THE EMERGING ORDER: God in the Age of Scarcity by Jeremy & Ted Howard Rifkin

THE EMERGING ORDER: God in the Age of Scarcity

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A serious, but largely perverse attempt to prove that Evangelical Christianity is ideally designed to guide us through the dark years ahead. Rifkin and Howard run The People's Business Commission, a vague sort of public interest research group in Washington, D.C., and what they're up to in this book isn't too clear either. They begin with a brisk survey of the economic and ecological crises rumbling at our doors. Nothing original here, but they've done lots of homework, and they hammer their points in with stunning effect. The trouble is, they insist on laying the blame for all our miseries at the feet of what they call liberalism, by which they mean a giant world-historical conspiracy led by people like Bacon, Locke, Newton, Adam Smith, Voltaire and, eventually, just about everybody in the Western world with any connections to capitalism and/or government. In this paranoid vision, the ""liberal ethos"" becomes responsible for the atomic bomb, multinational corporations, and the destruction of endangered species. But, fortunately, there is a burgeoning spiritual force which may (the authors are cautiously optimistic) save the day: the millions of born-again Americans. The obvious objection to this (see Richard Quebedeaux's The Worldly Evangelicals) is that in many ways Evangelicalism is no more a threat to the old order than the Rotarians. Rifkin and Howard admit this, but they argue on. After all, they claim, didn't the ""evangelical movement"" give birth to the American Revolution and, through the abolitionists, to the Civil War? (Nope.) Doesn't the expanding media-empire of the Evangelicals herald the ""Second Protestant Reformation?"" (Don't bet on it.) An occasionally informative, catastrophically wrong-headed speculation.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1979
Publisher: Putnam