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Architects of the Culture of Death [Paperback]

By Donald De Marco (Author), Benjamin D. Wiker (Author) & Benjamin Wiker (Joint Author)
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Item description for Architects of the Culture of Death by Donald De Marco, Benjamin D. Wiker & Benjamin Wiker...

The "Culture of Death" has become a popular phrase, and is much bandied about in academic circles. Yet, for most people, its meaning remains vague and remote. DeMarco and Wiker have given the Culture of Death high definition and frightening immediacy. They have exposed its roots by introducing its "architects." In a scholarly, yet reader-friendly delineation of the mindsets of twenty-three influential thinkers, such as Ayn Rand, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Sanger, Jack Kevorkian, and Peter Singer, they make clear the aberrant thought and malevolent intentions that have shaped the Culture of Death. Still, this is not a book without hope. If the Culture of Death rests on a fragmented view of the person and an eclipse of God, hope for the "Culture of Life" rests on an understanding and restoration of the human being as a person, and the rediscovery of a benevolent God. The "Personalism" of John Paul II is an illuminating thread that runs through Architects, serving as a hopeful antidote.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ignatius Press
Pages   410
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 5.25" Height: 8"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 30, 2004
Publisher   IGNATIUS PRESS #1427
ISBN  1586170163  
ISBN13  9781586170165  

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1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Cultural
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
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Reviews - What do customers think about Architects of the Culture of Death?

Great intro to some of the worst thinkers in history  Sep 19, 2008
Great book. Gives short biographies of people who have had some of the biggest influences shaping today's culture of death.
Looking at the Architects...  Mar 10, 2008
Donald DeMarco and Benjamin Wiker examine the lives and thought of 23 individuals of the past two centuries, whom they indicate to be philosophic contributors to the "Culture of Death." While some are much better known than others, DeMarco and Wiker maintain that each has left a tragic, destructive legacy.

DeMarco and Wiker group these individuals into seven categories: 1. "Will Worshippers" (Arthur Shopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzche, Ayn Rand), 2. "Eugenic Evolutionists" (Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, Ernst Haeckel), 3. "Secular Utopianists" (Karl Marx, August Comte, Judith Jarvis Thompson), 4. "Atheistic Existentialists" (Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Elisabeth Badinter), 5. "Pleasure Seekers" (Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Helen Gurley Brown), 6. "Sex Planners" (Margaret Mead, Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Sanger, Clarence Gamble, Alan Guttmacher), and 7 "Death Peddlers" (Derek Humphrey, Jack Kevorkian, Peter Singer). It was probably the section on "Eugenic Evolutionists", which I personally found to be the most enlightening.

While conventional thinkers will argue otherwise, DeMarco and Wiker are insistent that it is not misinterpreting Charles Darwin to see in him the roots of hideous eugenic thinking. Darwin's cousin, Francis "Galton was responsible, in great part, for applying Darwin's evolutionary arguments concerning natural selection to the improved breeding [sic] of human beings. This new science of breeding Galton dubbed `eugenics'" (p. 87). Ernst Haeckel was "the man who, more than any other, provided the bridge from Darwin's racial and eugenic arguments to the racial and eugenic policies of Hitler's Third Reich" (p. 105).

I would have preferred to see even more attention to the thought of the 23 individuals and less attention to their personal lives.
Like ad hominem attacks? You'll love this book.  Feb 24, 2008
This book shamelessly attacks liberal modernism but does so with arguments so banal that the compilation of personal attacks on major (and insignificant) thinkers over the past two centuries is almost laughable. A quick lesson in argumentation: association is not causation. The "little-known facts" this book has been lauded for--and trust me, there are plenty more from the pools of information those were carefully selected from--are the extent of the "logic" that De Marco and Wiker use.

If you are dead-set in your hatred of evolution, birth control, planned parenthood, euthanasia and the like, you will love this book. But if you would like to adequately prepare yourself for an argument against someone who disagrees with you, this is not the book to read. If you ever hope to have an informed opinion about these important issues, I would recommend looking at some of the Catholic thinkers' contributions to the President's Council on Bioethics instead.

PS. I am Catholic, and was outraged that slapdash propaganda of this sort is still being published by people that profess my faith.
18 Destroyers  May 9, 2007
Eric Voegelin, in his book, "Science, Politics & Gnosticism," describes the gnostic philosopher as one who is "dissatisfied with his situation," and sees the world as a "defective and unjust...prison from which he wants to escape." In his attempt to escape, he tries to "seize control of being" by "the murder of God" so he can facilitate "the destruction of the old world and passage to the new" by the "construction of a formula for self and world salvation" to "replace [the old world] with a perfect and just order." He will then "come forward as a prophet who will proclaim his knowledge about the salvation of mankind." But, in his desire to have dominion over being, he "arbitrarily omits" or "suppresses an essential element of reality in order to... create the fantasy of a new world." This, invariably, leads to societal calamity.

