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Thread: Shattered Society

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    Sound methods Chlodovech's Avatar
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    Shattered Society

    Liberalism, Right and Left, has made lonely serfs of us all. Does the Red Tory tradition offer a remedy?

    By Phillip Blond • June 1, 2010 - Source: TheAmericanConservative.com

    We live in a society of decreasing circles. More and more of us know fewer and fewer of us. We live alone and eat by ourselves, often with a TV or computer rather than a human being for company. If we do marry, the time an average relationship lasts decreases with each passing year.

    In the Anglo-Saxon world, we abandon our old and increasingly care badly for our young. Our grandparents can recall a vivid life in which aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces wove together the social fabric of a stable, mutual society. Nearly half of all children are born out of wedlock. Many grow up without a father, some without any loving parent at all. The young people emerging from this background, denied any real education in public and private virtues, are easily seduced by glamorous dreams that promise consumption they cannot afford. Untouched by ideals of love and fidelity, they operate free of commitment, discipline, and responsibility. These unreformed teenage idioms become adult habits and ruin lives by creating people unable to bond or relate.



    For men, especially those at the bottom of the social scale who are increasingly losing out in education and career advancement, an emasculated life at the margins of society awaits. For successful young women, having a degree is fast becoming an indicator of a childless future. No one would choose this outcome nor wish it upon anyone else, not least because it drains the energy from domestic life and compounds the terrifying fate of getting old alone. Everywhere we look, the ties that bind are loosening, and the foundations of a secure and joyful existence are being undermined.

    What is the origin of this degradation? Looking back over the past 30 years, we could blame longer working hours that families must put in, a situation itself compounded by the financial necessity that in most households both adults must work, higher levels of personal debt, job insecurity, distrust of institutions, and fear of each other. Our society has become like a ladder whose rungs are growing further and further apart so it is increasingly difficult to ascend. Those at the top have accelerated away from the rest of us by practicing a self-serving and state-sanctioned capitalism that knows no morals and exists only to finance its own excess. Those in the middle are being crushed by bureaucracy and the effort of squaring stagnating wages with higher demands. Those at the bottom are more isolated and despised than ever before.

    But decisive as these factors are, they do not add up to the social disaster that we are living through and that many, perversely, increasingly regard as normal. A healthier society could have resisted these trends. A society that still had strong families could have ensured a lifestyle that secured rather than undermined the economic base of the household. A society that still had neighbors who knew one another could have created trusting communities, and they could have produced institutions that served the needs of people rather than the bureaucratic demands of a distant and hostile state.

    But through the privileging of alternative lifestyles, the prioritizing of minority politics, and the capture of markets by monopolies, we have destroyed the sustained and sustaining society. Little wonder that in a world in which binding norms, civil behavior, and notions of the common good have ceased to exist, frightened, isolated individuals call upon an increasingly authoritarian state to impose the order that we can no longer create for ourselves.

    The loss of our culture is best understood as the disappearance of civil society. Only two powers remain: the state and the market. We no longer have, in any effective independent way, local government, churches, trade unions, cooperative societies, or civic organizations that operate on the basis of more than single issues. In the past, these institutions were a means for ordinary people to exercise power. Now mutual communities have been replaced with passive, fragmented individuals. Civil spaces have either vanished or become subject-domains of the dictatorial state or the monopolized market.

    Neither Left nor Right can offer an answer because both ideologies have collapsed as both have become the same. Those who construe the libertarian individual as the center of current rightist thought actually draw upon an extreme Left conception that finds its original expression in Rousseau, who held that society was primordial imprisonment. It was Rousseau whose social theory forced the diversity of the world to conform to the general will—which was but this same individualism writ large—thereby sponsoring the rationalist and secular red terror of the French Revolution. In fact, any anarchic construal of the self requires for its social realization an authoritarian statism to control the forces that are unleashed. Collectivism and individualism are but two sides of the same devalued and degraded currency. And this has been the history of recent modernity—an oscillation between the state and the individual that gradually erodes civil association, which is in reality the only check on the extremes of either.

    The 1960s New Left, to counter the authoritarian state it created, built a personal zone free of control in which to repudiate all standards and sell the poisonous idea of liberation through chemical and sexual experimentation. But when these New Left individualists preached personal pleasure as a means of public salvation, they were not resisting state control. They were, through their demands for freedom without limit and life without responsibility, undermining all autonomous self-governing structures, leaving a dreadful legacy of anarchic individualism that required state authoritarianism as the only way to re-impose order and society. Contemporary libertarian individualism and statist collectivism created each other and are locked in a fatal embrace that destroys the civic middle and the life and economy of the associative citizen.

    This whole scenario dawned on me when I realized that my left-wing friends didn’t really believe in community. They only believed in choice. They supported abortion because they found it validating, a demonstration of real personal autonomy. But they think that fox hunting is terribly cruel and so should be ardently opposed. No doubt the same dispensation finds similar expression in the United States.

    The Left harbors a deep and abiding hatred of fixity and tradition, a loathing of anything settled. In Anthony Giddens’s Third Way—the book that was behind the Blair revolution in Britain—he talks about how a new cosmopolitanism will free people from nature, and one gets the sense that Cool Britannia so envisaged is the permanent destruction of taboo and tie. According to the Blairite radicals we have to constantly rewrite ourselves by a willful assertion that wipes the slate clean and lets us begin again through the permanent act of choice—as long as such volition shows no teleology or direction. Nobody is told what to choose because the moral act in our contemporary paradigm isn’t what is chosen, it’s the act of choosing itself. Indeed, to choose is to repristinate and repeat the idea of oneself as an isolated, atomistic agent.

    More here.
    “Remember that all worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no-one is too poor to buy.” - C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

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    There's no way back from this

    My wife and I were driving through the town centre about a fortnight ago and we saw 5 young people (most probably students, given the area we were in) sitting in a bus shelter. Each and every one of them - 3 males and 2 females - were staring into their mobile phones and most had earpieces in as well, making them oblivious to others around them.

    I said to my missus that next thing we'll be hearing is that 53% of young males don't have girlfriends. It wouldn't unduly surprise me to learn that those 3 lads were all tapping away on some Internet forum and moaning about there being nowhere for them to meet any women these days

    We've forgotten how to communicate with each other and TBQH I'm not even sure we still want to. As the above article repeatedly makes clear, everyone is now an island unto themselves and for younger members of society this is a conscious choice as opposed to a sad development that older people (who can still remember more sociable times) have to cope with.

    I'll give it another 20-30 years before Margaret Thatcher's statement: "there's no such thing as society" is finally confirmed. I don't think this is quite what she had in mind, but the irony is that the political Left who so strongly condemned her are the ones who have actually made those words come true!

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    Hmmm ... in Arab countries , the boys would boast , how they would
    become rich in Europe .

    The Western Europeans don't have that possibillity ,
    to take away mentally elsewhere ,
    as all the former colonies have gone .
    Mk 10:18 What do you call me a good master, no-one is good .

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