It is then a fallacy to flatter ourselves with the reflection that the barbarians are still far from us; for if there are some nations that allow civilization to be torn from their grasp, there are others who themselves trample it underfoot.
Today I am beginning to wonder whether our civilization may not merit the distinction of dying by both causes at the same time.
The symptoms are many, but the root of the problem is this: we no longer believe in ourselves. Or, better put, we no longer believe in anything but our "selves", our individual egos floating in a void, constructing lives as we please from whatever "values" happen to suit us. The crux of our lives is will, not reason or faith.
Even those (like certain members of my family) who fancy themselves and are decent, well-intentioned, and (in some ways) conservative, often just don't get it. Take the Church's stance on contraception, which recently came up at the dinner table.
Theological grounds aside (and theology never comes up in a discussion of this subject -- who on earth would even understand the proposition that what we do ought to correspond to what we believe about God?) what is offensive about the idea that sexuality is a gift to be used for the propagation of the species, the country, and the Church?
One could oppose this with selfishness, which I'm afraid is the strongest source of contention. But instead a number of high-falutin' excuses emerge: there is so much poverty and suffering around the world, people need fewer babies not more, it's the twenty-first century for crying out loud, etc.
So I note that in fact the population of Europe is declining, and ours is barely hanging on. It's not all overpopulation, and that's certainly not our problem.
But I don't score any points: what does it matter anyhow? We have immigrants to fill the void, and it would be racist to suggest that because of their skin color (the only imaginable difference among people from far corners of the globe?) they are any less worthy than us to populate our country.
The obvious conclusion is that we're living in relation to nothing. Anything important in our lives is just a value, just a product of our autonomous choice. Even if it appears to connect us to something, it doesn't; we consider ourselves completely interchangeable with anyone else, in other words we hold ourselves to be nothing -- not even with respect to what we believe or do.
(So, for example, my Catholic family likes going to Mass but is happy to discard any of the Church's teachings that are inconvenient based on the flimsiest arguments [accompanied by absolutely no research on the subject] and they are utterly nonplussed by the prospect of their descendants living among increasing numbers of heathens.)
As I hope I've illustrated, there is a strong connection between this lack of belief in our own purposes and the increasing chaos surrounding sex. The latest manifestation of this is the drive toward homosexual "marriage", which has already prevailed in Canada and elsewhere, and which many believe to be unstoppable here.
The embracing of no-fault divorce, the normalization of non-marital sex, the erosion of decency and public celebration of unihibited lust, and now the advent of the societal blessing of fruitless unions -- all this will prevent us from replacing ourselves and presupposes that we don't care to do so.
The void this produces will, as we know, be filled by others who need not be similarly shy about themselves or their cause. Whether this is a healthy thing can be doubted.
Part and parcel of our own decline is multiculturalism or a "principled" deference to other "cultures" whose members may not be so diffident about their ways of life.
In Canada, where such principles simply dominate,
As long as the country's law is followed . . . Two parties in a . . . civil dispute, like a divorce, can opt to use a religious leader as a mediator, and the mediator's decision is binding. . . But a controversy has erupted over whether Muslim law should be used. some Canadian Muslim women fear that Muslim law, or Sharia, will be imposed on them in these civil mediations. Unless the government watches closely, these women worry that imams acting as legal arbitrators will take advantage of women in the name of Islam.
-- Fox News
Perhaps the government will watch closely. But as Mark Steyn
notes, there are reasons to suspect the specific mix of Western self-doubt and the growing presence of Islam will lead to some startling results.
With gay marriage under our belts, so to speak, there is no principled reason to obstruct polygamy, among other things. Already,
Le Monde leaked a government report revealing that polygamy was routinely practiced in Muslim ghettoes in France. Anecdotal evidence suggests things aren’t so very different in the Islamic communities of Ontario: as The Christian Science Monitor airily put it, polygamous unions “are being performed by the same religious figures adjudicating matters under sharia” – ie, under the province’s Muslim-friendly Arbitration Act. . . . Contracting marriage with more than one spouse simultaneously is a crime in the United Kingdom. However, if a polygamous marriage is entered into abroad in a jurisdiction permitting polygamy, that marriage is regarded as valid under English law.
And where is this all going?
Well, look at what happened in Dublin a couple of months ago: The Irish Government decided to make Muslim men who apply for citizenship sign an affidavit that, if they’re single, they’ll take no more than one wife and, if they’re already married, that they’ll take no additional wives. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties immediately denounced the move as offensive, racist and discriminatory.
You get the point:
If the push for polygamy came from the white male elders of that breakaway Mormon sect in Bountiful, BC, it’d be dead in the water: all you’d get from the Globe and the CBC and Maclean’s would be a lot of stories about the abuse rumours, and shots of stern Old Testament patriarchs, and comments from various Grits and NDPers about how this is not compatible with “our Canadian values”. . . . If it’s a Muslim who finally makes it to the Supreme Court of Canada with a polygamy case, I’d reckon their lordships will rule that forbidding it is an unwarranted restriction of Charter rights. And I’d wager a few of those justices will be happy to license polygamy if only to prove that their demolition job on “traditional marriage” was legally grounded rather than mere modish solidarity.
Sadly there is no reason to think Steyn is smoking anything funny on this one. He is merely aniticpating the next few shovel-fulls of the grave we are digging ourselves.
Now, America is not Canada or Britain, thank God. But let's not flatter ourselves that we are so very far away from becoming that. The trends that make those lands so obviously decadent are by no means unpopular here. So it's necessary for us to see these trends for what they are.
The same progressive groups who objected to the Iraq war on the grounds that Saddam was a secular leader who’d never make common cause with Islamic fundamentalists didn’t seem to notice that, for the purposes of opposing Bush and Blair, they themselves, as impeccably pro-gay pro-feminist western bien pensants, had had no trouble making common cause with the women-enslaving sodomite-beheading Islamists.
This is so not only in foreign policy, but also in our sexual mores and social theories. Ironically, our own laxity will only be used to make way for others whose practices are much more hegemonic, shall we say. If we decide to relinquish all influence over our own future, the complaints we'll certainly have about what it looks like will ring hollow indeed.