Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Is Europe Dying?
Foreign Policy Research Institute ^ | June 7, 2005 | George Weigel

Posted on 06/08/2005 12:26:29 AM PDT by Liberty Wins

America's "Europe problem" and Europe's "America problem" have been staple topics of transatlantic debate for the past several years.

To put the matter directly: Europe, and especially western Europe, is in the midst of a crisis of civilizational morale. The most dramatic manifestation of that crisis is not to be found in Europe's fondness for governmental bureaucracy or its devotion to fiscally shaky health care schemes and pension plans, in Europe's lagging economic productivity or in the appeasement mentality that some European leaders display toward Islamist terrorism. No, the most dramatic manifestation of Europe's crisis of civilizational morale is the brute fact that Europe is depopulating itself.

Europe's below-replacement-level birthrates have created situations that would have been unimaginable in the 1940s and early 1950s. By the middle of this century, if present fertility patterns continue, 60 percent of the Italian people will have no personal experience of a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle, or a cousin;[1] Germany will lose the equivalent of the population of the former East Germany; and Spain's population will decline by almost one-quarter. Europe is depopulating itself at a rate unseen since the Black Death of the fourteenth century.[2] And one result of that is a Europe that is increasingly "senescent" (as British historian Niall Ferguson has put it).[3]

When an entire continent, healthier, wealthier, and more secure than ever before, fails to create the human future in the most elemental sense-by creating the next generation-something very serious is afoot. I can think of no better description for that "something" than to call it a crisis of civilizational morale. Understanding its origins is important in itself, and important for Americans because some of the acids that have eaten away at European culture over the past two centuries are at work in the United States, and indeed throughout the democratic world.

READING "HISTORY" THROUGH CULTURE

Getting at the roots of Europe's crisis of civilizational morale requires us to think about "history" in a different way. Europeans and Americans usually think of "history" as the product of politics (the struggle for power) or economics (the production of wealth). The first way of thinking is a by-product of the French Revolution; the second is one of the exhaust fumes of Marxism. Both "history as politics" and "history as economics" take a partial truth and try, unsuccessfully, to turn it into a comprehensive truth. Understanding Europe's current situation, and what it means for America, requires us to look at history in a different way, through cultural lenses.

Europe began the twentieth century with bright expectations of new and unprecedented scientific, cultural, and political achievements. Yet within fifty years, Europe, the undisputed center of world civilization in 1900, produced two world wars, three totalitarian systems, a Cold War that threatened global holocaust, oceans of blood, mountains of corpses, the Gulag, and Auschwitz. What happened? And, perhaps more to the point, why had what happened, happened? Political and economic analyses do not offer satisfactory answers to those urgent questions. Cultural-which is to say spiritual, even theological-answers might help.

Take, for example, the proposal made by a French Jesuit, Henri de Lubac, during World War II. De Lubac argued that Europe's torments in the 1940s were the "real world" results of defective ideas, which he summarized under the rubric "atheistic humanism"-the deliberate rejection of the God of the Bible in the name of authentic human liberation. This, de Lubac suggested, was something entirely new. Biblical man had perceived his relationship to the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as a liberation: liberation from the terrors of gods who demanded extortionate sacrifice, liberation from the whims of gods who played games with human lives (remember the Iliad and the Odyssey), liberation from the vagaries of Fate. The God of the Bible was different. And because biblical man believed that he could have access to the one true God through prayer and worship, he believed that he could bend history in a human direction. Indeed, biblical man believed that he was obliged to work toward the humanization of the world. One of European civilization's deepest and most distinctive cultural characteristics is the conviction that life is not just one damn thing after another; Europe learned that from its faith in the God of the Bible.

The proponents of nineteenth-century European atheistic humanism turned this inside out and upside down. Human freedom, they argued, could not coexist with the God of Jews and Christians. Human greatness required rejecting the biblical God, according to such avatars of atheistic humanism as Auguste Comte, Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche. And here, Father de Lubac argued, were ideas with consequences-lethal consequences, as it turned out. For when you marry modern technology to the ideas of atheistic humanism, what you get are the great mid-twentieth century tyrannies-communism, fascism, Nazism. Let loose in history, Father de Lubac concluded, those tyrannies had taught a bitter lesson: "It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God, he can only organize it against man."[4] Atheistic humanism ultramundane humanism, if you will-is inevitably inhuman humanism.

The first lethal explosion of what Henri de Lubac would later call "the drama of atheistic humanism" was World War I. For whatever else it was, the "Great War" was, ultimately, the product of a crisis of civilizational morality, a failure of moral reason in a culture that had given the world the very concept of "moral reason." That crisis of moral reason led to the crisis of civilizational morale that is much with us, and especially with Europe, today.

This crisis has only become fully visible since the end ofthe Cold War. Its effects were first masked by the illusory peace between World War I and World War II; then by the rise of totalitarianism and the Great Depression; then by the Second World War itself; then by the Cold War. It was only after 1991, when the seventy-seven-year-long political-military crisis that began in 1914 had ended, that the long-term effects of Europe's "rage of self-mutilation" (as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called it) could come to the surface of history and be seen for what they were-and for what they are. Europe is experiencing a crisis of civilizational morale today because of what happened in Europe ninety years ago. That crisis could not be seen in its full and grave dimensions then (although the German general Helmuth von Moltke, one of the chief instigators of the slaughter, wrote in late July 1914 that the coming war would "annihilate the civilization of almost the whole of Europe for decades to come"[5]). The damage done to the fabric of European culture and civilization in the Great War could only been seen clearly when the Great War's political effects had been cleared from the board in 1991.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: christianity; civilization; europe
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-153 next last
A long read, but rewarding. Weigel gives us a profound analysis of why Europe is sick and how it affects America.
1 posted on 06/08/2005 12:26:29 AM PDT by Liberty Wins
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

And the liberals in our country are rushing headlong toward the abyss. They think they're soooo very cosmopolitan and sophisticated, don't you know.


