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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Gab@StFerdinandIII -

Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Niall Ferguson, 'Civilization' and the collapse of Europe

Culture is King. Post Modern Europe – now what ?

by StFerdIII

 This is a great book which clearly lays out why the West was and still is at least for now, better than the Rest. Western civilization is clearly superior – or was if you are discussing Europe. An important basis for this civilizational pre-eminence was of course the Judeo-Christian cultural construct, which over the 'Middle Ages' led to developments and innovations in every sphere of life. The rational 'Enlightenment' [which was irrational as well]; and the scientific-industrial evolutions had to come from somewhere. Voltaire and Watts did not spring out of the weeds of ignorance and darkness. If you believe that culture is king [and it most certainly is], then Ferguson's linkage of post-Christian Europe with its financial, social and civilizational decline is hardly surprising or controversial. But few make this connection.

Niall Ferguson to his credit recognizes the role faith plays in both the development of reason, and of the political-economy and its social-environmental evolution. His comments are worth reading at some length. On page 264 he gets to the crux of the matter as to why the West is better than the Rest [to quote his own depiction]:

Religions matter. In earlier chapters we saw how the 'stability ethic' of Confucianism played a part in imperial China's failure to develop the kind of competitive institutional framework that promoted innovation in Western Europe....But perhaps the biggest contribution of religion to the history of Western civilization was this. Protestantism made the West not only work, but also save and read. The Industrial Revolution was indeed a product of technological innovation and consumption.”

All true. Though Weber's Protestant read, work and save ethic, is indeed a prime source of European dynamism it must also be said that the Catholic Church saved Europe and should be given joint credit for its rise to dominance. The Roman church developed the economy, fought wars of liberation and defence against Islam [including the Crusades which bought Europe 500 years of time to develop]; stimulated the creation of schools, universities, enquiry and debate; and financed science and art. The balance sheet of the Catholic Church is usually taught as a negative. This is nonsense. Even with the sordid foibles, corruption and inquisitorial nature of the Church, its influence in European development is undeniably positive and decisive.

So where is the vaunted socialism of post-modern Europe today? The nirvana of collectivism, unions, 30 hour work weeks, endless holidays and partying, no children, kids in university until the age of 30, and people retiring from their 'job' at 55? Back to Mr. Ferguson, the sceptical Scot:

Europeans today are the idlers of the world. On average, they work less than Americans and a lot less than Asians...For example 54 per cent of Belgians and Greeks aged over fifteen participate in the labour force, compared with 65 per cent of Americans and 74 per cent of Chinese.....The average German worked just 1437 hours – fully 16 per cent less [than the average American].”

Why doesn't Europe work, why does it strike, moan about vacations and want the government to ensure the individual's 'existence'? Why read, work or save if life has no meaning ?

Europeans not only work less; they also pray less – and believe less.....4 per cent of Norwegians and Swedes and 8 per cent of French and Germans attend a church service at least once a week, compared with 36 per cent of Americans, 44 per cent of Indians, 48 per cent of Brazilians....God is 'very important' for just one in ten German and Dutch people; the French proportion is only slightly higher. By comparison, 58 per cent of Americans say He is very important in their lives.”

When there is no higher meaning in life, and no metaphysical suppression of ego's and narcissism, the rest of cultural decline follows. Twittering micro-messaging is a symptom of such a society. Completely and utterly self-absorbed. Such a culture is not going to go out and conquer the world; invent the unimaginable, or dare to be different. Society simply devolves into a competition for government controlled 'spoils' and favours.

Britain is already one of the most godless societies in the world, with 56 per cent of people never attending church at all – the highest rate in Western Europe....More than two-thirds of respondents [to a survey for a documentary on British TV], said they recognized no clearly defined moral guidelines, and fully 85 per cent of those aged under twenty-four.”

When most of your young, after passing through state indoctrination schools, believe that morality is 'relative' and that no truth really exists your civilization is finished. No need to read, work or save if there is no permanence in temporal reality, or karma in the world of higher metaphysics and morality.

The Nietzchean ideal of the eugenically defined 'superman', premised on the egotistical self obsessed with pleasure, sex and the 'now'; rendered mainstream by Darwin and Freud finds its echo in pop-culture, the disaster of the 60s revolution and that interminable nitwit John Lennon:

Who killed Christianity in Europe, if not John Lennon? Was it, as Weber himself predicted, that the spirit of capitalism was bound to destroy its Protestant ethic parent, as materialism corrupted the original asceticism of the godly (the 'secularization hypothesis')?

If life has no meaning why bother to work read, work or save?

