1. Quotes of the Daya) Our [religion] is assuredly the most ridiculous, the most absurd and the most bloody religion which has ever infected this world. Your Majesty will do the human race an eternal service by extirpating this infamous superstition, I do not say among the rabble, who are not worthy of being enlightened and who are apt for every yoke; I say among honest people, among men who think, among those who wish to think.
-- Voltaire, Letter to Friedrich II, k.von Preussen
b) The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged; and the last remains of military spirit were buried in the cloister: a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion; and the soldiers’ pay was lavished on the useless multitudes of both sexes who could only plead the merits of abstinence and chastity.
-- Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall, ch.38.
And how will the New Republic treat the inferior races? How will it deal with . . . those swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people, who do not come into the new needs of efficiency? Well, the world is a world, and not a charitable institution, and I take it they will have to go. . . . And the ethical system of these men of the New Republic, the ethical system which will dominate the world state, will be shaped primarily to favor the procreation of what is fine and efficient and beautiful in humanity — beautiful and strong bodies, clear and powerful minds. . . . And the method that nature has followed hitherto in the shaping of the world, whereby weakness was prevented from propagating weakness . . . is death. . . . The men of the New Republic . . . will have an ideal that will make the killing worth the while.
-- H.G. Wells The New Republic
Voltaire pointed out that enlightenment was only for the enlightened, like himself; not for the
Gibbon was evidently a proto-Nietzsche, based on what he praised and what he disparaged. Patience, chastity, charity... Boo. Military spirit, Yay!
Neither of them yet had the vocabulary to evoke the Superman or the Woke. but the thought-cliche of the special aristocracy -- the Enlightened, the Illuminati, the Brights, the Vanguard -- runs through it. As for the rest of us, remember that phrase "apt for every yoke" and bend over to welcome your new masters. In the end, though, the Morlocks eat the Eloi. (Remember, Wells thought that a bad thing; but I hear they taste like chicken.)
2. Food for Thought
Speaking of chicken. At the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America, the Middle Ages were roundly defended from the Dead White Males like Voltaire and Gibbon, who had relegated them to the 'midddle' between the enlightened ancients and the enlightened 18th cent. (i.e., themselves). However, that defense was mounted without a single reference to Christianity, let alone to Catholicism; so it appears the likes of Voltaire and Gibbon have been victorious after all.
But the vanishing of theology from the schools has not led to 'no theology,' but to 'bad theology,' and as Chesterton noted, the man who believes in nothing will eventually believe in anything. Or as Midgley said, those who claim no metaphysics are usually enslaved to some outdated form of it. It is no surprise then that the absence of virtues so derogated by Gibbon -- charity, above all -- has ended with road rage, school shootings, and campus riots against heretical speakers. The surprise rather is that no one has remarked that these things are connected.