2 posted on 06/08/2005 12:58:56 AM PDT by Humidston (Yo, Hitlary... BRING IT ON!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

Please define what the author means by "civilizational morale"?


3 posted on 06/08/2005 1:01:31 AM PDT by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Humidston

You only see what's on the surface of that movement. What's beneath the surface is altogether different and has nothing to do with choice of cocktails or fashion.


4 posted on 06/08/2005 1:03:36 AM PDT by durasell (Friends are so alarming, My lover's never charming...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

Should be retitled "Is Europe Committing Suicide". The answer: most definately YES.


5 posted on 06/08/2005 1:19:28 AM PDT by BringBackMyHUAC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Fenris6

My understanding of what the author meant by "civilizational morale" is that particular culture's will to survive.

Europe seems to have lost the vitality and energy needed to pass their heritage on to the next generation.


6 posted on 06/08/2005 1:55:59 AM PDT by Liberty Wins (Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of all who threaten it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

The Bible is ever true and we reject it and its God to our peril. "Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that he will reap" (Gal. 6:7), is an everlasting warning. When a society kicks God out of its consciousness, He will allow the vacuum to be filled with materialism, violence, and evil of every sort. After centuries of human experience, one would think mankind would get the message, but we persist in our stubborn rebellion and prove the innate power of sin in the human heart, just as the Scripture says. God gave us the way to live and the way to die and live again. Don't blame Him for the mess man makes of the world.


7 posted on 06/08/2005 2:13:25 AM PDT by kittymyrib
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins
There is a reason why the west is in population decline.

Why is everyone so eager to avoid the elephant in the room?

There is a reason.

The reason is 'feminism'.

We are not far behind Europe. Our population is being padded by immigration.

You always knew it, now it has been said.

8 posted on 06/08/2005 2:14:22 AM PDT by glasseye
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins
Is Europe Dying?

That depends on the question.

Noted Christian apologist and scholar Ravi Zacharias once said that Christianity was not dying in Europe. It was already dead there.

When the heart and soul of Europe (its Christian roots) died, the leaves shriveled. What is left is a rotting husk and stump.

9 posted on 06/08/2005 3:11:42 AM PDT by SkyPilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

"Is Europe Dying?"

YES


10 posted on 06/08/2005 4:12:21 AM PDT by Tempestuous
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the problem with Europe is that the smart ones came here. Think of it as a sort of rapture. The enterprising and adventurous, along with those unwilling to put up with whatever awful hand Europe dealt them, packed up their wives and kids and caught the first available ship for America. Left behind were the morally corrupt elitist and aristocratic governments that pretended to be democracies and the poor suckers that trusted them.

We may be seeing the Ayn Rand scenerio being played out in Europe. The capitalists abandoned the continent and look what happened: mass slaughters that would make Robespierre and Cromwell puke.


11 posted on 06/08/2005 4:22:02 AM PDT by bobjam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: glasseye
There is no single cause of Western cultural decline. Modernity (affluence, technology, radical individualism, feminism, nihilism,...) are all centrifugal forces that over time will tend to destroy the cohesive social fabric of a society.
12 posted on 06/08/2005 4:38:55 AM PDT by ZeitgeistSurfer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: kittymyrib

I think this is a huge stretch. Sorry. WW1 was not caused by Nietzsche's philosophy. In fact I would be willing to bet that all of the major protagonists were self-avowed Christians and few had even read the mad Pole, who, after all was not nearly as much a household name then as now. The author really offers no details on the connection between Humanism and everything that followed. To make the strong cause and effect case he points out I think he'd need to do a little more.


13 posted on 06/08/2005 6:39:36 AM PDT by Jack Black
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: glasseye

Ding ding ding. We have a winner. In fact even more then "feminism" I'd offer the wide availability of effect birth control. Where it is available populations decline.


14 posted on 06/08/2005 6:43:09 AM PDT by Jack Black
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

Maybe this is a continuing European cycle.

Remember the Neanderthals also disappeared. Perhaps their loss of civilizational morale resulted in lower birthrates and an eventual extinction.


15 posted on 06/08/2005 9:38:37 AM PDT by wildbill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

Socialism = Europe dieing....


16 posted on 06/08/2005 9:41:13 AM PDT by shield (The Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God!!!! by Dr. H. Ross, Astrophysicist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

Another take on this topic can be found in "Civilization Without Religion?" By Russell Kirk

http://www.townhall.com/hall_of_fame/KIRK/kirk404.html

Excerpt -
"From what source did humankind's many cultures arise? Why, from cults. A cult is a joining together for worship-that is, the attempt of people to commune with a transcendent power. It is from association in the cult, the body of worshippers, that human community grows. This basic truth has been expounded in recent decades by such eminent historians as Christopher Dawson, Eric Voegelin, and Arnold Toynbee.

Once people are joined in a cult, cooperation in many other things becomes possible. Common defense, irrigation, systematic agriculture, architecture, the visual arts, music, the more intricate crafts, economic production and distribution, courts and government -- all these aspects of a culture arise gradually from the cult, the religious de.

Out of little knots of worshippers, in Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, India, or China, there grew up simple cultures; for those joined by religion can dwell together and work together in relative peace. Presently such simple cultures may develop into intricate cultures, and those intricate cultures into great civilizations. American civilization of our era is rooted, strange though the fact may seem to us, in tiny knots of worshippers in Palestine, Greece, and Italy, thousands of years ago. The enormous material achievements of our civilization have resulted, if remotely, from the spiritual insights of prophets and seers.

