Christendom - A Defence

Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”

 So asked the Mad Hatter of Alice.

In her perplexity Alice admitted her ignorance and asked for the answer - to which the Hatter replied: “I haven’t the slightest idea.”

Alice, ever practical, chastised her irascible companion for wasting time on nonsensical riddles. And thus the story continued.

Lewis Carrol’s superb children’s books about the marvellously sane Alice hold countless truths about ourselves and the world which we, adult madmen, have created. Rereading some of Carrolrecently I was yet again struck by his prescience and his peerless understanding of the ageless consistency of human nature.

I choose the Hatter’s riddle as a metaphor for the crisis of ‘Being’ confronting Western Civilisation; particularly our endeavours to understand our reality through our inappropriate questions. Our civilisation exists in an untenable paradigm. It is a civilisation rooted in classical history and formally founded upon the Judaic–Christian faith and culture: notwithstanding that it nominally espouses Judaeo-Christian values and legal constructs, it is host to a number of increasingly dominant, secular/post-modernist and totally antithetical cohorts desperately deconstructing their host culture.

From a differing perspective, ours is a civilisation thrice divided between modernism; its baneful legatee, post-modernism and its emerging morph ‘Pseudo’ or ‘Meta’ Modernism.

Those of us of the early to mid-twentieth century live in a civilisation moulded by the certainties of spiritual foundation, past values and the traditions of the so-called ‘modern world’. Those of us born in the last two decades of the twentieth century belong to our contemporary, relativist society in which boundaries and ethical distinctions are considered to be outré. Our so-called ‘millennials’ however inhabit a world in which yesterday’s morals are today’s outrage; today’s radical chic is conservativism and Christianity is today’s counter-culture.

The BBC last year, and obviously quite unintentionally, provided a wonderful story reflecting, in part, this nonsensical paradox:

Australian gay rights groups welcome same-sex marriage hurdle / Supporters of same-sex marriage have celebrated moves to block a plan to hold a national vote on legalising same-sex marriage.[1]

The paradox - after decades of societal angst about homosexuality, mainstream politics finally agrees to a popular vote only to find that the homosexual community have moved the goal posts and rejected the opportunity to put their case to the people in favour of legislators making the decision. Topsy meets Turvy.

Ours is a civilisation that is indeed in the process of being turned inside out and upside down. In this upside down world it is little surprise that a remaining and perhaps the ultimate grace of ‘modern’ Western civilisation – freedom of speech and expression – is fighting a rear-guard battle for survival. Note my use of the qualifier ‘modern’ – and here I beg a small digression down the path of history.

This attack on freedom of speech and expression is not perhaps altogether surprising inasmuch that, in our casual use of the term ‘Western Civilisation’, we make many assumptions that do not stand the test of deep scrutiny. Particularly so is the assumption of political and civil freedom. 

In historical reality political and civil freedoms are most recent adornments to Western Civilisation writ large. It is well worth remembering that until 1914 such were restricted to a small handful of European nations, the United States, Britain and the British dominion countries. The Germanic and Slavic nations were under absolutist rule; Greece and Italy were only emerging as nation states and the peoples of the Balkans were under the imperial thumb of either the Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian conglomerates.

It was not until 1945 that the shackles of absolutism were thrown off what became Western Europe - with the notable exceptions of Spain and Portugal. However, even as those shackles were shed the Iron Curtain of Communist totalitarianism descended over Eastern Europe, effectively obstructing political freedoms in that region for a further forty five years.

In its European context, the history of political freedom as being the societal norm has therefore been remarkably short – less than a century in the broad sweep of history - measurable since 1945 and the death of Fascism and from 1991 and the fall of Communism.

I suggest therefore that for some in Europe the notion of political freedom and responsibility are relatively modern innovations. It is not difficult to imagine that for some, the certainties of the past might seem infinitely preferable to the uncertainties of contemporary political freedom and confusion. I also suggest, with great sadness, that for some in the older democracies, who have always enjoyed political ‘freedoms’, the value of those freedoms are either passé or simply taken for granted.  

The point of this digression is to suggest that not all see the political freedoms of Western civilisation through the same prism – readily evidence the EU bureaucrats in Brussels contra the healthy independence of, say the Pirate Party in Finland. Moreover, there would appear to be many in Central and Eastern Europe who consider an excess of freedom as being the very antithesis to the society it purports to protect. Such critics could point to the perceived ethical debasement of the Western European countries evidenced by the singular lack of political cohesion and will in the face of the European Union’s Islamic Crisis.

Such critics might well point to the disconnectedness of Greece’s cultural foundations to that country’s contemporary reality; the debasement of the once muscular Nordic and Germanic cultures; the emptiness of Gallic pride contra Mohammedan and nihilistic cultural encroachment and the craven retreat of Anglo-Celtic culture in the face of half a century of social policy failures and political correctness. Through this pall of failed humanism, liberalism and dismal experimentation with dysgenics such critics may correctly point to the mongrelisation of contemporary Western Europe.

