Still too swamped to continue the formal essay. But let me call to your attention a TV show that has run in some markets, covering elements in our world that I have called anti-modernist. The following (italicized) is from the web site.
The Power of Nightmares explores how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organized terrorist network is an illusion. Director Adam Curtis theorizes that it's a myth that has spread unquestioned through politics, the security services and the international media.
At the heart of his story are two groups: the American neo-conservatives and the radical Islamists.
Sayyed Qutb: Father of Radical Islam
In the 1950s Sayyed Qutb, an Egyptian civil servant was sent to the U.S. to learn about its public education system. As he traveled around the county, Qutb became increasingly disgusted by what he felt was the selfish and materialistic nature of American life.
When he returned to Egypt, Qutb turned into a revolutionary. Determined to find some way to control the forces of selfish individualism that he saw in America, he envisioned an Arab society where Islam would play a more central role. He became an influential spokesperson in the Muslim Brotherhood but was jailed after some of its members attempted to assassinate Egyptian President Nasser.
In prison a more radical Qutb wrote several books which argued that extreme measures, including deception and even violence, could be justified in an effort to restore shared moral values to society. He was executed in 1966 for treason in Egypt. But his ideas lived on and formed the basis of the radical Islamist movement.
Leo Strauss Leo Strauss was a professor of political philosophy at the University of Chicago.
Leo Strauss: A Neo-Conservative
At the same time Leo Strauss, an American professor of political philosophy, also came to see western liberalism as corrosive to morality and to society. Like Qutb, Strauss believed that individual freedoms threatened to tear apart the values which held society together. He taught his students that politicians should assert powerful and inspiring myths - like religion or the myth of the nation - that everyone could believe in.
A group of young students, including Paul Wolfowitz, Francis Fukuyama and William Kristol studied Strauss' ideas and formed a loose group in Washington which became known as the neo-conservatives. They set out to create a myth of America as a unique nation whose destiny was to battle against evil in the world.
Both Qutb and Strauss were idealists whose ideas were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. The two movements they inspired set out, in their different ways, to rescue their societies from this decay.
For more of this writeup, see: http://www.cbc.ca/passionateeye/powerofnightmares/one.html
What's really interesting is the spate of editorial cartoons, lately, lampooning the administration's slavish devotion to Saudi interests. Of course the trigger has been oil prices. When prices were a dollar lower per gallon, GWB attacked Bill Clinton for failing to "jawbone" them down. Now the solution (in lieu of research and conservation and alternatives) is to expand subsidies for coal and oil. Ah....
Mind you, I can go along when it comes to nukes. That's one area where liberals are doctrinaire and blind.