But suppose that the cult withers, with the elapse of centuries. What then of the culture that is rooted in the cult? What then of the civilization which is the culture's grand manifestation? ...."


17 posted on 06/08/2005 9:56:02 AM PDT by Ua Ruairc of Bréifne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

Another take on this topic can be found in "Civilization Without Religion?" By Russell Kirk

http://www.townhall.com/hall_of_fame/KIRK/kirk404.html

Excerpt -
"From what source did humankind's many cultures arise? Why, from cults. A cult is a joining together for worship-that is, the attempt of people to commune with a transcendent power. It is from association in the cult, the body of worshippers, that human community grows. This basic truth has been expounded in recent decades by such eminent historians as Christopher Dawson, Eric Voegelin, and Arnold Toynbee.

Once people are joined in a cult, cooperation in many other things becomes possible. Common defense, irrigation, systematic agriculture, architecture, the visual arts, music, the more intricate crafts, economic production and distribution, courts and government -- all these aspects of a culture arise gradually from the cult, the religious de.

Out of little knots of worshippers, in Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, India, or China, there grew up simple cultures; for those joined by religion can dwell together and work together in relative peace. Presently such simple cultures may develop into intricate cultures, and those intricate cultures into great civilizations. American civilization of our era is rooted, strange though the fact may seem to us, in tiny knots of worshippers in Palestine, Greece, and Italy, thousands of years ago. The enormous material achievements of our civilization have resulted, if remotely, from the spiritual insights of prophets and seers.

But suppose that the cult withers, with the elapse of centuries. What then of the culture that is rooted in the cult? What then of the civilization which is the culture's grand manifestation? ...."


18 posted on 06/08/2005 9:56:02 AM PDT by Ua Ruairc of Bréifne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jack Black
'...few had even read the mad Pole"

Nietzsche was a German and he was very well known by the German public befrore and during WW1. Many German soldiers carried small copies of Nietzche with them.

19 posted on 06/08/2005 10:11:02 AM PDT by Pietro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

This looks like an excrept from Weigil's new book, "The Cube and the Cathedral". I started reading it last night.


20 posted on 06/08/2005 10:22:21 AM PDT by TruthConquers (Delenda est publius schola)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pietro

From the H.L. Menken biography of Nietzsche:

There were two other children in the house. One was a boy, Josef, who was named after the Duke of Altenburg, and died in infancy in 1850. The other was a girl, Therese Elisabeth Alexandra, who became in after years her brother's housekeeper, guardian angel and biographer. Her three names were those of the three noble children her father had grounded in the humanities. Elisabeth - who married toward middle age and is best known as Frau Förster-Nietzsche - tells us practically all that we know about the Nietzsche family and the private life of its distinguished son. ((1)) The clan came out of Poland, like so many other families of Eastern Germany, at the time of the sad, vain wars. Legend maintains that it was noble in its day and Nietzsche himself liked to think so. The name, says Elisabeth, was originally Nietzschy. "Germany is a great nation," Nietzsche would say, "only because its people have so much Polish blood in their veins.... I am proud of my Polish descent. I remember that in former times a Polish noble, by his simple veto, could overturn the resolution of a popular assembly. There were giants in Poland in the time of my forefathers."


21 posted on 06/08/2005 11:57:45 AM PDT by Jack Black
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Fenris6

Old Europe is in the midst of a potentially devastating spiritual crisis. Nihilism and hedonism may bring some temporary happiness to the body, but in the long run they destroy the soul, and the consequences for society can be severe.


22 posted on 06/08/2005 12:01:47 PM PDT by jpl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Jack Black
BFD.

I have Italian ancestory, of which I'm proud, but I'm still an American. N was a German who was quite popular and widely read prior to and during WW1.

23 posted on 06/08/2005 12:23:55 PM PDT by Pietro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68
Europe's below-replacement-level birthrates have created situations that would have been unimaginable when the 1940s and early 1950s. By the middle of this century, if present fertility patterns continue, 60 percent of the Italian people will have no personal experience of a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle, or a cousin;[1] Germany will lose the equivalent of the population of the former East Germany; and Spain's population will decline by almost one-quarter. Europe is depopulating itself at a rate unseen since the Black Death of the fourteenth century.[2] And one result of that is a Europe that is increasingly "senescent" (as British historian Niall Ferguson has put it).[3]

[...]

Take, for example, the proposal made by a French Jesuit, Henri de Lubac, during World War II. De Lubac argued that Europe's torments in the 1940s were the "real world" results of defective ideas, which he summarized under the rubric "atheistic humanism"-the deliberate rejection of the God of the Bible in the name of authentic human liberation. This, de Lubac suggested, was something entirely new. Biblical man had perceived his relationship to the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as a liberation[;...] biblical man believed that he was obliged to work toward the humanization of the world. One of European civilization's deepest and most distinctive cultural characteristics is the conviction that life is not just one damn thing after another; Europe learned that from its faith in the God of the Bible.

The proponents of nineteenth-century European atheistic humanism turned this inside out and upside down. Human freedom, they argued, could not coexist with the God of Jews and Christians. Human greatness required rejecting the biblical God, according to such avatars of atheistic humanism as Auguste Comte, Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche. And here, Father de Lubac argued, were ideas with consequences-lethal consequences, as it turned out. For when you marry modern technology to the ideas of atheistic humanism, what you get are the great mid-twentieth century tyrannies-communism, fascism, Nazism.

This is why religion in public service matters more than bureaucratic skills.
24 posted on 06/08/2005 12:52:49 PM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: annalex
This is why religion in public service matters more than bureaucratic skills.

You may want to reference this, as by itself, it does not support your conclusion here, except from someone else's subjective analysis. If I understand you correctly, too much freedom is a bad thing. Hopefully you are not suggesting that the Cardinal Laws of the world know better than me how to control my life?

