Skip to comments.The Spiritual Malaise That Haunts Europe (World-weary to the point of extinction)
Posted on 05/01/2005 7:30:19 AM PDT by quidnunc
America's "Europe problem" and Europe's "America problem" have been debated for years. The debate is usually framed in terms of policy differences: over prosecuting the war on terrorism; over the United Nations' role in world affairs; over the Kyoto Protocol on the global environment; over Iraq. The differences are real. But attempts to understand them in political, strategic and/or economic terms alone will ultimately fail because such explanations don't reflect the human texture of contemporary Europe.
Europe, and especially Western Europe, is suffering from a crisis of civilizational morale. The most dramatic manifestations are not Europe's fondness for governmental bureaucracy or its devotion to fiscally shaky healthcare schemes and pension plans, its lagging productivity or the appeasement mentality that some leaders display toward Islamist terrorism. No, the most dramatic manifestation is the brute fact that Europe is depopulating itself.
Europe's below-replacement-level birthrates have created situations that would have been unimaginable when the European Common Market was being created in the 1950s. As recent demographic studies show, by the middle of the 21st century, 60% of Italians will have no personal experience of a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle or a cousin; 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 in numbers greater than at any time since the Black Death of the 14th century. 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 serious is afoot.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
A great answer...but the problem is not moral relativism..but socialism..something I think is theft myself! It would be great if they would let go of the welfare state and have the right to make up their own minds what they would like to do with the money they earned. That is the reason why I would want to do away with socialism..not because of declining birth rates...but because of the belief that people have the right to do with what they please with what they earn. Let us cut down the welfare state to a food, clothing, shelther, health care, no choices on what they get, a bare bones matter, a safety net. Finally, we agree on something!
In Soviet Russia..one size fits all..OR ELSE!
Possibly because we're developing to a society where the only people who can afford to have multiple children are either the wealthy and those so poor that they know they're kids can get welfare (or where "fathers" recklessly sire a bizillion children by a bizillion different women). The best the middle class can seem to hope for right now is to have two or so children and try to do the best they can for them. I am an only child myself.
The other option for the middle class, of course, is to buy smaller houses, not insist on living in a trendy suburb, not buying all designer clothing, not buying a brand new SUV, and maybe (God forbid) going without cable television, so as to be able to put more money into one's family.
Of course, Pat, and whoever else has said it, is right about the demise of faith causing a demise in population. Secularization and the marketing/mass media culture have knocked our priorities way out of whack. We are only still ahead of the Europeans because we have a greater vestage of our Christian heritage left. If that ever goes away, we'll go down the tubes twice as fast due to our rampant materialism.
"Let us cut down the welfare state to a food, clothing, shelther, health care, no choices on what they get, a bare bones matter, a safety net."
I thought Libertarians wanted to completely cut the welfare system, or have I misunderstood something? I ask this not to be snarky or sarcastic, but because I'm genuinely curious. I don't know that much about the Libertarian party yet. I'm asking you because I noticed your tagline. Thanks.
It is my observation that those who fear the religious right most have no version of truth of their own.
I suppose I am more of a moderate libertarian...
We can know the truth. Read, "Denying The Obvious And Becoming Stupid..."
with low morale don't engage
Europe has finished
or is close to finishing
many of these things.
When is the last time
the US beat eco-nuts
and did something cool?!
Swiss cut tunnel under Alps
GENEVA - With a final blast through mountain granite, Swiss engineers linked Europe's north and south by completing drilling Thursday for the world's longest overland tunnel - a cavernous shaft that burrows under the Swiss Alps and will shave about an hour off the travel time for skiers in Germany heading down to resorts near the Matterhorn.
The 21-mile Loetschberg tunnel is the latest in a string of engineering feats - from the Channel Tunnel linking France to England to a bridge spanning Sweden and Denmark - that are breaking down natural barriers in an increasingly borderless Europe. ...
"A comparison between Teddy Roosevelt's America when the WASP ethos was in flower with George Bush's relativistic, "One Nation under Therapy" America is striking."
So true. Even in the Fifties and Sixties that ethos at its best was still evident. In our small town when I was growing up there was an elderly Protestant man, a retired lawyer, who used to shovel the sidewalk in front of his house after every snowfall. Then without fail he would shovel the sidewalk of the two spinsters across the street. He was a good neighbor, who embodied the WASP ethos in the most quiet, unassuming way, a real gentleman.