Or perhaps to have a purpose in life, the cult of something or other fills the post-Christian vacuum. GlobaloneyWarming in which a natural trace chemical, 95 % emitted by Gaia is 'changing' the climate – much to the delight of tax and regulatory happy politicians and their associates in the Trillion dollar 'Green Tech' scam fills your spiritual need. Platitudes, stupidities, bumper stickers and tshirts replacing the hard work of real faith.

Or maybe you convert to Islam, because you find it exotic to 'Kill, execute, crucify, and humiliate the Christians...' [Sura 5:33] destroying your own 'execrable, racist, fascist, and disgusting culture'; and to have the opportunity to mumble your prayers in Arabic a language you don't understand and become part of an exclusive and separate 'umma' or club destined to rule the world – or so spake the Allah.

Then again you can rage against the oppressive 'Capitalist' machine and join the Occupy Wall Street protests, screaming that you want someone else to pay your useless university degree, guarantee you a job, and secure your future from any risk or unsettling effort.

If that requires too much work – protesting and passing drugs around in public spaces does consume calories – you can worship the great man Obamed, the new prophet, the divinity of hope and change, the most important creation since Muhammad. Elect Obama and pray to the gods of national socialism. Instant moral superiority.

What a confusion. We have just one life and so many cults to choose from.

Christianity is dead in Europe. Europeans have derided, marginalized and ridiculed the very basis for their rise to global dominance. Maybe this is why Europe is bankrupt.


Article Comments:

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Books on Civilization

11/9/2022:  'Religion and the Rise of Western Culture' – Christopher Dawson

11/5/2014:  "The Birth of the West: Rome, Germany, France, and the Creation of Europe in the 10th Century.”

8/14/2014:  Christine Garwood “Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea”

2/19/2014:  'Meism' and Islam; 'Christianity, Islam and Atheism' by William Kilpatrick (2)

2/18/2014:  Christianity, Islam and Atheism by William Kilpatrick

4/24/2013:   Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church by George Weigel

4/8/2013:  Scranton and the 'Velikovsky Heresies' - a challenge to the cult of 'science'.

1/3/2013:  'Why Capitalism', by Alan Meltzer

12/10/2012:  Medieval Technology and Social Change, Lynn White Jr., Oxford Press, 1968

12/4/2012:  Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity, by Michael Coren

11/14/2012:  Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem by Jay W. Richards

10/9/2012:  Caravaggio, A life sacred and profane  Andrew Graham-Dixon - fantastic.

9/22/2012:  Book Review: Michael Coren, 'Why Catholics are Right'.

9/3/2012:  Book Review, Why the West is Best, by Ibn Warraq, Part Two

8/28/2012:  Book Review, Why the West is Best, by Ibn Warraq, Part One

5/22/2012:  The Early Middle Ages 400-1000, Editor Rosamund McKitterick, Short Oxford History of Europe

5/6/2012:  Book Review: 'Seven Lies about Catholic History', Diane Moczar

4/29/2012:  Gottlieb part 2: The Dream of Reason, A History of Philosophy

4/23/2012:  Book Review part one: 'The Dream of Reason, A History of Philosophy', by A. Gottlieb

4/12/2012:  Review, Emmet Scott: 'Mohammed and Charlemagne'

3/6/2012:  Henri Pirenne, 'Mohammed and Charlemagne' – Part 2

3/1/2012:  Henri Pirenne, Mohammed and Charlemagne – Part One

2/11/2012:  Niall Ferguson, 'Civilization' and the collapse of Europe

12/30/2011:  Mark Steyn, 'After America – Get Ready for Armageddon'

12/9/2011:  Book Review, Nigel Cliff's 'Holy War'. Flawed but interesting.

11/7/2011:  'How Civilizations Die', D. P. Goldman, 2011, 270 pgs.

9/16/2011:  Morris Bishop: The Middle Ages

9/6/2011:  Life in a Medieval City, by Joseph and Frances Gies, Harper Collins.

8/31/2011:  Adrian Goldsworthy, 'Caesar', 632 pages, 40 pages of source notes.

7/18/2011:  Steve Ozment, 'The Legacy of the Reformation', 1980.

7/16/2011:  G. R. Elton, The New Cambridge Modern History, vol. ii, The Reformation, 1958

6/17/2011:  Charles Nauert, 'The Age of Renaissance' 1981.

6/5/2011:  The Monks of War by Desmond Seward.

9/21/2010:  Rodney Stark: 'Cities of God'. Another excellent book.

8/18/2009:  Michelle Malkin's 'Culture of Corruption: Obama and his team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies.'

4/5/2008:  Book Review: 'Forges of Empires' 1861-1871; Three revolutionary statesman and the world they made.'