25 posted on 06/08/2005 1:46:59 PM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Jack Black
I would be willing to bet that all of the major protagonists were self-avowed Christians

That would likely be true with respect to Catholic dominated Austria and Hungary, Lutheran dominated Prussia/Germany, Anglican dominated Britain, and Orthodox Russia and Serbia. However, both France and Italy had undergone anticlerical periods prior to the outbreak of World War I. The Catholic Church, which lost the Papal States as part of the unification of Italy, did not recognize the legitimacy of the Italian government. In part due to reaction against the persecution of Alfred Dreyfus, France had entirely severed church-state ties. Although in 1914 the majority of Frenchmen and Italians were Catholic, the leadership of those nations was anticlerical.

26 posted on 06/08/2005 1:59:43 PM PDT by Wallace T.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins
Europeans and Americans usually think of "history" as the product of politics (the struggle for power) or economics (the production of wealth). The first way of thinking is a by-product of the French Revolution; the second is one of the exhaust fumes of Marxism.

Well, no. That first approach to history has antecedents reaching all the way back to Herodotus. And the second approach subsumes the first (at least in the opinion of the Marxists). The sort of demographic approach to history that the author is alluding to here dates at least back to Gibbon and probably far beyond. Not a promising beginning.

27 posted on 06/08/2005 2:11:27 PM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pietro

I think he was born in Prussia.


28 posted on 06/08/2005 3:50:57 PM PDT by Jack Black
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: annalex
This is why religion in public service matters more than bureaucratic skills.

I finally read the entire article at Frontpage.com. I also read all the posts on this thread. No doubt Europe is not repopulating itself, but other than a Catholic theologian's conclusions after discussing what Europe has gone through the past 80 or so years, there seems little justification for requiring Christianity to be imbued into either their governments or ours. As a practicing Catholic, I presume you would abhor birth control measures which seems to be the biggest contributor to that situation.

But on another note, if a majority of Americans do not want religion permeating government, would you accept their judgment?

29 posted on 06/08/2005 4:09:01 PM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68

The secularist project is the culture of death. It is a broad phenomenon, which includes various tools of promiscuity, familiarity with and even desirability of, some death, -- e.g. death on the battlefield, abortion, or euthanasia, lack of interest in procreation, and inability to understand human dignity and freedom. The proposed cure is not letting priests run the government, as you probably imagine, but rather a revolution of the mindset, which cannot happen outside of the church. Catholics grasp the notion instantly, and so does the left.


30 posted on 06/08/2005 5:18:30 PM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: annalex
the proposed cure is not letting priests run the government, as you probably imagine, but rather a revolution of the mindset, which cannot happen outside of the church. Catholics grasp the notion instantly, and so does the left.

I presume then that you do not believe in either democracy or a republican form of government? Do you believe in the freedoms we have here in this country? Do you believe that people have a right to chose for themselves what values they will embrace? These are not frivolous questions because what you appear to want could not ever come from the voting booth, and must therefore, come out of some other means.

31 posted on 06/08/2005 6:45:07 PM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68
The mindset does not come from the voting booth directly, but the place of the Church in the public square -- that is, in public display of religiosity and religious education, -- can be threatened by law. I would advocate abolition of laws that inhibit or dilute Christianity through legal means available to us.

I have doubts regarding the ability of the political system in Europe today to defend or even define liberty. If it rises up to the test, I'd be ecstatic. If it doesn't, and the chances are it won't, then some form of feudalism will replace it in a generation or two.

I think that the outlook for the United States is less bleak, first because it looks like Europe is going to go off the cliff first and we'll have a chance to learn from its demise, and second because the deposit of faith is stronger in the US. But the same virus that has infected Europe today is at work in our own system.

32 posted on 06/09/2005 9:22:44 AM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: annalex
The mindset does not come from the voting booth directly, but the place of the Church in the public square -- that is, in public display of religiosity and religious education, -- can be threatened by law. I would advocate abolition of laws that inhibit or dilute Christianity through legal means available to us.

But the important question remains...Would you defer to the voters for such approval? If not, by what means would you advocate the abolition of such laws?

I have doubts regarding the ability of the political system in Europe today to defend or even define liberty. If it rises up to the test, I'd be ecstatic. If it doesn't, and the chances are it won't, then some form of feudalism will replace it in a generation or two.

What is it about the political system in Europe that you believe works against those who vote there?

33 posted on 06/09/2005 10:54:52 AM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68

I would advocate civil disobedience in matters of Christian conscience, and avoidance of secular institutions. For example, the Vatican asked the Christian public servants in Spain to disobey the orders to marry homosexuals. This is a good start. It is already mandated on the Catholics to avoid secular schools when Catholic schools are available. The Vatican would do well, I think, to remind the Europeans of this obligation.

The defects of the European system are the centralizing trend combined with the secular relativism. This article did a very good job highlighting these defects. They lead to the gradual loss of freedom, even though electoral majorities might be available from time to time to effect these destructive changes.


34 posted on 06/09/2005 11:57:00 AM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: annalex
I would advocate civil disobedience in matters of Christian conscience, and avoidance of secular institutions

I think most folks would not have any heartburn with that, as long as there was no imposition of theological law on anyone not desiring it, and that such civil disobedience did not unfavorably impact others.

The defects of the European system are the centralizing trend combined with the secular relativism. This article did a very good job highlighting these defects.

