A Rebuke To Hubris

The Modernist creed was

1. The universal fatherhood of God
2. The Universal brotherhood of man
3. Human perfectibility

I remember hearing a teacher say, perhaps ironically (it was 4th grade after all), “We’re getting better every day, in every way.”

Then there’s this:

(HT: John Fea)

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  1. When Nelson Rockefeller was running for Governor of New York he used the phrase “brotherhood of man/fatherhood of God” so often that reporters travelling with him would just write “BOMFOG”

    • Woops…I hit the enter button by accident. They would write “BOMFOG” in their notes. The Rockefellers were America’s premier modernist/humanist philanthropists.

  2. Well, for Europeans that challenge to the optimistic, humanitarian outlook came with World War I. After that great horror, Karl Barth wrote his famous Commentary on Romans, in which he attacked the liberal faith (but did not go far enough to recover the historic faith).

    For Americans, the great collapse came in the Silly ‘Sixties. I’ve seen it in my older sibs. They were probably the last American generation to be taught in school that America was the shining hope of humanity full of the BOMFOG and getting better every day and in every way-and then the Civil Rights and Viet Nam War protests hit.

    Except for sending a few of us erstwhile “Jesus Freaks” back to God, the experience seems to have opened up the country to Marxist follies.

  3. But it’s an improvement on the Tay Bridge Disaster of 1879, when some 74 or 75 members of the Universal brotherhood died – This time it was only a Universal brotherhood’s Best Friend that died. So we MUST be getting better!
    On the other hand, the Tacoma Bridge Collapse failed to inspire a great poem of the English Language!

  4. Many would argue that the Tay Bridge Disaster also failed to inspire a great poem of the English language!

  5. I’m given to understand that the Tay Bridge Disaster claimed some 20% less lives than the Ashtabula River Railroad Disaster had claimed three years previously. However, in spite of this record of apparent improvement over time, it appears that at least two of the victims of the latter did not believe in The universal fatherhood of God, or in The Universal brotherhood of man, or in Human perfectibility, and that their surname may have defined their destinies.

    • This time even against any of the dogs did not the bridge move his tongue, putting a difference between this occasion and previous occasions – Progress again (Hubris Next Step: Start crying Peace and Safety).

  6. Ah…the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, aka Galloping Gertie! Growing up in that area we saw that video often, and then studied it in engineering school.

    Hubris indeed! If I remember rightly, a structural feature meant to improve strength (everyone knew about the high winds that blew in the strait) actually increased the wind speed and created the oscillation that was ultimately the downfall of the bridge.


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