chapter  11
25 Pages

Marshall McLuhan and the Machiavellian Use of Religious Violence

ByGrant N. Havers

The current revival of interest in the communication theory of Marshall McLuhan has also coincided with a steadily growing interest in the relation between his deeply felt Catholic faith and his study of the mass media. This chapter argues that McLuhan, as a Catholic convert, also never abandoned his view that Protestantism, working alongside Machiavellianism, played a large role in fostering religious and cultural violence in the modern age. In the age of electric media, the idea of "identity" becomes both an opportunity and a challenge, since the new mass media encourage the impression that one's identity can be constructed and deconstructed at will. The grounds for optimism to which McLuhan briefly alludes not only include the possible hegemony of the Christian message within the new global village. McLuhan's own dismissal of the Machiavellian influence as obsolete in the modern age, however, was perhaps more historicist than was justified.