To be sure, Europe has its problems. The author is hardly an unbiased onlooker however. To reach such conclusions is simply to look deep within your faith and draw upon them as the "obvious" culprits. Given the political, military and economic history of Europe over the past 80 years, anyone could name a dozen reasons justifying where it is today, and they would be just as accurate, and probably far less agenda driven. The history of Europe over the past thousand years has been one of conflict, much of it driven by religious, especially Roman Catholic, objectives. The centralization (I presume you are referring to the EU) is far more the result of a desire for peace and stability than simply falling prey to secular relativism. As for Weigel and his agenda, you can't possibly think Weigel would arrive at any other conclusion, do you?

35 posted on 06/09/2005 1:03:07 PM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68

The symptoms the author names: two world wars, two inhumane philosophies holding the whole continent in their grip for generations, voluntary depopulation to rival the Black Death, creeping Islamic invasion, the culture going defunct -- are civilizational suicide without parallel in history, and it all happened in the past 90 years. Dechristianization of Europe happened roughly at the same time. So, what is your theory?


36 posted on 06/09/2005 1:38:31 PM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: annalex
Dechristianization of Europe happened roughly at the same time. So, what is your theory?

I think you are once again hitting that logic trap. Because there was a drop in the rate of Christians in Europe during these bad times does not automatically make that the culprit, if a culprit exists. There are those who believe that the stable population rates in Europe are the best thing that could happen while Europe sorts out its priorities. Clearly the two specific reasons for the population growth rate reduction are birth control and emigration. Not sure though how that compares to the Black Death.

The author's view that among other things, the culture going defunct is resulting in civilizational suicide is not supported by the facts. Almost every nation in Europe has a higher literacy rate than the US. Whether we approve or not, crime rates are generally lower, and health is generally higher. I'm not aware of any of those countries that are not democratic, so apparently the people are satisfied with the progress.

Europe is a net importer of oil and does have environmental problems, so perhaps a stable or lowered population growth is a good thing, at least from that viewpoint.

It seems clear that the two wars and two tyrannies which left Europe devastated were the principal causes of its current policies toward centralization for security, to restore the environment, ensure economic stability, high education levels, and a healthy and prosperous population. If those goals are destroying a culture that permeated Europe in earlier periods, I see no Europeans shedding many tears. Nor do I hear any of them describing all of this as civilizational suicide. It may turn out that way, because most flirtations with centralized government and socialized economies have failed in the long run. But to believe today's Europe fails when compared to the historical Europe is simply to deny reality.

37 posted on 06/09/2005 3:15:40 PM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68

Indeed time coincidence is not proof. The proof is in the article -- at least in shorthand, and if certain code words such as "culture of death" are not meaningful to a non-Catholic, I can explain.

The literacy rates and such are surface. The overall contentment is in itself a bad symptom. What we have is the two wars, the two totalitarian plagues and voluntary depopulation (it is not population stability -- the numbers, and the comparison to the Black Death are in the article), accompanied by Islamization. Call it what you will, it is unprecedented and requires explanation. You did not offer any.


38 posted on 06/09/2005 3:43:03 PM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: annalex
The proof is in the article -- at least in shorthand, and if certain code words such as "culture of death" are not meaningful to a non-Catholic, I can explain.

I assume you are referring to abortion? Generally liberal abortion laws together with more available birth control and later marriages all have contributed to this declining growth rate.

The literacy rates and such are surface. The overall contentment is in itself a bad symptom

Not sure how you measure an improved civilization if not for literacy rates "and such". Surveys show that most Europeans are happy with their lifestyle, they recognize the dangers inherent in the continual socialized way of life, especially the shorter work week, great retirement, and the lucrative welfare state. Still, none of this reflects any linkage to the lower level of influence of Christianity in Europe.

What we have is the two wars, the two totalitarian plagues and voluntary depopulation (it is not population stability -- the numbers, and the comparison to the Black Death are in the article), accompanied by Islamization. Call it what you will, it is unprecedented and requires explanation. You did not offer any.

What I offered you was a picture of Europe that was somewhat different from that which Mr. Weigel describes. Right or wrong, the lowered population growth in Europe is completely explained. You may call it the culture of death, and as for abortions, I can't disagree with that. But as a Catholic, I presume you would take the same position on birth control, which is a far greater factor in this growth rate. Your author discusses the two wars and the two tyrannies as part of all of this. Neither communism nor Nazism exist for all intents and purposes any more in Europe. Isn't that a good thing? The Black Death killed 30 million people in about 3 years. Please show me statistics reflecting that kind of impact.

As an aside, I recently saw an article that showed a sharp decline in the influence of the Church during and after the plague, because the clergy was telling everyone that it's God's will. Obviously, most people would simply not accept that, then or now.

39 posted on 06/09/2005 5:25:22 PM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68

The culture of death is the culture of human self-ownership, as opposed to the culture of human soul being God's property, so to speak. This opens doors to human sacrifice for some greater human need. Its manifestations are abortion, certainly, but also birth control, dissolution of marriage, wars, state-worship and social experimentation. Godlessness is the common denominator in all this, -- and idea with destructive consequence.


40 posted on 06/09/2005 5:36:02 PM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: annalex
The culture of death is the culture of human self-ownership, as opposed to the culture of human soul being God's property, so to speak

Well I can see why literacy is not something you would speak highly of. A literate society does consider the human body and spirit as its own. Belief in God or whatever higher being one may choose does not require the forfeiture of the independence of the human spirit.

Its manifestations are abortion, certainly, but also birth control, dissolution of marriage, wars, state-worship and social experimentation

I believe human sacrifices go back thousands of years. As for wars, wonder how many were started in God's name? Birth control kills nothing or no one. Most Catholics use birth control regularly. It's here to stay, and I can see nothing that could ever reverse the trend. Not sure I follow state worship. If anything, people today are far more ready to question their governments than ever before. As for social experimentation, again, be specific. I'm sure even you would approve of some of the improvements afforded society in general that might be classified as social experimentation.

