Skip to comments.Confronted with our own decadence
Posted on 07/30/2005 9:17:44 PM PDT by 1066AD
July 31, 2005
Confronted with our own decadence MINETTE MARRIN
It takes a long time to react fully to a disaster. After the first shock comes a kind of disbelief. So it has been with the two terrorist attacks in London. It is only slowly that people have begun to recover and come to terms with their feelings and it is only slowly that they begin to reflect on the wider implications. Our perspective and our focus need to be sharpened by time.
One of the things that strikes me more, not less, forcibly as time has passed is the contempt that Muslim extremists feel for us. They despise us for our decadence, and I feel more and more forced to accept the painful truth that they have a point. I dont want to exaggerate; there are many things about Britain that are still great. People have shown courage and compassion in response to the bombings, and a restraint that is truly heroic. And the police have discovered and arrested the failed suicide bombers with an efficiency that is anything but decadent.
All the same, it can hardly be denied that with all our celebrated freedom, and all our wealth, we have somehow created a society that is characterised by growing disorder, uncertainty and loss. For a long time now Britain or rather many of its institutions and traditions has been suffering from a loss of nerve and a loss of will which amounts to a national moral funk.
The results are everywhere, in each days news. There is a connection between working-class lager louts looking for a fight and rich kids vomiting and copulating drunkenly in public, both here and on holiday abroad. Standards in public life have fallen very low, whether its the prime ministers wife or a slaggy Hooray Henrietta on a Cornish beach or simply Big Brother.
And there is a connection between all that and the miserable failure of Britains schools; illiteracy here is beyond belief, disruptive behaviour is normal, exams and degrees have been debased and ministers have just had to concede that social mobility once the pride of British society has declined in the past 30 years and has actually fallen since Labour came to power. The education secretary has come up with the contemptible sort of gimmick that passes for a political initiative these days; she has promised (at a cost of £27m) to give every baby a book bag, containing volumes like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, to encourage parents to read with their children.
Whats gone wrong in education is a template for whats gone wrong in other institutions. Hospitals, for instance, are badly run, filthy and in financial trouble, despite all the reforms and all the cash that have been directed at them. Last week, for instance, it emerged that though the NHS desperately needs more doctors, hundreds of junior doctors will find themselves without an NHS job when their contracts end this week; there are not enough jobs for them. The British Medical Association blames this astonishing situation on poor NHS planning.
The immigration system is characterised by incompetence that is the same in kind but perhaps even more astonishing in degree; the truth has finally emerged after years of government and evasion. And there can be very little doubt that the failures of the immigration system have created serious and unnecessary social problems here, including a comfortable environment for terrorists.
Theres a thread running though all this and what has been happening to the army. Whatever the rights and wrongs of human rights legislation it is quite clearly horribly wrong to demoralise officers and other ranks with threats of legal action (other than their own courts martial) at a time when they are facing extreme danger in extreme heat in the service of their country. It is not just wrong. It is decadent.
For if we lack the will to defend ourselves, or rather to defend those who are there to defend us, we are simply rolling over and showing to the worlds scavengers and beasts of prey the soft underbelly of decadence.
It has been decadent to let extremist imams preach hatred and violence on the pavements here. These people could perfectly well have been sent to prison under existing legislation concerning incitements to violence or to racial hatred. But somehow the authorities lacked the will or the conviction to do it.
What connects all these things is an unwillingness, which has developed since the Sixties, to stand up for things that matter. I think it began with an unwillingness to reproach our own children. Some of my parents generation were very lax with their children; people began to speak of the permissive society. And since then parents (including me) have seemed ever less able, or willing, to control and discipline their children. The very word discipline sounds almost prehistoric and possibly abusive.
Yet without proper discipline from parents, children can never develop self-discipline. And it is on self-discipline and self-restraint that a civilised society rests. With a loss of self-discipline goes a loss of standards of behaviour, a loss of efficiency and a loss of a sense of what matters. There is a very painful tension between instinct and society; that is the tragic discontent of civilisation, repression its painful price. The right balance is hard to find, and harder to maintain. But we can see today in Britain and in the West generally what happens when that balance fails.