"I feel that I have to hammer my point across"
Moral relativists become violent so easily:)
Wow, a lawyer doing manual labor (same could be said for a lot of "professionals"). Sounds like a very honorable man. Sadly, I think that is largely a bigone era.
Well, no, it wouldn't. In 1005, Islam was by far the strongest power in the Mediterranean, and was was only a few decades away from dealing the final blow to the Byzantine Empire in Asia. The Muslims occupied most of Spain, all of Sicily, and parts of southern Italy.
You Say "Geez..you social conservatives fail to see any gray areas. There is no objective morality...but knowing that...we as a people should do the best we can."
Ahban says: Why should we do the "best" we can? If there is no objective morality, where do you get off claiming there is a "best"? The rational person who really believes there is no objective morality will indeed do the best they can - to advance their own interests no matter how badly others get hurt.
You are mistaken when you say that religious conservatives have no gray areas. As the scripture says, "one man regards one day above another, another man regards every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind." Some things are gray, but not all things. It is instead you who leave no room for gray areas with the claim that their is no objective morality. That is a claim that leaves all black, with no area of light at all.
You say, "Wouldn't you like everyone to have a chance to be happy? So using our combined intellects..let us make a system which maximizes the opportunity! What we need is a set of rules that is flexible and inclusive without turning humankind to a primal survival test."
Ahban says: I would like everyone to have a chance to be happy. I only desire this because I believe in an objective moral order that has love of neighbor as a central theme. Lacking this belief, I would have no reason to "like everyone to have a chance to be happy". My primary concern would be to insure my own happiness, even at other's expense.
As for your appeal to "use our combined intellects" to make a system that "maximizes this opportunity", I would say that this has been tried many times. Each and every time it has been tried outside a framework of objective truth, from the French Revolution, to Marx, to Hitler, to Pol Pot, it has resulted in a totalitarian nightmare. Idealistic dreamers like yourself may start such revolutions, but they are soon supplanted by remorseless thugs who take the philosophy of moral relativism to its logical conclusion.
You say,"What we need is a set of rules that is flexible and inclusive without turning humankind to a primal survival test."
Why is that what we "need"? Why don't we need a set of rules that allows for the benefit of the Master Race (the one we belong too of course) at the expense of "lesser people's"? What if I think I am the fittest? Why don't I want to turn humankind into a primal survival test? Isn't that going to make the race stronger? Why is allowing weakness to multiply good? Why do I need to be "inclusive" towards people I don't like? Because leftwingrightwingchickenwing says so?
You say, "True liberty is allowing for moral relativism. True liberty is about making up your own mind about what is right for you and your own life only. Let me stress that, You and your own life only!"
Ahban says: Negative. True liberty is the freedom to exercise one's God given rights. The definition you give is for "license". The Founders of this country knew the difference. They knew that rights came from God. License does not produce liberty, but slavery. As individuals fall to whatever vices tempt them, they then will victimize others in an effort to sustain their vices. Eventually everyone in this "free" society becomes a prisoner as things soon descend into law-of-the-jungle style anarchy.
Rights are a gift of God, and therefore liberty cannot mean the freedom to do whatever destructive thing you care to do, but rather the freedom to exercize your God-given rights. The difference between these two defintions of liberty is the difference in outcome between the American Revolution and the French Revolution (the Jacobian Terror, followed by dictatorship to restore order).
You say:"I don't know why I dignified such an oft-regurgitated response with a reply of my own..."
Ahban says: You haven't dignified it with a response of your own. You are reading right out of the handbook. To find your self, first find your Maker.
I don't get how he tries to tie the decrease in population with spiritual decay? What does one have to do with the other? Is he saying you cannot be Christian and have only one child or no child?
Most of his other arguments don't hold water either. At the time of WWI and WWII Europeans were much more religious (spiritual) than today. It is only after the sixties that the turn against religion took place. So blaming those wars on lack of spirituality is bogus.
And if you go back to when the church truly had a stranglehold on people - the middle ages - and rightly called the "dark ages", it was almost a constant state of war and those that survived the wars and the pestilences lived in ignorance and servitude.