Godlessness is the common denominator in all this, -- and idea with destructive consequence.

So you say, but so far, the only thing you can show is a parallel drop in church attendance, not a cause and effect relationship.

41 posted on 06/09/2005 6:06:05 PM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Liberty Wins

Wow. Printed and read this on my busride to work. I must read it again just to take in everything there.


42 posted on 06/09/2005 6:22:52 PM PDT by Jackknife (No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.-MacArthur)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68

I was in a hurry to leave, and since I knew your would have questions, left it rather cryptic.

Literacy is fine by me, but it can lead toward truth or away from it, depending on the reading material. The self-ownership hypothesis is not a fact one picks up from books, -- nor is God-ownership, for that matter. The corollary of self-ownership is that only men can be arbiters of life and death: the society can, through some political mechanism (democratic or not) assign or withdraw the right to life. Typically, it does so in the name of a common good, and what is or is not a common good comes from the prevailing culture. If a right to life is withdrawn, we get a human sacrifice. Whether pagan priests do it or General Moltke is a matter of decorum.

None of that is possible with the same ease if man is seen as an icon of God and as property of God. Sure, Christianity knew wars, but it also developed a doctrine of just war, wages defensively against an armed aggressor. Total war that does not distinguish milatiry and civilian target, like WWII, or a senseless global meatgrinder unrelated to any concept of justice, like the Great War, would be not possible in concept.

What are these human sacrifices that modernity offers? Examples of human sacrifices in the name of common good are, firstly, wars. A common good is understood as national interest, and a war ensues. It is also abortion, -- the common good being the good of the "parents". Communism is a systematic human sacrifice in the name of class war; Nazism -- a human sacrifice in the name of a state-god. Both, of course, are big on social engineering of all kinds: public (mis)education, euthanasia, relocation of nations, state-approved esthetics, and so on. State-worship is a necessary ingredient of these social systems.

It is a hopeful thing that Europe has worked out the worst overt excesses of secular humanism: Nazism and Communism. The culture of death lingers on, because the public square remains empty, churchless. We have a dangerously low trigger for wars; abortion is rampant, appetite for state-run social engineering unsatiable.

Contraception, deliberate childnessness and evisceration of marriage are new phenomena. It is true that no one dies as a result, but, of course, nearly no one gets born either, -- rather than death, we get depopulation. The Christian view of marriage is that it is a indissoluble union of three persons: husband, wife, and God, -- which is ordered toward procreation and is, in the sexual experience, a foretaste of heaven. Contraception (even if not-abortifacient), as well as divorce, is then closing the door not just on procreation but also on God. The contraceptive mentality leads to the notion that marriage is cohabitation, and a child is a failure of birth control. Abortion becomes a way to correct the failure. As long as we view contraception as morally-neutral, we shall not get rid of abortion politically.

Is it getting clearer? It is a big topic. I'll be back tomorrow.


43 posted on 06/09/2005 7:10:13 PM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: annalex
Is it getting clearer? It is a big topic.

Yes, I better understand your thinking. Nonetheless, I do of course, have a few comments and question.

Literacy is fine by me, but it can lead toward truth or away from it, depending on the reading material.

Yes, I purposely did not try and link attitudes and knowledge with literacy. Literacy stands by itself as a critical quality in the development of any peoples.

The corollary of self-ownership is that only men can be arbiters of life and death: the society can, through some political mechanism (democratic or not) assign or withdraw the right to life. Typically, it does so in the name of a common good, and what is or is not a common good comes from the prevailing culture.

I agree with you. Since abortion is the topic, most societies that permit it are doing so in the name of the common good. Since virtually all of these are democracies, don't the people have a right to establish and develop laws which reflect the culture they wish? Specifically, with respect to birth control, how does the Church halt its usage when most Christian religions actually encourage its use? If the people believe it serves the common good, shouldn't they be the arbiters of their own culture? We've discussed Europe, but not Africa. Don't you believe that at least some use of protection is necessary there both to control births in these economically devastated areas, and of course, control of HIV/AIDS, which is the real black death that you compare with Europe?

The self-ownership hypothesis is not a fact one picks up from books, -- nor is God-ownership, for that matter

Where is this reflected officially in Church teachings? The belief that the Creator endowed man with inalienable rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness rings hollow if we are not owners of our own personality and spirit. Finally, if we are not the owners of our spirit, then the concept of a free will is simply words without meaning.

Christianity knew wars, but it also developed a doctrine of just war, wages defensively against an armed aggressor

Do you have a reference for this? How and when was this doctrine developed? Certainly it must have been after the crusades in which many horrendous acts were perpetrated in the name of God. The Holy Roman Empire attempted to consolidate all of Europe as a Christian state. I'm sure that was not defensive, and in doing so, much destruction was wrought. And of course, we now know the the Vatican provided much support to Nazi Germany, which we both agree was a completely horrendous state.

Total war that does not distinguish milatiry and civilian target, like WWII, or a senseless global meatgrinder unrelated to any concept of justice, like the Great War, would be not possible in concept.

I would imagine that the crusades would have used the modern day weapons quite effectively had they had them. With the weapons systems available prior to the 20th century, it was much easier to simply have armies fighting each other without necessarily involving innocent civilians, though we know the crusades certainly made exceptions.

What are these human sacrifices that modernity offers? Examples of human sacrifices in the name of common good are, firstly, wars. A common good is understood as national interest, and a war ensues. It is also abortion, -- the common good being the good of the "parents". Communism is a systematic human sacrifice in the name of class war; Nazism -- a human sacrifice in the name of a state-god. Both, of course, are big on social engineering of all kinds: public (mis)education, euthanasia, relocation of nations, state-approved esthetics, and so on. State-worship is a necessary ingredient of these social systems.

