Individualism – with its contempt for all hierarchies, communities, traditions, and customs – represents the logical conclusion and the ultimate extreme of the secularization of the Protestant religion. The Holy Trinity of original Protestantism, the Supreme Being of unitarianism, even the American nation of the American Creed have all been dethroned and replaced by the imperial self.
In foreign policy the imperial self leads to our promoting the idea of universal human rights, which developed organically out of Protestantism, as if that idea fit as neatly into all cultures and civilizations.
In domestic policy, the imperial self leads of our promoting the idea of individual choice and individual fulfillment. This idea also grew organically out of Protestantism. However, Protestantism supports marriage. The biblical standard is that in marriage two become one flesh. Husband and wife are no longer individuals in the same way they were. Protestantism supports families as an organic social whole. Whatever one thinks of biblical ideas of male headship (about which I have written before), the Bible clearly understands that parents are responsible for children, and children are to honor their parents, in a relation unlike that of any mere individuals.
Kurth thinks the final, individualist, stage in the Protestant Deformation was not reached until the 1970s. In foreign policy, this led to universal human rights. This idea has something to recommend it, but it also contributes to the breakup of traditional cultures around the world, which has led to much resentment of U.S. cultural imperialism. In domestic policy, individualism led to no-fault divorce and on-demand abortion. These ideas have a little something to recommend them, but they have also contributed to a marked breakup of traditional families, which has led to a culture war in politics.
The Protestant Deformation takes the Protestant Reformation to its logical extreme. But along the way it lost much of the spiritual substance that restrained unbridled individualism and the imperial self, the faith that kept individualism from going too far.