Voegelin's analysis perfectly describes most of the eighteen people featured in "Architects of the Culture of Death," by Donald DeMarco and Benjamin Wiker. Many of the individuals contained in the book are familiar names such as Nietzsche, Darwin and Marx, while others are more obscure, such as Francis Galton, Judy Jarvis Thomson and Clarence Gamble. For each entry, the authors give a brief biographical sketch of the individual and why they are members of the Culture of Death.

Significantly, sixteen of the eighteen people featured are atheists (omitting an essential element of reality) while the remaining two, Margaret Mead and Clarence Gamble, could best be described as "functional atheists" (they claimed a religious faith, but acted contrary to its teachings.) Another common factor was that most came from a broken or dysfunctional home - many having no relationship or an adversarial relationship with their fathers. This is a common pathology among atheists and appears to be a huge catalyst in propelling them into the Culture of Death. Many of the entrants had disagreeable personalities themselves.

This book is written by Catholics for Catholics, so the non-Catholic reader may be surprised by the number of references to Pope John Paul II, other Catholic philosophers and writers, as well as the authors' tendency to place contraception on the same sinful level as abortion. It also leads to an instance of irony that I feel was probably lost on the authors. In the entry on Auguste Comte, DeMarco describes how the philosopher elevates Madame Clotilde de Vaux to an object of worship and adoration after her death from consumption. He transformed the chair that she would sit in during her Wednesday visits into an altar, kneeling before its flower-strewn seat three times a day reciting verses and praying in her honor. DeMarco characterizes Comte's behavior as blatant idolatry, yet to the protestant reader, this sounds exactly what Catholics do with the Virgin Mary, whom Protestants believe was merely a human being like any other (although used greatly by God) with an intrinsic sin nature.

This book is an important read for anyone who wants to understand where the Culture of Death originated and upon what ideas it's based upon today. It clearly demonstrates that the quickest way to gain membership into this club is to "murder God," and "create the fantasy of a new world" without Him. Far too many still choose this foolish course today.
Dancing with wolves.   Jan 15, 2007
In light of recent reviews, it may be helpful to begin by saying what this book is not about. It is not an apologia for large families. Neither is it an attack on socialism or a defense of such alleged "major" players in the spread of capitalism as El Salvador, Panama, and "Algiers." (The reviewer who suggests this is eloquent, though I think badly deficient in his history -- but this book is not a defense of what he attacks.)

Architects of the Culture of Death describes the lives, thoughts, and influence of 23 "great thinkers" who helped make our world. These include the famous -- Nietzche, Darwin, Marx, Sartre, Freud, Margaret Mead, Kinsey, "Dr. Death," Peter Singer -- the relatively unknown, and those somewhere in between (Ayn Rand, Margaret Sanger). What they share in common is they expanded on the intellectual and Promethian tendencies of the Enlightenment, attempted to reinvent human nature, usually had troubled (or frankly perverse) personal lives, and (the authors think) made the world a much worse place. Each chapter tells an individual story, usually rather sad, and draws a moral. The stories strung together are meant to show how Western civilization moved from a "pro-life" Christian perspective, to a perspective that diminishes and disfigures humanity, ending in abortion, infanticide, sexual loneliness, and of course the totalitarian regimes of the 20th Century. But most of the lines lead towards Western secularism.

The authors are not "morons" or "idiots," as the reviewer of apocalyptic temperment suggests. They are intelligent and informed, if sometimes simplistic. I'm not sure Darwin deserves the honor of being in the company of some of the deeply sinister folks who haunt these pages. De Marco and Wiker seem a bit more cautious and thoughtful than Paul Johnson in his scathing and not always fair Intellectuals, but never as profound as C. S. Lewis in his classic Abolition of Man, or as historically detailed as From Darwin to Hitler. But the territory covered is similar, and readers may find these books worthwhile too.

True, fools, madmen, and false Messiahs -- those Jesus called "wolves" -- are always with us. But there is a heart of darkness in the Enlightenment project that wars with whatever good once guided Western civilization out of its periodic madnesses, and bids (it seems at times) to snuff the light of humanity from our souls. You may disagree with the authors about the source of that darkness, or the nature of the Light. You may feel they preach too much. You may argue there are other threats to worry about, as there are. But clearly, overpopulation and greedy businessmen are not our deepest dangers; human nature itself may be up for grabs. It may take special courage for "progressives" to read these stories and honestly entertain whatever truth can be found in De Marco and Wiker's warnings. But for those willing to face such criticism, the rewards may be greatest. As Proverbs says, "he who regards reproof is prudent."

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