Herein lies a great irony. Russia and those very Central European countries of the former Soviet Bloc, then protected by the Iron Curtain from the scourge of Western liberalism and the decline of the spirit of Christianity against the forces of apathy and post-modern Cultural Marxism, may hold the hope for the future of Western Civilisation. In these countries may be found traditional values, common sense, national pride and above all, a deep appreciation of real freedom and culture – an appreciation largely lost in the more liberal societies of our civilisation. Peoples that have been denied freedom once prize it highly. It is we, who have taken so much for granted, that have surrendered it.

Thus may we discern yet another division our civilisation – one along religious and cultural lines. It would be deeply ironical that whilst the Goths and Vandals yet again sack Rome, the countries of Eastern Europe become the real ‘defenders of the faith’, staking claim to our civilisation’s legitimacy and cultural purity – a la Putin! The division between West and East is deliciously reminiscent of the former cultural and political split of the Roman Empire that gave the world Western and Eastern Christendom.

Many might suggest however that this is a too dismal view of our civilisation. Some might argue that we are on the cusp of a new and magnificent age, a Pan Western Risorgimento wherein we finally free ourselves from the demeaning and culturally constraining shackles of ‘Christian’ culture and the Being, ‘Man’, may attain complete fulfilment.

In riposte to this legion of blinkered souls; millenarians, ideological blackguards; zealots; hatchet-faced apparatchiks; social engineers and welfare dependents I would say consider the following, quite random examples, of absurdity from our recent Western social and political milieu:-

One country, not content with having a long history of euthanasia, is now set to permit euthanasia for people who aren't terminally ill or even experiencing extreme suffering, but nevertheless consider their life is "complete,". This bizarre extension of the notion of euthanasia is expected to go into effect by the end of 2017.[2]

Another country six months ago conducted the most improbable national election of all time whereby, in the words of the egregious Julian Assange, its people were offered a choice between "cholera or gonorrhoea".[3] So disaffected were those peoples they have chosen a path completely untrodden.

As Europe stares down the abyss after its ongoing experiment with dysgenics and its politicians scratch their empty heads about the rise of the ultra-nationalist parties, the villain of the piece, Angela Merkel, refuses even to acknowledge her trespasses, let alone do the decent thing and step down. On the contrary, demonstrating her overweening arrogance, she crapped into the can of credibility by announcing she will stand for another term as Reichmistress! Sadly, far from being received with fire and grapeshot, her announcement met with the general approbation by Germany’s ruling classes. There is nothing more immoderate that German moderation.    

Moving onward to the subject of spinelessness, the males of the once proud Nordic and Germanic countries, now subject to unwanted and illegal immigration by barbarous North Africans, are too timid to protect their women as they walk abroad. This arrant cowardice is compounded by official policy constraining police action – policy amply supported by the mainstream media that successfully obscures, distorts or deliberately lies about the truth and scale of social dysfunction.

I continue my litany of absurdities by saying to the feeble-wits - consider the daily incremental accommodations our supposedly secular society makes to Islam. Consider the terrorist outrages committed by these adherents of the religion of ‘peace’. Consider the changing demographic face of your own countries.  

And finally, back in Queensland – the banana-land basket case of Australia - the police, media, politicians and Uncle Tom Cobbley expressed their serious concerns a few months ago on television because a number of irresponsible cretins were taken seriously ill because of their ingestion of poor quality illicit party drugs. The response by the aforementioned ‘authorities’: “We’re not here to judge you we’re here to help you!” [4]

“Here to help you!” Help you to do what? Break to the law; suffer no consequences for breaking the law; encourage others to break to the law? Help you to encourage others to fill themselves up with whatever their feeble minds desire at any thought bubble occasion!

If the foregoing bucket of excrement, drawn from our civilisation’s current mire of social sewerage, is a necessary stage of cultural-Marxism preceding the New Jerusalem I, for one, choose to remain in Purgatory.  

What therefore to do with the sordid mess that passes as contemporary civilised Western society?

Ours is a civilisation built and refined, over two millennia, on Judaic Christian precepts and values. Our fundamental notions of decency, law and human interaction are given directly to us from this tradition.

This is not to deny the many flaws, deliberate distortions and flagrant abuses of this tradition over its history; nor is it to deny the untold misery that these distortions have caused. Such is the caprice of human nature and such are the sometime tragic vicissitudes of history.

It is my view however that Christian civilisation has, in the broad sweep of history, been a force for good. Just as some Christians were slave-traders; it took organised humanity under the Christian banner to abolish the slave-trade. Just as Christians took advantage and exploited those less fortunate, it took organised Christians under the Christian banner to put in place safeguards and standards to protect them. Just as the Church was once corrupt and narrow looking, it also spawned the Enlightenment, the Reformation, Counter Reformation and so forth thereby dragging the Church back onto the tracks of spiritual purity.

Our cherished notions of liberty, equity, intellectual freedom and tolerance are products of Western Civilisation. The practice of political economy, modern education, science, medicine and technology – the drivers of the modern world – were facilitated by Western Civilisation. 

Although it is unfashionable in today’s relativist society to talk in terms of cultural superiority, the very fact our ‘Christian’ civilisation attracts millions of immigrants from across the world gives practical effect to its cultural ‘attractiveness’. It is particularly attractive to young Mohammedan men from North Africa, escaping the tumults of their own countries for which they don’t have the stomach to defend. Many of these doubtless think that instant riches will be their reward – they want all the goodies before it’s too late.

