Reflecting on contemporary developments of the sexual revolution, Carlo Lancellotti comments that today’s rejection of the concept of human nature is done on moral grounds rather than philosophical:
This denial of “essentialism” (i.e. the normative aspect of human nature -DPM) could be interpreted as a mere instance of nominalism or positivism, except that its motivation is typically not philosophical but moral: a common human essence must not exist because its implications would necessarily be oppressive of our free self-determination
Second, today’s dominant moral outlook refuses to submit our desires to any form of rational scrutiny based on the intuition of higher goods. It radically rejects the classical idea, which goes back at least to Plato, that there are “different parts of the soul,” including a “higher” and properly human part that is capable of perceiving and loving beauty, goodness, and truth, and which is tasked to dominate the purely instinctual sphere of the passions… Also in this second case, the denial seems prima facie a mere expression of scientism or materialism, but in fact has a moral import: traditionally, domination over the passions was tied to the idea that individual reason participates in a universal Logos, which is now judged to be intrinsically oppressive.
Following Italian philosopher Augusto Del Noce, Lancellotti argues this rejection of human nature is the result of capitalist cultures absorbing Marxist thought: Marx denies the existence of human nature and the capacity of human reason to perceive universal truths; human reason is purely instrumental, philosophy is essentially political, and politics takes the place of religion.
Del Noce claims in 1989:
The West is Marxism’s full secularization, as well as its perfect realization. It is Capitalism that absorbs Communism, using it to erase religious sacredness and national sacredness, a goal it could not have reached in any other way.
In Del Noce’s view, the West formed by the Enlightenment simply lacked the metaphysical firepower to resist the robust metaphysics of Marx (or perhaps anti-metaphysics – atheism, anti-rationalism, and the exaltation of politics) and so simply absorbed it. The liberal Enlightenment order still retains some of its elements, such as individualism, and the language of human rights, but its Platonic and Christian elements like natural law, and the relativization of politics are now rejected in favor of their Marxist opposites: the rejection of nature, and the absolutization of politics.
In this analysis, while the Soviet Union lost the Cold War and China abandoned Marxism in practice, Marxism was largely victorious in the battle of ideas.