Rabbi Moshe Eisemann remarks — only slightly tongue in cheek, I believe — that the most destructive invention of modern times is the electric light bulb. Rabbi Eisemann is neither reactionary nor waxing nostalgic. He argues, with his characteristic elegance, that the blurring of the natural boundaries between day and night gave human society an indelicate shove down a slippery slope whereby all moral and cultural boundaries have become irretrievably eroded.
Historian Paul Johnson makes a similar point in the introduction of his History of Modern Times, wherein he observes that Albert Einstein unwittingly unleashed the forces of moral relativism with his theory of relativity. If the natural rules of the universe are malleable, why not the rules of right and wrong as well?
Now columnist George will reviews a book that illustrates how relatively small cultural phenomena either cause or signal a radical change in the course of human events. It’s worth a look.