Those dying generations (2) 8

Yesterday we discussed the dying out of the indigenous European peoples as their numbers halve with each generation. We asked why they are letting this happen, why fewer and fewer children are being born. We argued that it is hard to make a case that Socialism as an economic system is responsible for the death of Europe, or that materialism is responsible for it, or that the lost influence of the old-time religions account for it. But today we argue that Socialism as an ideology may have a lot to do with it.

*

As far as we can discover, the idea that a person should care less for himself than for anybody and everybody else, was introduced into history by the author of Christianity, St Paul.* It is not an injunction of Judaism, which does require its followers to “love [respect?] your neighbor as yourself” but not more than yourself. It has no precedent in Greek philosophy, nor in any of the Far Eastern religions which are intensely concerned with personal benefit. None of them are moral religions. True, Buddhism teaches tolerance, but in order to do yourself good, to help you personally on your way to bliss.

Christianity might seem to do that when it promises heaven to those who do good works. But “redemption” by good works was not St Paul’s idea. It was introduced into the Catholic faith later. St Paul taught that only the grace of Christ Jesus could save you. (And that was Luther’s and Calvin’s doctrine too.) So you must do good works, put others before and above yourself without expecting any reward on earth or in heaven. You must  accept that your life is to be hard, and that your afterlife may be even worse. But at least for the afterlife there is hope. Heaven is the aim. If you attain it, whether by grace or good works, there – only there – you as an individual being will find joy. This life is not to be valued.

It is a ruinous idea. It can mean, if taken to heart, that you should not strive for happiness, or even survival. It can mean that every time you supply a want of your own, however basic and essential – food, clothing, protection, information, healing – you will feel self-reproach. As total selflessness is impossible, it’s a recipe for failure and consequent shame, guilt, self-contempt, even self- hatred. It is against not just human but animal nature, since if  you do not eat and protect yourself you will not survive. If human beings were not innately selfish the race would have died out long ago. Indeed, it would never have arisen.

Christians might say that it’s okay, of course, to see to your own survival needs. Some might even grant you the moral right to supply them amply – just so long as you are also attentive to the needs of others. You only have to consider them more than yourself – liberal Christians might tell you – when that choice inescapably presents itself.

No doubt, in the everyday life of Christians, the injunction to care more for others than for yourself is honored more in the breach than the observance. But the principle remains. It is the essence of Christian morality.

Over some centuries it became the ideal of multitudes and persisted for generations. What follows logically from it? Nobody is judged according to his individual merits. Everyone is more important than you are not because of what he is or does, but simply because he is part of the mass.

To think like that is to think sociologically. And from the notion that the individual is of less account than the mass arises another: that the individual is of no account at all, and only the mass, the “community”, matters.

But the mass, the community, has no identity. It has no personhood. It has no aspirations. Where only the many matter, nobody matters.

The spread of Christianity had a lot to do with the fall of the Christianized Roman Empire. Just how much is voluminously debated. At the very least, the Christian doctrines of universal love and not resisting evil mitigated against vigorous defense when enemies struck. And for a thousand years, from the time Rome fell in the late fifth century, Christianity with its impossible injunctions and its terrors of Hell lay heavy on the peoples of Europe.

As the dominant ideology, Christianity faded with the fading power of the Church. The Renaissance and then the Enlightenment shifted the center of human concern from heaven back to earth. Once again, as in pre-Christian times, the proper business of men was with men. This life mattered again. The individual mattered again.

But the Idea – that terrible, misery-making, destructive idea that you must sacrifice yourself for the rest – did not completely fade away. It changed its host. It became the central idea of Socialism.

Socialism is the child of Christianity. Yes: the secular religion of Socialism, though it has no God, no heaven, is – in its DNA so to speak – Christian. As an ideology it received its central Idea from Christianity: the Idea that only the mass, the many, the community matters, not the individual and his personal life.

Christians may deny it – do deny it – but the Christian Idea is the Socialist Idea. We frequently read Christian apologetics claiming that Christianity created “the individual”, and by doing so made Europe great. Europe’s greatness, however, only began – for the second time since the fall of the Roman Empire – with the dispersal of the darkness that Christianity had spread over it. But then Socialism was born, and came into its inheritance. In its turn it became the dominant ideology of Europe.

Because the mass has no identity, no personhood, no aims or aspirations, Socialism is as anti-human as its mother. While its  goal is not beyond and above the earth, it is in the equally abstract, equally unknown, equally phantasmagorical Future.