I dont suggest that this loss of conviction affects everyone. Yet it has to be said that almost nobody has really done much to resist what has been done to our institutions and our manners. There has been a long march through the institutions of a nameless and shapeless ideology, misleadingly called political correctness. It is far more important and powerful than that name suggests and it is largely responsible for the long decay of the institutions and has contributed a lot, indirectly, to the decadence I'm talking about.
Multiculturalism, for instance, has been deeply demoralising to all kinds of people in all kinds of ways, undermining their values, undermining a sense of common purpose, above all undermining the confidence of the host country. Even leading multiculturalists now, belatedly, agree on that.
Despite all this, I do, now for the first time, feel a faint glimmer of optimism. One of the responses to the bombings might be a new awareness of what matters most, and how best to defend it. If that means a new sense of purpose and a new sense of conviction, then perhaps some good will have come out of this evil.
There has been a long march through the institutions of a nameless and shapeless ideology, misleadingly called political correctness. It is far more important and powerful than that name suggests and it is largely responsible for the long decay of the institutions and has contributed a lot, indirectly, to the decadence I'm talking about.
Some interesting parallels here tho' we are not so far gone (yet). However, I'm basically very optimistic for us tho' there's work to be done here too.
Wow! This is a keeper. Thank you so much for posting it.
What the author seems to be describing is degeneracy
And I wonder where socialism fits in the mix, the author blames PC and multiculturism but what about the economic system itself?
"We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us"
Multiculturalism is baboonery.
The ACLU with its Christian hating girl/boys and boy\girls will not be pleased.
Or, the idolatry of perversion...
Might be an English usage?
/heavy sarcasm off
Save to read later.
That's because Cultural Marxism HAS been planned for a long time, since at least of the 1920s and Antonio Gramsci's famous tracts on how to destroy Western Culture, particularly the family. Such can be easily ascertained on any university campus.
Where has she been?
Today we are in a very literal war of good versus evil, a religious war from without and a moral war that threatens us from within.
How are we to defeat a band of deluded zealots
-- who state openly that their goal is to kill as many of us as possible,
-- who consider us wicked and soft,
-- who memorize long passages in the Koran, their "holy book,"
-- who worship five times a day,
-- who are willing to die to please their false god,
when our society is made up of people
-- who debate how to treat our enemy kindly rather than how to stop him,
-- who see themselves as morally superior but spend their wealth on crude and rude pleasure,
-- who may acknowledge that there is a God, but expect no negative consequences when they ignore Him,
-- who may own a Bible but don't read it,
-- whose spiritual life consists of partying on Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday,
-- whose primary aim in life is to be comfortable and happy.
In no way are we responsible for the enmity and hatred that these creatures feel for us, but our society has deteriorated to the point that we lack the moral compass and collective will to defeat them. We are too busy fighting each other.
Did our fathers and grandfathers of the Greatest Generation risk their lives fighting fascism so we could live fat, lazy and oblivious to duty? Did young men die on Omaha Beach so Owen Wilson can entertain us with vulgar behavior and convince us that it is amusing? So that we interpret freedom to mean the right to use four-letter words and make "Desperate Housewives" the most honored show on television?
What would they think if they watched how we live our lives, both our actions and our words? How cheap have we made their sacrifice? The freedom they bought allows us to do or say anything we want, to choose depravity, completely dishonoring our heritage. Half the country stands sniping at our leadership so that we just look divided and weak to the enemy.
When did so many Americans become too cool -- or cowardly -- to stand up for high moral and spiritual standards? Is it a wonder that dedicated Muslims see us as an unprincipled society of hypocrites? Do we even recognize our hypocrisy? Do we have the courage to turn back and take a stand for right?
Our society has two choices: get serious, or be destroyed. If we ignore them, I question whether our nation can retain our God-given freedom.
Excellent article by this author. He/she (not sure by the first name) is telling it like it is. This article hit the nail on the head. Discipline is one of the very first things we should be taught. Without it we're like chickens with no bones. This author has spoken for millions upon millions of us. Thanks to him. I'm passing it along to everyone I know.
"Whats gone wrong in education is a template for whats gone wrong in other institutions."
Wow - Talk about not wanting to look too deep. How about looking at the Church as a template for what's happening around you. How about if you take away morality and replace it with moral relativism then people will do what the hell they feel and drag the whole country down with it.
Even the best parents nowadays are fighting a war with the culture and very often with their own kids to engender any sort of societal values let alone to be able to Love your neighbour as yourself.