I agree, and Europe was the principal recipient of these social atrocities, which to me explains why Europe is moving in the direction it is, to prevent these kinds of things in the future. As for social re-engineering, yes Europe is doing that (with the approval of its people), and the US is involved in it. But if you think back in history, every change of political leadership which also resulted in basic philosophical changes began a period of social re-engineering. That was the whole purpose of the crusades in addition to recovering lands believed lost to another faith. I'm just saying that this is nothing new.

The Christian view of marriage is that it is a indissoluble union of three persons: husband, wife, and God, -- which is ordered toward procreation and is, in the sexual experience, a foretaste of heaven. Contraception (even if not-abortifacient), as well as divorce, is then closing the door not just on procreation but also on God. The contraceptive mentality leads to the notion that marriage is cohabitation, and a child is a failure of birth control. Abortion becomes a way to correct the failure. As long as we view contraception as morally-neutral, we shall not get rid of abortion politically.

You say Christian, but you really mean Roman Catholic don't you. Most Protestant religions accept and endorse contraception and many accept divorce. So the question comes about: Which of those religious philosophies does God support, and how does anyone know for sure?

As for contraception, the Catholic Church always accepted the rhythm method, which I always found to be hypocrisy of the highest order. Contraception is forbidden because the purpose of sex is procreation, but the Church will look the other way if you attempt to have sex without procreating by using a "natural" method of birth control. Hard to take such things seriously for many. In fact, most Catholics simply ignore this whole requirement.

44 posted on 06/10/2005 5:53:25 AM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68

BTW, PBS has a piece on the Dominionists tonight at 9. Have to check it out.


45 posted on 06/10/2005 7:28:50 AM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68

I won't be able to get to it till sometime during the weekend. Good questions.


46 posted on 06/10/2005 10:04:59 AM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: annalex
I won't be able to get to it till sometime during the weekend. Good questions.

NO problem. I understand. Hopefully you're not taking offense at the discussion. I'm not.

47 posted on 06/10/2005 2:11:45 PM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68
What the author and I perceive as impending disaster in Europe should not negate progress in important yet not critical at this moment areas. Yes, literacy is high, medicine excellent and the continent is largely at peace. The statement that things worked better in the Middle Ages, or even a century ago should not be taken as a desire to forego modern dentistry.

Yes, people have a right to self-govern, as long as man-made laws permitting things that are intrinsically evil are not promulgated. These are the five non-negotiables on the political horizon today that the Church considers intrinsic evil and will fight tooth and nail, regardless of the emerging majorities in favor:

Laws that permit contraception (or pornography, prostitution, adultery, homsexuality) are indeed in a different domain because an argument can be made that these activities do not necessarily violate rights, while banning these activities, no matter how unwise they are, will violate rights. The Church is aware that the distinction between unwise but permissible laws, and impossible laws, such as the above non-negotiables, exists, even though the line is hard to draw sometimes. Overall, we want laws that promote morality and uphold moral order, but we don't want draconian laws that cause resentment. Some things are binding on Catholics only, like the proverbial fish on Friday, and we cannot ask the civil governemnt to follow there. Laws that restrict contraception, pornography, blasphemy, adultery, divorce are on the wish list but we can live with a level of permissiveness we wouldn't have chosen ourselves.

More on contraception. At the present time, only the Catholic Church has a consistent teaching on contraception. The Orthodox, probably, don't disagree with us, but the Orthodox do not have a mechanism of developing a unified political doctrine similar to our papacy. The Protestants taught against contraception till the 30's, then without much debate or explanation stopped their opposition.

We recognize that corner cases exist where the use of a condom might prevent a greater sin. For example, if one is determined to commit a rape, he still might avoid a greater sin of transmitting a deadly infection if he uses a condom. The Church is of the opinion that the use of condoms is of value only after the horse is out of the barn. Therefore we teach that contraception is intrinsically evil, and the only way to progress is through a restoration of the standard of chastity.

The Church considers the rythm method the only one permissible when economic or genetic reasons exist to avoid pregnancy. It is different from artificial methods in that it utilizes the means of sexual life naturally ordained by God, who designed the woman to be periodically infertile.

Regarding inalienable rights, -- the US constitution is light years ahead of the contemporary French anti-clericalism that drove the French revolution. But it is still written from a position of a deist who believes in a clockmaker God who sets the life on earth in motion and does not interfere with it. The Catholic view on the free will is that is it in constant interaction with Divine Grace, which is outpoured from a everpresent loving God. Our freedom is then bracketed by Divine Law, which is summarized in the commandments to love God and love one another. To have laws against murder is not to deny freedom, and so to have a legal system that proclaims God's ownership of human life is not to deny freedom. In fact, when the libertarians maintain that individual rights bracket freedom, we agree with them; but we disagree that these rights can be bargained away by willing dealmakers. That is because these rights are God-given rather than man-asserted.

Real briefly, a few points. Thge Crusades were defensive operation against the expansion of Islam in the traditionally Christian Middle East and North Africa. The concrete grievance was the closing of routes of pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This is not to excuse the behavior of the Crusaders in all cases, but merely to point out that the Crusades do not necessarily negate the doctrin of Just War.

A good primer on Just War is, for example, The Just War Theory

There is probably more in your post that I am leaving unanswered, so feel free to reiterate your questions. I enjoy discussing these things and certainly take no offense.

48 posted on 06/12/2005 11:15:11 PM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: annalex
Thanks for the in-depth reply. Helps me better understand where you are coming from. For me, individual freedom, security, moral enlightenment, and the ability to elect the government of my choosing are paramount issues. Every historical atrocity that has taken place has resulted from failures in these areas. Religion is important to the culture and to the society. But here I draw the line. Government must permit religious freedom, but not itself be governed by religion. If religious freedom permeates the nation, then, by definition, its impact will be seen in a strong and clear moral code in its leaders.

