It occurred to me today that the United States Supreme Court is attempting to establish Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist atheism as the official religion of the United States.
Sartre defined his basic project in Existentialism is Humanism:
Existentialism is nothing else than an attempt to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheistic position . . . Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. Such is the first principle of existentialism . . . Thus, existentialism’s first move is to make every man aware of what he is and to make the full responsibility of his existence rest on him.
In Being and Nothingness he added:
Thus the best way to conceive of the fundamental project of human reality is to say that man is the being whose project it to be God . . . God, value and supreme end of transcendence, represents the permanent limit in terms of which man makes known to himself what he is. To be man means to reach toward being God. Or if you prefer, man fundamentally is the desire to be God.
John Mullen summarizes Sartre’s project:
The cornerstone of [Sartre’s] philosophy is the sovereignty of human freedom. He is quite frank about what he means by freedom. For Sartre, freedom is nothing less than the power to define one’s own being, to determine what one is. Anything outside oneself that exerts any influence over one’s being is by definition an obstacle to freedom.
Compare Sartre’s philosophy to Anthony Kennedy’s famous declaration in Planned Parenthood v. Casey:
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.
That passage could very well have been written by Sartre himself; it is his entire project encapsulated in a single sentence. And it is the law of the land in the United States.
Think about that.