Today’s consumer culture, a byproduct of the cult of the individual’s materialistic religion, is unapologetic as it reinterprets every aspect of human history and behavior within its single-minded view, as it imposes its ideology through a cultural hegemony, as it infiltrates its value in all social systems and structures – education, media, law, health care, and development being far from immune. If one analyzes it deeply, it is simply no more than the triumph of animal nature and impulse, free now from any religious restraints, however superstitious they may have been.
One clear example is its effect on language. Behaviors which at one point were characterized as moral failings are now rewarded, encouraged, and prized. Selfishness is referred to as a commercial resource; truth is reduced to a negotiable commodity; pride is viewed in terms of social value; manipulation is called advertising. The loss of meaning in our language reflects the profound loss of meaning in all relationships that make up civilization – breakdown of family life, weakening of community ties, dysfunctional educational systems, institutional power-struggles, the worldwide crisis of authority. And this is perhaps the greatest crime of consumer culture.