This of course, is where the difficulty arises. At what point does this religious freedom become a legal imperative? The 1st Amendment does little to help. One must read the Federalist Papers to know how strongly the founding fathers felt about the dangers of a mandated religion. Still, as we have discussed before, many of the early states attempted just that by establishing a ruling class composed only of Christians.

I am a newspaper collector and just last evening was looking at a 1822 paper concerning the new town of Austin in Texas. The article said that reports were coming out that only Catholics were allowed to remain; all others were told to leave. Of course at that time Texas was not part of the US, nor even an independent nation, but still....

Yes, people have a right to self-govern, as long as man-made laws permitting things that are intrinsically evil are not promulgated.

Who decides what is intrinsically evil if not for the self-governed? Your list is a popular one among the Christian right, but not inclusive of all things one might consider intrinsically evil, nor would all people consider everything on your list such, or at least would look at exceptions.

The Church is aware that the distinction between unwise but permissible laws, and impossible laws, such as the above non-negotiables, exists, even though the line is hard to draw sometimes.

"Permissible laws" is where the rub comes in. Who should make those determinations in a society founded on the freedom of the electorate? If it's the Church, then which church? And of course, the electorate is not really free, is it? Empowerment is a tremendous word. Many people use it incorrectly. If someone is empowered to make a decision, then they are also empowered to make a decision that others would disagree with, or they are not empowered at all. So it is with an electorate.

Laws that restrict contraception, pornography, blasphemy, adultery, divorce are on the wish list but we can live with a level of permissiveness we wouldn't have chosen ourselves

That's a step in the right direction. But you do know that many on the Christian right would insist that such laws permitting these things should be unconstitutional.

The Church considers the rythm method the only one permissible when economic or genetic reasons exist to avoid pregnancy. It is different from artificial methods in that it utilizes the means of sexual life naturally ordained by God, who designed the woman to be periodically infertile.

For most of us, this appears to be the epitome of hypocrisy. The Church considers sex to be only for procreation, therefore we are dealing with a distinguishing between a purpose and a method. If someone uses any method of birth control, then they are engaging in an act for other than procreation. If the Church accepts that, then the nonacceptance of an artificial means is hypocritical.

More later.

49 posted on 06/13/2005 6:52:09 AM PDT by MACVSOG68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: MACVSOG68
At what point does this religious freedom become a legal imperative?

No one is forced to be Catholic. So there is never a legal imperative. Catholics are informed by their Church and vote accordingly. Disobedience to the Church's teaching is, of course, common as well. The Catholic Church does not want to run the civil government. But it has a position, which comes from its unique insight into the Divine Law. If the government through whatever civil mechanisms, -- elections, courts, constitutions written and rewritten, -- promulgates the laws that are intrinsically evil according to the Church, these laws have to be disobeyed, or one ceases to be Catholic.

The five non-negotiable points represent the current issues where the Church sees the battle line drawn and clarity is needed. It is binding on the Catholics to vote according to that list. Some things are not on the list, not because the Church has no position on them, but because the position is not reducible to a simple unconditional yes or no. For example, the death penalty, progressive taxation, or the war in Iraq are issues where a good Catholic can favor either side (and be with the left or with the right as he does so). Permissive laws regarding pornography, divorce, and birth control are unfortunate but are in the area of personal behavior that tends to only impact the actor.

Let me comment on the Catholic view on the biblical law and its interaction with the civil government. The Church teaches that the law of the Old Testament, -- so called Law of Moses -- was given by God to the Jews in a unique covenantal way. Jesus gave us Christians another set of laws, which are not to be understood legalistically. For example, where the Old Testament commands not to commit adultery -- a legally significant act -- Christ teaches us to keep a chaste attitude, which is not something you can legally prosecute. The Old Testament commandments, even the famous ten of them (they are over 600 in all) are either obeyed because Christ repeated them approvingly (honor your parents), or they are corollary to the two commandments of Christ to love God and to love one another, or we deduce them through reason as a part of the Natural Law (such are the prohibitions on the contraception). Or finally, we have rescinded them as the entire body of Jewish ceremonial and dietetic law. Besides, our attitude is different. For example, both the Jewish law and the Natural Law condemn adultery, but when the Jewish elders were ready with the stones Christ called for charity and self-examination, and removed the matter from the legal environment the Old Testament had placed it.

Not all Christians have the same understanding of the Old Covenant. Some would hold a theonomic view that Christians are to reconstruct a society run by the Jewish Law of the Bible. We consider it heretical because it is pharisaic and condemned by Jesus in principle, -- even when He agreed with the law's intention. Moreover we do not read the Bible in the literalist way as a book of laws, so we could not even agree with the theonomists on what these laws are.

The Church considers sex to be only for procreation, therefore we are dealing with a distinguishing between a purpose and a method. If someone uses any method of birth control, then they are engaging in an act for other than procreation

Regarding the alleged hypocrisy of allowing natrual family planning but not artificial non-abortifacient birth control. The general Christian teaching is that means matter. If a permissible or even laudable result is achieved through the evil means, then the act remains wrong. So we are comfortable allowing for non-procreative sex when prudential reasons exist not to have another child for the sake of marital unity, yet forbidding certain means to that end.

A more narrowly Catholic thing is the thinking in symbols. Barrier contraception is denial of God's design of human sexuality on a symbolic level, as it puts a barrier between what is ordained to be unity. Marital embrace that reflects the unity ont he symbolic level but utilizes the natural fertility cycle is God-fearing simply because it is natural.

50 posted on 06/13/2005 11:54:06 AM PDT by annalex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-153 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson