage that goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s one of the queerest bits of folk wisdom ever because it displays a depth of paradox that is generally beyond what one might associate with the genre.

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As it turns out, it’s not so much a folk saying in origin and is not extremely old, having been coined by French novelist and satirical essayist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr about mid-nineteenth century. (Okay, if you’re fifteen that seems like a long time ago—you’ll outgrow that.) What subject in particular he was attempting to address with this quip has remained beyond my reach.

As sayings go, this one has somewhat fascinated me most of my life. As an adage, we’re expected to immediately connect with it. Yet, this one is different in that there is no immediate hint within the expression itself that gives it context—its breadth is unlimited. Such a wide scope can only be filled by a wide venue, and the widest and most common to all venues is human nature itself. 

Whatever Karr’s intentions, it seems inherent in the activities of humankind that there is no shortage of recurring themes, and easily the most common of those themes is the notion that there is a perfect way to live our lives and that we all need to conform to that way. The same herd propensity that drives fashion drives pop ethics—cookie-cutter philosophy. 

Our propensity to run with the herd is shallow and showy; at our core, we’d really rather just be ourselves. The very crux of universality is that we can all adhere to core standards and free ourselves from the tyranny of appearances—of fashion. In Karr’s adage, it is the constant adherence to ever-changing fashion—continual shallow change—which is the thing that stays the same. 

Fashion, in our times, has embraced the kinky, creating a strange bouquet of kinkiness to provide the illusion of diversity. A diversity of perversity is hardly a standard to champion for the good of the people, but champion it many of us do. 

Cookie-cutter philosophers will always cleverly label the wisdom of the ages as yesteryear’s worn-out fashion—as archaic ideas whose time has come and gone. They will attempt to free us from the very thing that gives us freedom. 

Take, for example, the subject of the human population. I could give many examples, within my lifetime, of catastrophic predictions that did not come through. But let’s just look at one. The year was 1968 and the book was The Population Bomb, a bestseller by Stanford Professor Paul R. Ehrlich. From the prologue we have:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines—hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate, although many lives could be saved through dramatic programs to “stretch” the carrying capacity of the earth by increasing food production. But these programs will only provide a stay of execution unless they are accompanied by determined and successful efforts at population control.

Yeah. Or not. On The Tonight Show, where he appeared often, Ehrlich told Johnny Carson, “We have to get the death rate and birth rate in balance and there’s only two ways to do it: one is to bring the birth rate down, the other is to push the death rate up,” leaving the night-show host appearing somewhat dumbstruck. Considering the times in which we live, we need not use much imagination to consider how the powers that be might “push the death rate up.” Certainly, Roe v. Wade played its part. 

Still, very recently we have the unusual spectacle of the richest man in the world, Elon Musk, warning us that a population collapse, as predicted in a study conducted by the Gates Foundation no less, is “potentially the greatest risk to the future of civilization.” What is the cause of this potential collapse? Cookie-cutter philosophy. Christians are pro-life, right? So, the Christian faith will grow while secularists follow the zeitgeist and quit having kids, right? The collapse of civilization will be avoided and the Church renewed in one fell swoop, right? 

That’s how it’s worked for millennia. But now far too many believing Christians are onboard the fatal cookie-cutter train to oblivion. The notion that all of the world will get on the same page and create a utopia has no basis in reality, and certainly none in Scripture. Bad ideas are self-destructive. Good ideas are self-supporting. Good people should reproduce. The misled will self-destruct. We’re unhappy with that analysis because we have been groomed to believe that there is a cookie-cutter road to utopia. 

The most important takeaway from this discussion is that utopian thinking is sinful at its core, sinful because it places hope in systems and methods—it places hope in humanity and humanity’s prideful, shallow efforts rather than in God. Satan is the cookie cutter wielder. He knows that, in the end, he loses, and every day is his flailing attempt at creating a world of kooky cookies, images of himself. 

Yes, Christ wants us to be like Him—in our heart of hearts—not in some superficial surface manifestation. God has given us a tremendous, obvious, and simple solution to today’s problems. Christians have a simple path to reclaiming the culture and preventing the collapse of civilization. And yet there is no shortage of evidence that we will, like the rest of mankind, follow the cookie cutter into oblivion. 

I won’t belabor the point. This Crisis article by David Ayers, Ph.D., does a good job of telling us what a bad job we’re doing in this regard. My wife and I had a lot of children because it was a lot of fun! No, really, it was a lot of work, but it was a heck of a good time. Young people have before them the opportunity to save civilization, rebuild the Church, and have a great deal of fun in the process—a win-win-win for all of mankind. 

Our conditioning, of course, will make this repugnant to many of us. We must offer a solution that works for everyone; if everyone becomes a devout Christian and has a lot of kids, we’ll be overpopulated! Whatever path we choose must be sustainable or promoting it is wrong! In reality, such drivel is the prostitution of sustainability. Among other factors, this explains why our monasteries and rectories are emptying: a cookie-cutter world wherein everyone is living a celibate life is not sustainable. But then, statistically, neither is our current cookie-cutter path.  

It’s been going on for a long time. Nearly everyone who has braved raising a large family in our times has had to face the shaming, the “Don’t you know what causes that?” silly sneers and smirks on the faces of cogs in the wheel who think themselves clever and imagine that you’ve never heard such wisdom and wit before. I’ve always liked my wife’s response to those snickers: “Yes, I do know what causes it, and it’s a lot of fun!” It’s stupefying how embarrassed the brazen can be made by a simple, direct, joyful response. 

The sustainability narrative is built upon our hope in systems and methods, and it places hope in humanity and humanity’s prideful, shallow efforts rather than in God. We want to disbelieve in concupiscence; we want to cling to the notion that we are not naturally inclined to sin, that the world’s problems are largely government and oligarchical corruption—that the common man is above all that and can be led to utopia. We want to be made to believe that one size can be made to fit all, that the perfect Hegelian cookie-cutter solution is just around the corner.

But it’s not. Sin will always be with us. A societal goal of perfection is always and everywhere the enemy of the good. Christ asked, “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  On His way to Calvary, Jesus turned to the weeping women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”

The wood is, indeed, very dry. Christ, in a single sentence, sums up the age in which we live. The mantra of the great reset is ‘blessed are the barren’! It is an age of self-delusion and self-destruction. Don’t be deluded. You’re not a cookie and neither are your offspring. To use a worn-out, twentieth-century advertising slogan, one that no product has ever really lived up to, your children are “the gift that keeps on giving.” 

[Photo Credit: Unsplash]


  • Jerome German

    Jerome German is a retired manufacturing engineer, husband, father of eleven, and grandfather of a multitude. He contributes articles to Crisis Magazine and Catholic Stand. A singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he has recently (under the pseudonym Jerome Linus) taken up the long-overdue task of recording and publishing songs that he has been writing for most of his life. His first effort, In God We Trust, hit stores worldwide on January 12.

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