Let me continue to be unfashionable. I use the term ‘superior’ in context and with deliberation. I do not use in a ‘triumphalist’ way or in a manner that is meant to be demeaning to other cultures. I use it unambiguously to describe a civilisation that, despite its flaws, has done more to help the world and to alleviate suffering and injustice through the flow of ideas and the provision of the many practical applications of economics, science and technology than any other singular culture or ideology.

However, our civilisation is rapidly losing its edge.

Indeed, a cultural outsider could well be forgiven for thinking that Western Civilisation is in serious decline. A cursory examination reveals that it is a civilisation whose spiritual fundament has diminished to the extent that it is held together only by ambiguous secular laws stipulating that which is permitted and that which is not.

Such outsiders might look at our lack of spiritual values with disdain - we have torn down our God and replaced him with the selfish and soulless Deity of Humanism. Our once vaunted ‘democratic’ governments are in disarray; our governance in business dealings and law and order are corrupt. Our societies are riddled with crime and drugs and our education systems are in decline. Our civics, being our respect for one another; our manners; dress standards; language and sexual mores are certainly nothing to emulate. In short, what have we, as a society writ large, to teach the non-Western world?

Indeed, one can almost sympathise with the immigrant Mohammedan who comes to the West, sees its decline, smells its stench and wishes to change it. From his perspective it is his duty to God to do so.

It is therefore sadly ironical that the very foundations of our presumed cultural superiority – love, compassion, tolerance and respect – all Christian foundations – together with our intellectual and political freedoms, are the very factors hastening our serious and savage decline into a spiritual tumbledown society.

Not since the decline of Rome has a civilisation degenerated in such a spectacular fashion. Compounding the tragedy is the fact that the Romans had not the dispassionate information immediately at hand to be witness to, and to quantify their decline and perhaps belatedly address it. We do. Through information technology we can witness it, gauge it, measure it and quantify it - first hand and by the day – if we so choose.

Do we choose?

Despite its failures our Western culture operated until recently under a modicum of common sense. People inherently knew the difference between right and wrong. People acknowledged the existence of evil and called it out as appropriate.

Today’s reality suggests a tough question. Despite our  supposed secular enlightenment; our legions of carers, sharers, collectivists and welfarists; despite our supposed increase and broadening in education – achieved by dropping our standards; despite the many putative and heralded advances in health, physical well-being and so forth – are we today more ‘civilised’? The stories of child abuse are increasing; domestic violence is on the rise; drug addiction; gratuitous violence on the streets; robbery; serious violence against our elders and so forth and so on are just part of the distressing litany of daily news.

Something serious has failed us. Or rather perhaps, we have failed ourselves. And what do we do now – yes you!

When was the last time you actually gave any thought to your Maker? In the context of Easter not long past – when was the last time you went to church? Or even, without asking you to become a Bible Bashing Bozo, when was the last time you gave any form of private affirmation of faith – faith in your God, faith in your culture, country, and kith and kin?

On the question of civics, what have you done?

When was the last time you complained to the police about someone breaking the law? When was the last time you contacted your politician about a matter of real political concern? How many of you are in fact involved in the political process at all? How many letters to the editor have you written? How many times have you signed online petitions or commented online - in fact how many of you are really involved in the community – in any capacity? In short, how many of you have done anything at all except tut tut your way through your breakfast cereal.

Let’s cut to the chase– it’s your fault. Period!

Meanwhile, think about this. Thousands of genuine Christian refugees around the world are currently subject to religious persecution, torture and genocide. They are pleading to come to the West. And what do we do? Far from giving them priority in our refugee programmes – which would be the Christian thing to do, let alone the most logical thing as they would assimilate more easily – we ignore them to the extent of perversely discriminating against them! Crazy! My colonial oath it’s crazy.

You probably agree, but you’re not going to get off your jacksie to do anything about it are you? You’ll just blame our politicians. But just remember this - they’ve only become the avaricious arrogant swine they are because we’ve let them become so. Or, if politicians are an accurate reflection of the society they serve, then that’s us Mateys.

Many of my friends and colleagues wonder why I keep banging my head against the oaken frame of societal apathy and bureaucratic intransigence. I’ve recently spent a few months giving the matter some considerable thought.

My answer is simple. I cannot help but do otherwise. As I see injustice, societal stupidity and civil decline I will call it. Doubtless few will even read what I write but, of those that do, I pray that my writings may serve as a flint, a prick to the conscience of what might be, a conscience to action and a conscience to courage in these troubled times. 

As I started with Lewis Carrol so will I end: “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”[5]

The lalaland reality of Western Civilisation is bleak. Ironically, it requires your imagination and your action to help steer it back to rationality.

How are your cojones?

 



[1] Stories from Australia BBC News 12 October 2016

[3] http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/julian-assange-us-election-2016-226281

[4] See for Example: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-16/drugs-gold-coast-overdoes-eight-hospitalised-16-hallucinations/7936742