George Walford: The Enduring Base (2)

The intellectuals try to persuade us that their own rationalism is the only mental attitude needed in the operations of a complex society. They support their claim by arguing that other mentalities are disappearing, and as evidence of this they commonly cite the extent to which orthodox Christianity has lost support during this century.

It is rather like saying; that a change of diet shows people are ceasing to eat; it provides no ground for believing the religious attitude of mind to be any less widespread than it was. The weakening of established religion in the West has been accompanied by a growth of support for religions formerly confined to the East, and even the old religious symbols still exert a power that can give them commercial value. The Sunday Times of 16 December 1984 reports that the Mary Kay Cosmetics Corporation is one of the faster-growing companies, with sales going up from some 160 million dollars in 1980 to over 323 million in 1984. The company works through saleswomen, paying them commission only – no wages, no security – and one of the means it uses to whip up the necessary enthusiasm is the claim to be in partnership with God.

For the persistence of another mental attitude condemned by the rationalists, consider that the most-read author in Britain is Catherine Cookson; she has written 62 books, and of the 100 most-borrowed books of 1983, 33 were hers. Last year her books accounted for 5,250,000 borrowings.

Does Ms. Cookson write analyses of the condition of the working class? Criticisms of religion? Humanist tracts? Expositions of socialist theory? Hardly. Her works are described as: “Torrid tales of slavering, villainous males – and much-abused heroines.” (Sunday Times 23 Sept 84)

from Ideological Commentary 16, January 1985.