The Great Campaign Against The Great Reset
By Jason Jones.
Crisis Publications, 2024.
Hardcover, 240 Pages, $21.95.

Reviewed by David Weinberger

It is well known that anxiety, depression, and suicide rates have exploded among adolescents in recent years. While several factors likely contribute to this trend, including the widespread use of social media among pre-teens, underlying this issue are basic questions about who we are as human beings. What, for example, does it mean to be human and what does that reveal about what we need to be happy? Furthermore, does the agenda promoted by our cultural, educational and political elite tend to cultivate or subvert our pursuit of happiness?

That is the subject of the new book, The Great Campaign Against The Great Reset, by film producer and activist Jason Jones. In exploring these themes, Jones argues that our elites, by which he means “the most influential people in the richest parts of the world,” have undermined our flourishing as human beings, and that we must rediscover our true meaning and purpose if we wish to achieve real happiness.

To do so, however, we first need to know who we are. If we do not know who or what we are, we cannot know who or what we are for—that is, we cannot know our purpose. And if we do not know our purpose, we cannot be happy. Fulfilling one’s purpose, after all, is the essence of happiness. So the question is of vital importance: Who are we and what are we meant for?

Various answers to that question have been proposed through the ages. Some have said that we are nothing but clumps of physical matter (i.e. physical bodies). Others have insisted that we are not bodies but souls or “selves” who merely inhabit bodies. Still others have maintained that we are neither bodies alone nor souls alone but a unity of the two. Now, whether we are wholly material, wholly spiritual, or a mix of both matters profoundly, for it inexorably shapes the meaning and purpose of our lives.

Jones shows this by exposing the negative consequences that tend to follow from adopting either of the first two views. For example, if we are nothing but clumps of matter, the temptation arises to maximize pleasure in our personal lives and to create heaven on earth in the political order, which often ends in treating human beings like pieces on a chess board for manipulation by political elites. Take, for instance, Karl Marx, the father of communism. “Marx,” explains Jones, “believed that he had come along to do for economics and politics what Darwin had done for nature—demystify and unveil in the cold light of day the hidden mechanisms that explained what was really going on, without any need to appeal to unseen ‘spiritual’ entities.” Of course, the implementation of Marxism ended up costing the lives of 100 million people in the twentieth century, which (thankfully) shattered his theory. Nevertheless, other dangerous ideologies have emerged from a similar “materialist” premise about human beings.

Consider, for example, “transhumanism.” Like Marxism, it also sees human beings as clumps of matter to be molded by elites, only in this instance by transhumanists rather than political economists. Thus, make no mistake, “transhumanism is, at bottom, a rejection of human nature,” warns Jones. In fact, taking its cue from twentieth-century philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, transhumanism upholds the belief that “existence precedes essence,” that is, that we determine what we are. We create our own meaning. This idea has flowered in radical ways over the years. Not only are people now working to transform human nature by achieving immortality—as Jones notes, “transhumanist writer Ray Kurzweil hopes to upload his consciousness to a computer one day and live forever”—but most of us are to some degree or another involved in alienating ourselves from our nature via our smartphones. “Being constantly online,” Jones writes, “disincarnates us.” In other words, being on our screens all the time “expands our capacities while separating us from our embodied humanity.” This, of course, can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Consider that teen suicide rates jumped by 31 percent between 2010 and 2015, while there was mass adoption of smartphones by that age group. Furthermore, technology like Neuralink now promises instant access to the web through microchips in our brains. One cannot help but wonder how our self-understanding as human beings might continue to transform as this technology proliferates.

On the other hand, Jones also notes the sober consequences that tend to follow from regarding ourselves not as clumps of matter but as “selves” who simply pilot clumps of matter. First, such a view risks inclining us toward a radically subjective individualism that sees the world in terms of “my truth” and “your truth” rather than the truth. It also opens the door to the idea of “choosing” our “gender identities.” After all, if my body is no more a part of me than my clothing, why not re-engineer it however I desire? As Jones puts it, “If we are somehow spirits,” then our true selves “are completely unconnected from the biological realities that even give the sex polarity meaning.” Of course, if we lack meaningful connection to our bodies, then how can we hope to lead a meaningful embodied existence? 

This lack of meaning leaves us vulnerable to substituting ideology for religion to fill the void in our lives. Religion, after all, is ritualistic, meaning that it requires performative action—praying, kneeling, standing, sitting, singing—and often in communion with others. Under a radical subjectivism that cuts us off from our embodiment, however, both community and ritual lose their meaning. Ideas replace ritualistic action and human connection, and ideology crowds out religion. Jones sees this tendency in what he calls “Victimism,” which he describes as the propensity of elites to scapegoat certain groups of people for power, especially by exploiting religious—specifically Christian—categories of thinking. Take, for instance, the movement known as “Intersectionality.” It speaks of “compassion” for the “oppressed” (i.e. women and minorities) against their “oppressors” (i.e. white males). In other words, “intersectionality” employs classic religious rhetoric of good versus evil to disguise its true drive for power. Here is how Jones explains it: By appealing to our “skepticism of power and compassion for the vulnerable, the Christian impulse has been perverted and hijacked into a strategy for grabbing power and picking different scapegoats—all the while claiming the mantle of being the guardian of the ‘marginalized’ and the champion of the ‘oppressed.’”

Nor is this all. Throughout the book, Jones dissects these and other ideologies. In so doing, he exposes why neither the “materialist” nor the “self” understanding of the human person can deliver real happiness. While materialists are right about the importance of our bodies, proponents of the “self” are right about the importance of our souls. The truth, therefore, is that we need to abide by both body and soul if we wish to be happy. Politically, this means we need an order that grants us freedom to flourish both communally and spiritually, without veering into either radical individualism or collectivism. Ultimately, however, and as Jones impresses on the reader throughout the book, it means that we need to recover our connection to the transcendent creator who is both our source and end. It is only in God, therefore, that we will find our true lasting happiness.

David Weinberger formerly worked at a public policy institution. He can be found on X @DWeinberger03.

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