When Martin Luther nailed his feces theses to the church door in Wittenberg and began printing up Bibles so everyone could get a direct, personal relationship with God, the sensible reply of good Catholics was something like “Dude. If you do that there will end up being as many arbitrary personal versions of God as there are arbitrary persons interpreting the text for their convenience. Eventually you’ll have a new paganism and the world will be spammed with ‘personal spiritualities’ none of which have any more claim on truth than the whim of their creators.”
Which is exactly what has happened. And it’s “all good,” that is, we don’t really have a lot of moral traction in anything more sticky than our own tastes and preferences to say it’s bad.
I’ve just described one of the historical trajectories toward what’s called postmodernism (and far from the most important one). What made me think of this right now is a post and responses on Enkerli’s blog. Blork has been quite rightly offput by the spamming of the blogosphere with nasty junk posts whose only purpose seems to be to generate advertising hits. The claim would be that there’s a good version of blogging and a bad one.
In short, he don’t like these other folks’ voles; and neither do I. But the historical trajectory of the sanctification of individual conscience and the mechanical enablement of democratized publishing, of which the internet is the current cutting edge, don’t offer much hope of a trend toward fewer and higher-quality products of our collective intellectual life. Quite the opposite.