Now the Europeans are dying out. Multitudes of them care nothing for their national culture and history. Some positively hate all that, and are happy to let Muslims take over their countries and govern them under a different, ancient, cruel law.

Can their death as a mass, as communities, be the end result of Christianity-Socialism? If they are no longer deceived that paradise awaits them either on or above this earth, for what should they live? Are the nations dying out simply because people can see no reason why they should go on existing?

 

* For the many substantiating quotations from the letters of St Paul, and the source references, see our post Tread on me: the making of Christian morality, December 22, 2011.

 

Jillian Becker   August 12, 2013

  • Don L

    K I S S: Women and the innate drive for having a kid…stronger in some than others IS tempered by the familial economic decision of need for kids. Sans ‘the division of labor’…you need a lot. Government handouts (socialism) or, for the better, success as an employee, entrepreneur or investor/capitalist (free-market capitalism) minimizes or eliminates the necessity for kids.

    Bottom line, it’s a cost benefit decision and the vast majority of people always act, notwithstanding “claimed” adherence to an ideology/religion, in their own perceived best interests. In a socialist Europe…no need for kids. In a Free-Market (once upon a time) America no need for kids. In fact, in the “West” having kids is an optional luxury as opposed to a pre-capitalism subsistence necessity.

    Of course, the irrational and dull are influenced by the State & Church to accept guilt/selflessness and have kids toward an expanding population necessary for doing the bidding of the State & Church: i.e, cannon fodder, missionaries and a source of revenue. Yes, only the losers sit and contemplate god or country as the determinant in having a kid. Now, of concern is the current having kids as a weapon: Mexican/hispanic objectives/propaganda and and Muslim caliphate ambitions.

  • Philo Vaihinger

    Isn’t it happening because people who work for a living and smarter women in general just don’t want to have many kids, whether they are married or not?

    And thanks to contraception and abortion they don’t have to have one more child than they actually want.

    Perhaps for the first time we are seeing what a society enjoying actual and effective free choice in this matter chooses!

    Europeans avoid the economic and political dislocations that rapid population loss would cause by allowing high levels of immigration – perhaps higher than is politically and culturally safe.

    But that’s how they are dealing with the matter.

    And what about us?

    • liz

      I would say not necessarily “smarter” women; possibly naïve, easily manipulated and thus politically correct women.
      As for solving the population problem with immigration, it might look good on paper, but is having disastrous unintended consequences.

  • liz

    Very clarifying analysis of the link between Christianity and Socialism.
    It all seems to have started – and perpetuated itself – in a lame human tendency to wallow in self-abasement and false humility.
    Maybe as a reaction to that other lame human tendency to wallow in self-glorification and ruthless domination. The revenge of the losers?
    Then of course it morphed into a lame, neurotic combination of the two characterized by hypocritically masquerading as a humble martyr while at the same time seeking and acquiring fame, fortune, and ruthless domination.

    • Jillian Becker

      Brilliant! Thank you, liz.

  • WmarkW

    None of the philosophic movements mentioned in this piece have a fraction the influence that feminism does. Neither Paul, Calvin, Augustine, or Luther, nor the ancient Buddhists, Jews, Greeks or Communists, seriously considered whether women’s lives would be more fulfilling to themselves without children. When a society no longer believes in “wifely duties,” the wives vote with their wombs. (And it isn’t just the West, birthrates have plummeted in every advanced country, like Japan, Korea and even Iran.)

    The question for the West is “If women are going to choose childlessness, what can our society do about that, consistent with our values?” Importing people from pre-feminist societies hasn’t worked out too well.

    • Jillian Becker

      An interesting comment and question, WmarkW.

      If you are right, feminism has done immense, incalculable, terminal harm.

      Please read my comment on yesterday’s post, “Those dying generations”. That is my answer to those feeblest of beings, those whiners and complainers, those self-pitying superfluous nobodies, the feminists.

    • Philo Vaihinger

      Absolutely agree that the declining influence of religions insisting on morally and legally chaining sex to reproduction, and even insisting on a duty to reproduce, is a key factor.

      But more important in this revolution, I think, has been the discovery and widespread availability of effective contraception.

      Importing people from pre-sexual revolution societies is the current means of staving off the political and economic consequences of rapid population decline.

      No, it’s been far from a raging success, especially in Europe.

      But what else is there, if we reject solutions involving directly or indirectly compulsory parenthood?