You seem to have become pretty well practiced at the way of life of being unwilling to defend yourselves, as I have learned, Great Britain begged the citizens of the USA and the NRA for small arms- civilian rifles with which to defend yourselves in WWII- (which we supplied in the millions)- That wasn't really so long ago- And then your Crown, or whomever, proceded to disarm the citizenry( sic) SUBJECTS AGAIN, and after the USA bailed your country out, then your gov't proceded to disarm your Police force? What say, not politically correct, eh? Who you gonna call this time, ghostbusters? By the way, Thanks for the assistance in the Mideast, that is truly appreciated!
This, too is a keeper!
The ultimate result of hedonism.
Talk about hitting the nail straight on the head! It's time for all of us to remember who and what we are. If you lose yourself, you are nothing.
In some ways we have even worse social problems than Britain, but there are differences. I see many similarities though. The entire west has been slouching towards Gomorrah.
It was a good article. What disturbs me is this is what it takes to wake some people up, and we should have been cleaning up our own act, as the writing has been on the wall since the 60's for those with eyes to see.
Those thirld-world thugs are suffering from culture shock. They can't handle living in a free society and want the entire planet to knuckle under to their religion. The decadence is just an excuse. If it wasn't that, it would be something else. That's how they've spread their culture in their own unfit-to-live-in countries, through conquest and violence.
Even dogs know better than to bite the hand that feeds them.
That's a good one...
Bork spoke of it eloquently in "Slouching towards Gomorrah"
I fully agree with your comment. A lot of this does apply to the USA as well. I think what has saved us so far is that there is still a strong religious streak in the USA while the UK has become almost a pagan country (except for its Muslims.)
Moral Absolutes Ping.
A pretty good article, although long on generalities and short on specifics.
Some good comments on the thread.
In other words, there are the Islamofascists, and then there is the enemy within.
Freepmail me if you want on/off this pinglist.
moral clarity alert
Are you sure that you are not borrowing your usage of the term from musical, artistic or literary criticism, or perhaps scientific and social-political jargon of the late 19th century? Some ill-considered scientific and social-politiacl fashions of the late 19th century use "degeneracy" to connote "avatarism" or "primitivism," which is a usage that is at least closer to the original meaning, however loony their application of the concept might be.
No, The author is quite right here: Decadence is taken to mean "a descent to a lower level or condition, and generally speaking this usage is synoynmous with Degeneracy in commom practice. In modern usage, Decadence tends to also carry the connotation of greater primal causality than Degeneracy, as in the assertion: "Their degeneracy reflects the decadence of their Civilization,"" but this a somewhat inaccurate usage.
Degeneracy implies a return to a earlier, more primitive condition, whereas Decadence denote a state of rot or decay (from the Latin: dēcadere). This is true in both literary and technical usage.
So the usage in this article is quite correct and apt, and your usage - for once - seems quite eccentric.
The author doesn't seem to realize that his criticisms apply to Neville Chamberlain's England, to much of Victorian England, to all previous Englands.
Imperial England was the creation of a few brave men. The mass has never amounted to much.
In other words, there are the Islamofascists, and then there is the enemy within.
The Islamofascists will be easy to beat but the Enemy Within has a death grip on the culture...
Good and useful introspection regarding British life and culture. Even accepting all of these as true, it is nonetheless obvious that today's British and Western culture in general, with all of these flaws, is immeasurably ahead of and more desirable than islamic culture. Drunkeness and fornication are to be greatly preferred to honor-killings, juridical amputations and murderous fatwas
Hillary's been reading the tea leaves. Pretty soon, she'll come out against mindless political correctness and multiculturalism, wink, wink. (It Takes a Village will still remain a classic, however.) We'll hear more about her attempt to join the Marines in diapers as she beats the drums for more money for security at home. At least around her house in Chappaqua.
Degeneracy also has the meaning of a progressive return to a less organized state so that vitality is lost.(An analogy to biological/medical usage). Eccentric usage-possibly, but the meaning was defined. People know what is meant. These people no longer have the energy to clean their hospitals.
Pshaw! We had the same glimmer of hope post 9/11 that the world would finally come to it's senses... and it did... for, what? 3 months maybe? The only hope the UK has of maintaining this post-bombing glow of re-discovering themselves, their national pride, etc. is if the whackos continue to bomb every couple of weeks (IMHO).