The shipwreck of civilization 8

Everything possible should be done to save children and their mothers from a sinking ship.

Feminists though, if they’re to be true to their professed principles … Pause. True to their professed principles? Principles such as freedom from male oppression? Never. Vide their indifference to the subjugation of Muslim women. So let’s say, their clamor… If they’re to be true to their clamor for equality with men, feminists on board a sinking ship insufficiently supplied with lifeboats should be willing to go down with it.

This post is about the sinking of a particular ship, about the captain and most of his men pushing past women and children to save themselves, and how the event is a metaphor for the sinking of Europe – and of  civilization. We view feminism, along with all leftist egalitarian movements, as a cause of our civilization’s decline.   

On what happened when the cruise-ship Costa Concordia hit the rocks and sank, Mark Steyn writes:

There was no orderly evacuation from the Costa Concordia, just chaos punctuated by individual acts of courage from, for example, an Hungarian violinist in the orchestra and a ship’s entertainer in a Spiderman costume, both of whom helped children to safety, the former paying with his life.

The miserable Captain Schettino, by contrast, is presently under house arrest, charged with manslaughter and abandoning ship. His explanation is that, when the vessel listed suddenly, he fell into a lifeboat and was unable to climb out. Seriously. Could happen to anyone, slippery decks and all that. Next thing you know, he was safe on shore, leaving his passengers all at sea. On the other hand, the audio of him being ordered by Coast Guard officers to return to his ship and refusing to do so is not helpful to this version of events.

In the centenary year of the most famous of all maritime disasters, we would do well to consider honestly the tale of the Titanic.

On the Titanic, the male passengers gave their lives for the women and would never have considered doing otherwise. On the Costa Concordia, in the words of a female passenger, “There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboat.” …

The principle that when a ship sinks the women and children should be first in the lifeboats was established, Steyn says, on February 26, 1852, when –

HMS Birkenhead was wrecked off the coast of Cape Town while transporting British troops to South Africa. There were, as on the Titanic, insufficient lifeboats. The women and children were escorted to the ship’s cutter. The men mustered on deck. They were ordered not to dive in the water lest they risk endangering the ladies and their young charges by swamping the boats. So they stood stiffly at their posts as the ship disappeared beneath the waves. As Kipling wrote:

“We’re most of us liars, we’re ‘arf of us thieves, an’ the rest of us rank as can be,

But once in a while we can finish in style (which I ‘ope it won’t ‘appen to me).”

Sixty years later, the men on the Titanic – liars and thieves, wealthy and powerful, poor and obscure – found themselves called upon to “finish in style,” and did so. They had barely an hour to kiss their wives goodbye, watch them clamber into the lifeboats, and sail off without them. They, too, ‘ope’d it wouldn’t ‘appen to them, but, when it did, the social norm of “women and children first” held up under pressure and across all classes.

Today there is no social norm, so it’s every man for himself – operative word “man,” although not many of the chaps on the Titanic would recognize those on the Costa Concordia as “men.” From a grandmother on the latter: “I was standing by the lifeboats and men, big men, were banging into me and knocking the girls.”

Whenever I write about these subjects, I receive a lot of mail from men along the lines of this correspondent:

“The feminists wanted a gender-neutral society. Now they’ve got it. So what are you complaining about?”

We think that’s a pertinent and cogent argument – though a distressing one, since we’re not all feminists.

And it doesn’t exonerate the men.

So the manly virtues (if you’ll forgive a quaint phrase) shrivel away to the so-called “man caves,” those sad little redoubts of beer and premium cable sports networks.

We are beyond social norms these days. A woman can be a soldier. A man can be a woman. A 7-year-old cross-dressing boy can join the Girl Scouts in Colorado because he “identifies” as a girl. It all adds to life’s rich tapestry, no doubt. But I can’t help wondering, when the ship hits the fan, how many of us will still be willing to identify as a man. …

Now to the nub:

The Costa Concordia isn’t merely a metaphor for EU collapse but – here it comes down the slipway – the fragility of civilization. Like every ship, the Concordia had its emergency procedures – the lifeboat drills that all crew and passengers are obliged to go through before sailing. As with the security theater at airports, the rituals give the illusion of security – and then, as the ship tips and the lights fail and the icy black water rushes in, we discover we’re on our own: from dancing and dining, showgirls and saunas, to the inky depths in a matter of moments.