Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fear and Self Loathing in the Liberal West

Years ago, Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, wrote in an essay If Europe Hates Itself:
The optimism as regards the victory of the European element, which Arnold Toynbee was still able to uphold at the beginning of the sixties, looks strangely outdated today: “Of the 28 cultures we have identified, 18 are dead and nine out of the ten remaining, in fact all except our own, show that they are already mortally wounded.” Who would still repeat these words today? And in general, what is our culture, what’s left of it? Is the civilization of technique and commerce spread victoriously throughout the world actually European culture? Or was this not perhaps rather born, in a post-European way, from the end of the ancient European cultures? I see here a paradoxical synchrony.The victory of the techno-secular post-European world, with the universalization of its model of life and its way of thinking, is linked throughout the world, but especially in the strictly non-European worlds of Asia and Africa, to the impression that Europe’s world of values, its culture and its faith, that on which its identity is based, has reached the end and has actually left the stage, that now the hour of other world values has arrived, of pre-Columbian America, of Islam, of Asian mysticism.

Isn't this reverence for all religions and cultures other than that of Judeo Christians taught in schools, from kindergarten to postgraduate studies? We see that draconian measures are taken to remove any vestiges of our Judeo Christian heritage (i.e. the work of the ACLU) yet "tolerance" and even wholesale acceptance is encouraged towards Islam, Buddhism, etc...
The Pope notes the symptoms and the cause:
Europe, precisely in this its hour of maximum success, seems to have become empty inside, paralyzed in a certain sense by a crisis in its circulatory system, a crisis that puts its life at risk, resorting, as it were, to transplants that cannot but eliminate its identity. To this interior failure of its fundamental spiritual powers corresponds the fact that, even ethnically, Europe appears to be on the way out.
There is a strange lack of desire for a future. Children, who are the future, are seen as a threat for the present; the idea is that they take something away from our life. They are not felt as a hope, but rather as a limitation of the present. We are forced to make comparisons with the Roman Empire at the time of its decline: it still worked as a great historical framework, but in practice it was already living off those who would dissolve it, since it had no more vital energy.

What can be more dead than a society which refuses to have children, and even believes that killing them in the womb is of benefit to itself?
Referring to the European Constitution, Pope Benedict delineates three elements which need to be re-introduced back into European society if they want to survive:
*The first element is the "unconditionality" with which human dignity and human rights must be presented as values that precede any jurisdiction on the part of the state. These basic rights are not created by the legislator, nor conferred on the citizens, but rather exist in their own right, are always to be respected by the legislator, are given previously to him as values of a superior order. This validity of human dignity, previous to every political action and to every political decision, refers back ultimately to the Creator: only He can establish values that are founded on the essence of man and that are intangible. That there be values that cannot be manipulated by anyone is the real, true guarantee of our freedom and of man's greatness...

This echoes perfectly the words "inalienable rights" of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence.
Furthermore, the Pope states:
*The second point in which the European identity appears is marriage and the family. Monogamous marriage, as the basic structure of the relationship between man and woman and, at the same time, as the cell of the formation of the state community, is derived from biblical faith. This has given Western Europe as well as Eastern Europe, its own particular face and its own particular humanity, precisely because the form of fidelity and self-denial set out here had always to be conquered, over and over again, with much effort and suffering. Europe would no longer be Europe if this fundamental cell of its social structure were to disappear or be essentially changed.

The assault upon traditional Christian marriage and family is carried out by liberals in a ferocious way: condoning adultery, championing homosexual marriage, permitting easy divorce and subsequent serialAlllygamy... all are rampant in our society and even serves as entertainment value. Break up the family unit and you will uproot the foundation of Western society.
His third point:
*My last point is the religious question. I do not want to enter into the complex discussions of recent years, but to focus on only one aspect that is fundamental for all cultures: respect for what the other holds sacred, and in particular respect for the sacred in the highest sense, for God, something that we can legitimately suppose to find even in one who is not disposed to believe in God. Wherever this respect is denied, something essential in a society is lost.

Indeed. If no respect for the sacred exists, then the first two points are destroyed.
His last words portray exactly what we see among the liberals of Western Civilization:
The West reveals here a hatred of itself, which is strange and can be only considered pathological; the West is laudably trying to open itself, full of understanding, to external values, but it no longer loves itself; in its own history, it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure.