Ways in which Western Civilization is committing suicide:
1. We are not passing on the culture. Any civilization is, in essence, a shared culture. That means shared literature, shared history. We are no longer teaching our history or our literature in the schools or colleges. In principle, this kills any civilization within one generation.
2. We are no longer making any new culture. The arts in general are moribund, and have been for a century. Nobody reads poetry any more. Nobody is interested in contemporary painting, or contemporary classical music. Even the artists no longer believe in art, and mock it.
|Burke. Decapitated. As the French Revolutionists no doubt would have had it if they could.|
3. We are losing the “little platoons.” Voluntary organizations of all kinds are dying. We are all aware that fewer people are going to church. But it is also true that fewer people are joining Elks’ Clubs, or Toastmaster’s, or bowling leagues, or golf clubs. In fact, the decline in membership is greater here; churches are holding up better than other voluntary associations. These are the “little platoons” of Edmund Burke, of which he says, “To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind.” Like a platoon in the army, these are the essential units for creating an esprit de corps, a sense of belonging to society. If an organism is breaking down on the cellular level, it is dying.
4. We hate children. We are not reproducing. The fact that it is easier than it used to be to prevent children may of course be a factor. But why, on the other hand, do we want contraception and abortion, and think they are good ideas? After all, either abortion or exposure of newborns was always an option, and accomplishes the same thing. Having children is a statement of confidence in the future; not having children is a vote of non-confidence. Darwin noticed that cultures that fail manifest this most dramatically by failing to reproduce.
5. The family, the smallest and most important of the little platoons, is dying. Our women are working outside the home. This is robbing the future for the sake of the present: the mother plays a critical role in nurturing children and passing on the culture. We apparently do not care. Our fathers are often altogether missing. One in three American kids now grow up without a male parent. No-fault divorce, punitive divorce settlements (punitive to men), and feminism have encouraged families to split up or never form, and women to have children outside marriage. The father, as much as the mother, plays a critical role in nurturing children. We know that children’s prospects are seriously diminished by not being raised by both biological parents. Again, we apparently do not care. We live as if there is no tomorrow for our civilization.
6. Our civil service is becoming parasitic. According to recent stats, taking everything into account, US federal workers now make about twice as much as workers in the private sector. The great Arab social scientist Ibn Khaldun traced the broad expanse of human history, and isolated this as the inevitable way civilizations die: the ruling class gets greedy, and starts skimming more and more off the economy to finance their lavish lifestyles. Eventually the structure collapses under the cost of administration.
|Leonardo di Caprio is over to the right.|
7. Cultural self-hate is everywhere, at least among the ruling class. When we do give any attention to our cultural patrimony, it is to condemn it: “dead white males,” “colonialism,” “eurocentrism,” “crusaders,” “man is a cancer on the planet,” “orientalism,” “patriarchy,” and so forth. We are flooding the agora with hostile propaganda against Western civilization. In an individual, this would look like clinical depression: “low self-esteem.”
8. We have lost our religion. If a culture shares its core values, it is strong. If it does not, it is weak. The ancient Romans understood this. If we cannot all assume we are working for the same goals, we can no longer work well together. One of us is building a tower; the next guy in the chain is pulling it down. Without shared core values, we can no longer even properly communicate. Society functions, when it does, on a series of "gentlemen's agreements" which rely on shared values. Take them away, and it is dog devour dog.
I say nothing here of causes, or remedies, except perhaps in passing. In some cases, these are clear enough. I’m just looking at the symptoms. We are in a heap of trouble here, gang.
The good news, or the worse news, is that the rest of the world is at least as dysfunctional.