Now, I'm not against religion or spirituality per se - it would be totally illogical, after all everyone has a belief system whether one is conscious of it or not.
The real issue is whether a country should have a defining religion. I think I'm safe in saying that the vast majority of the people would say no. When and where it has been tried, those countries have ended up as failures (eventually). Typically religion provides a strong initial impetus for advancements, but all historical examples show that eventually that religion itself will limit the advance and eventually is overtaken by external forces.
Still a country needs to have a set of common values it believes in. It is the thing that defines and holds it together. In dictatorships, such as Cuba it is the strong man that defines those values, in theocracies such as Saudi Arabia and Iran it is the clergy that does that, in western democracies, it is the majority (heavily influenced by the elites) that dictates it.
These set of values are extremely important to the nation. More than anything else, it determines how successful the nation and its people will be and even whether it will survive (USA vs USSR, England vs Nazi Germany, etc).
So in trying to determine what is wrong with Europe the first place I would look is its current value system. Europe values currently consist of multiculturalism, environmentalism and guilt over its past sins and current success.
Of these the value that makes them the most vulnerable is the institutionalization of multiculturalism. If one spent just a few minutes thinking about multiculturalism one would come to the inescapable conclusion that it is an illogical, untenable and suicidal idea. Basically it says that it is impossible to determine if one culture (i.e. value system) is better than any other, therefore they're all the same and they should all be tolerated. But what happens when a new culture comes in your midst that does not share that view? Since you're a multiculturalist you must tolerate it. They on the other (not believing in multicult) will not tolerate yours and "knowing" that theirs is superior, will do anything in their power to destroy the other culture and kill or convert the "heathens".
So that is what's wrong with Europe. Not that they are not religious (they do have strong beliefs) - but that their beliefs, multiculturalism and their guilt, are causing them to commit suicide!! It's a self defeating belief!! The guilt allows the "poor" people that they "mistreated" in the past to come in by the millions, multiculturalism leaves them defenseless against the passionate beliefs of the invading hordes. What stupidity... or is it insanity!!
They're beginning to see it, but are not ready to change their beliefs, yet. So, caught between a rock and a hard place - they become despondent. Whether they'll come out of it, only time will tell. We face the same danger!
Ahban said: Why should we do the "best" we can? If there is no objective morality, where do you get off claiming there is a "best"? The rational person who really believes there is no objective morality will indeed do the best they can - to advance their own interests no matter how badly others get hurt
I say: I have always said that religious conservatives would always go well with socialism...that is a collectivist statement if I ever had heard one! Quite honestly, we do not have responsiblities than the ones we choose! If you don't like people who only think of themselves..don't associate with them and encourage others to do the same. Having free will, they have the right to be as selfish as they please. This may seem scary to you...but the world is chaos...not only as reflected in the second law of thermodynamics...but as in sociology...where it is showing how wishy-washy reality really is!
Ahban said: You are mistaken when you say that religious conservatives have no gray areas. As the scripture says, "one man regards one day above another, another man regards every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind." Some things are gray, but not all things. It is instead you who leave no room for gray areas with the claim that their is no objective morality. That is a claim that leaves all black, with no area of light at all.
I say: Realize that morality is a social construct created by humans...not created by God...created by humans...I know that your belief in God makes you happy...and I do not want to take that away from you...but what makes you happy makes other people misery...so I suppose you can say some people prefer another shade of grey over another...some people prefer darkness to light...and there isnt anything wrong with that in terms of personal conduct. So either way...please respect scripture and don't put personal beliefs in legislation.
Ahban said: I would like everyone to have a chance to be happy. I only desire this because I believe in an objective moral order that has love of neighbor as a central theme. Lacking this belief, I would have no reason to "like everyone to have a chance to be happy". My primary concern would be to insure my own happiness, even at other's expense.
I say: Well it appears that you only want yourself to be happy...but I thought you were against people on thinking of themselves. What you see as objective morality is certainly debatable. The fact that it is so easily debatable makes it cease to be objective! Anyway, you key mistake is insinuatign that happiness is objective, a totally laughable premise. Happiness is subjective and its definition is completely unique to each person..as is morality. We are all here to pursue our own version of happiness and self-gratification. Pol Pot and Mother Teresa may have had very different matters of self-gratification, but they certainly got their own version of happiness of their acts!
