Shamelessly stolen from Mike Miles:
Seldom have so few words expressed so much truth. (Yes, it’s happened; “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” for one. I said “seldom,” not “never.”) For maximum impact, answer this question: Who is having babies today, and where?
Yes, I’m in one of those moods.
Most of what I write here is about politics and the trends current in it. Yet I often feel severe conscience pangs about that, for politics is the central subject of far too much writing and thought. It has displaced wholesome, live-giving and life-affirming subjects from our attention to an ominous degree. I should shift my focus: i.e., write much more about those life-affirming subjects and much less about politics. It doesn’t deserve to have so great a fraction of anyone’s attention.
For politics to become supreme in our thoughts, the alternative authority structures – faith, community, and above all others family — must diminish. That’s exactly what’s happened in the First World this century past. Present trends continuing, historians will someday see the Baby Boom of the Fifties and early Sixties as Christian-Enlightenment Civilization’s “battle of the bulge:” our last attempt to reassert ourselves over the forces contriving our destruction.
The Death Cults have advanced on several fronts:
- Moral relativism;
- The worship of wealth;
- Aversion to large families;
- Hostilities between the sexes;
- Weakened intergenerational bonds;
- The medicalization of American culture.
Those sectors are where the degeneration of our culture has been most visible. The vacuum thus produced invited anti-Christian, anti-Enlightenment, and anti-Western currents to enter and wax among us. They’ve accepted the invitation en masse. What’s followed could hardly have been averted.
We’re on our way out.
“Senescence begins when growth ends.” — “Lansing’s Law”
James Blish may have invented “Lansing,” but the truth of his “Law” stands independently. The whole of the living world obeys that dictum: Grow or die. While death isn’t necessarily immediate, the processes of deterioration are checked only by the processes of growth. It’s as true of cultures as of any protozoon. Time itself enforces it.
One of my favorite short stories, P. J. Plauger’s “Child of All Ages,” employs that idea most memorably. Read it to see what I mean.
At one time, I called the trend away from reproduction “The Last of the Harbingers of Doom.” I was wrong: it’s the first of them. All the same, I think that piece belongs among the Baseline Essays. Its thesis has become the central sociocultural fact of our time. Its Last Graf is very much with me this morning:
It approaches tautology to note that you cannot induce a people to breed for the sake of future generations. A people that has ceased to breed has lost interest in future generations, and in the future as such. If the young men of the First World have fallen into that abyss, only they can right themselves…but current conditions and present trends continuing, the likelihood is small.
The consciousness of irreversible decline is a hard thing to endure.
What brought all this on, you ask? I can’t be specific, because I’m not sure myself. But the mood is definite, and the sense equally so. This morning I’m exceptionally aware of the forces of decay, beginning with the ones that afflict my own septuagenarian corpus. I look out my kitchen window at the deer gamboling in my neighbor’s back yard – he lets them eat from his bird feeders – and not for the first time, I envy them their unconsciousness of their mortality.
Americans, and First Worlders in general, are growing broadly aware that our culture and the ethic that has powered it are on the wane. We ask one another “What can we do to reverse it?” The answers are all ready to hand…but we turn away from them and what they ask of us as too hard. A quite different attitude is taking hold among us. Scant wonder.
I’m reasonably sure you didn’t come here to read a load of depressing drivel, so I’ll close on that note. Forget what I said here. Try to have a nice day. And pray.