American Citizens,

A little more than 130 years ago, through my pugnacious oracle, Friedrich Nietzsche, I announced the death of God in the West. In recent times, this prophecy has finally been realized in America, though, of course, not in the form of widespread disbelief in the Judeo-Christian deity. Alas, verbal affirmations of the deity’s existence abound as always. Rather, the death of God has occurred in the form of practical rejection of the moral standards of this being. For years, many have labored to serve this culture’s new lord—the self—though without the benefit of official guidelines for conduct. Therefore, at last, I now proclaim to you a new and definitive set of standards—a “transvaluation of all values,” one might say—which, through the faithful assistance of Hollywood, major news networks, and, especially, American institutions of higher learning, has now fully triumphed. Here, then, for your thoughtful consideration and lifelong devotion, are the Ten Cultural Commandments of 21st Century America:

  1. Thou shalt love thy own moral autonomy with all thy heart and reject all notions of external or absolute moral authority, for thou art entitled to all things of thy own choosing.
  2. Thou shalt remember that humans are merely highly evolved animals and thus have no fixed essence or nature.
  3. Thou shalt honor empirical science above all other means of knowledge acquisition and therefore render due suspicion on all truth claims related to value, design, or purpose in nature.
  4. Thou shalt not regard any metanarrative as exclusively true or even as more true than its alternatives, except to the extent that such may reinforce belief in the relativity of all values.
  5. Thou shalt respect every truth claim as valid if it is supported by appeal to one’s identity as part of any classifiable group, except, of course, that of white, heterosexual, Anglo-Saxon males.
  6. Thou shalt accept all sexual choices and family arrangements as morally legitimate so long as they are freely and voluntarily made.
  7. Thou shalt declare any expression (spoken or written) to be offensive if it makes you or anyone anywhere at any time the least bit uncomfortable, regardless of any consideration of context, nuance, or factual content.
  8. Thou shalt regard all human problems and failures as arising from flawed social arrangements rather than as resulting from an innate moral defect in the human species.
  9. Thou shalt prioritize personal feelings and experiences over logic and reason in all public discussions regardless of the subject matter.
  10. Thou shalt determine thy own identity and meaning in life, so long as when this is worked out in practice thou dost not transgress any of the above commandments.

Americans, this is the way to self-fulfillment. Fix these words in your hearts and minds, tattoo them on your upper arms, and create abbreviations of them for your vanity license plates.

Now go thou into the world, teaching others to follow these commandments, while ridiculing and destroying the careers of those who fail to respect them.

Triumphally yours,

Zarathustra


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