Ahban says: As for your appeal to "use our combined intellects" to make a system that "maximizes this opportunity", I would say that this has been tried many times. Each and every time it has been tried outside a framework of objective truth, from the French Revolution, to Marx, to Hitler, to Pol Pot, it has resulted in a totalitarian nightmare. Idealistic dreamers like yourself may start such revolutions, but they are soon supplanted by remorseless thugs who take the philosophy of moral relativism to its logical conclusion.
I say: That is utter bs...they didn't work outside the framework of objective truth..they created their own...just like the writers and the numerous upon numerous of translators of the Bible have. My ideas are to limit government power...by only having them deal in matters of non-consensual violence, fraud, theft, infrastructure, environmental, and bare bones welfare. Turn government into a debating society of the ever-evolving meaning of those things. You may find the Bible as a source of freedom, but I see it as a totalitarian document if it is included in government as has been document during the days the Catholic Church basically ruled Europe, and when Jews and Muslims were highly taxed in Spain during the inquisition, and the Salem Witch Trials. Under your plan, one is right..under mine both are.
Ahban said: Why is that what we "need"? Why don't we need a set of rules that allows for the benefit of the Master Race (the one we belong too of course) at the expense of "lesser people's"? What if I think I am the fittest? Why don't I want to turn humankind into a primal survival test? Isn't that going to make the race stronger? Why is allowing weakness to multiply good? Why do I need to be "inclusive" towards people I don't like? Because leftwingrightwingchickenwing says so?
I am talking about the public sector!!!! People can discriminate all they like in their private lives, they will just have to pay the consequences from society's reaction. And it seems that people seem to ignore that fact. If you feel that you are part of a master race, you are free to start that revolution on the grass roots level..but keep it in the private sector as with my plan the public sector "government" in its small role will remain inclusive.
Ahban said: Negative. True liberty is the freedom to exercise one's God given rights. The definition you give is for "license". The Founders of this country knew the difference. They knew that rights came from God. License does not produce liberty, but slavery. As individuals fall to whatever vices tempt them, they then will victimize others in an effort to sustain their vices. Eventually everyone in this "free" society becomes a prisoner as things soon descend into law-of-the-jungle style anarchy.
I say: If you are in fact a by the word fundamentalist...I think that you would probably be a basket case. What is wrong with personal vice? Nothing! Did the Bible have some good laws that we should keep? Yes! Does that fact justify all the needless ones that should be on public record..no? God says "I change not," and yet the Catholic church and its protestant brethern keep on amending the Bible to their preferences..obeying what God said when he basically said case close I aint changin...here are some little practiced nuggets that are spoken of in the bible...
Leviticus 11:9-12 says:
9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
shrimp..crustaceans! Up their with homosexuality!!!!
Here is a fun one from Deuteronomy!
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
yes! stone your unruly children death. God says its A-OK!
and my personal favorite...
1 Corinthians 11:7
A man ought not to cover his head, [ Or 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with long hair dishonors his head. 5 And every woman who prays or prophesies with no covering (of hair) on her head dishonors her headshe is just like one of the shorn women. 6 If a woman has no covering, let her be for now with short hair, but since it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair shorn or shaved, she should grow it again. 7 A man ought not to have long hair] since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.
1 Corinthians 11:14
Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him
Long hair on a man..a disgrace to God! Sounds eerily similar to what is happing in North Korea..and guess who had long hair if those pictures of him were correct....
Basically...just respect the fact that some people don't believe rights are god given..that religion is okay but just not for them. Keep your personal conduct and beliefs out of law and I won't bother you.
Wow, Gritty. You said it all here. This, indeed, is the Nitty Gritty on the situation in pathetic Old Europe.Europe is depopulating itself in numbers greater than at any time since the Black Death of the 14th centuryThe Green Movement is HUGE in Europe. Isn't this exactly what they are after - both here and in the USA? The only problem is, they (we?) aren't making plans to keep out the prolific Muslims who will turn the continent into an immense garbage dump with soaring empty cathedrals turned into public latrines.
But, one way or the other they'll get their wish. The European population is heading into free fall - first by the birthrate and then by the sword. The only question remaining is, will the aged Europeans all be euthanised painlessly by their Muslim populations or will they simply slit their throats and quickly put an end to their secularized welfare state?
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