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Monday, 1 August 2011

Can’t Help Thinking that we are Close to the End of Something

It's probably not the end of Western Society. Western Society has so much going for it: Reason, Science, Liberty, Free Markets (apart from banking), the Rule of Law, the Scientific Method (regrettably threatened by Al Gore and his like), and so much more. All these are under threat – big time. But their defenders are so much more articulate than the barbarians that, God willing, they will win the day. But the threats are terrifying.

I'm no expert; but it does seem that the financial status of the world's greatest economy is teetering on the brink. To be honest, I don't know whether to be suicidal or ecstatic. There will be blood!

America has taught the world so much. America has been the engine of so much prosperity throughout the world. But America (or, at least its political class) has been infected with the worst ideas of the twentieth century. Since the early decades, American leaders have flirted with "progressive" ideas: Socialism and Fascism. These twin ideologies in the early twentieth century were enormously seductive. Social Justice and on-time trains had most of the bien pensant elite wetting themselves with excitement. I confess that, for most of my life, I would have been with the progressives.

You may think that I am being hysterical. Perhaps, but I don't think so.

You may think that Socialism and Fascism are so distant from each other that to claim that "progressive" polices are both socialistic and fascistic is absurd – I wish.

Recent (and not so recent) scholarship demonstrates that Fascism and Socialism are twins, offspring of nineteenth century materialism, heavily influenced by Darwinism. As an admirer of Darwin, I hate to say this.

The fact is that "progressive" thinkers of the 20th century were wildly enthusiastic about both Socialist and Fascist schemes of action. For more detail, see Jonah Goldberg. Teddy Roosevelt, and FDR, not to mention H G Wells, who coined the phrase "Liberal Fascism" (as a goal to be striven for) are cases in point.

From a theoretical point of view, a Catholic cannot accept the concept of Heaven on Earth. We are fallen creatures. In one and many particulars we can choose good over evil and so improve the world; but we cannot remake humanity.

From a historical point of view, we observe that every attempt to create Heaven has only ever resulted in Hell. From the French Revolution to Pol Pot's Kampuchea, Islamofascist Iran and the literal hell of North Korea, the facts scream "No!"

America was founded on the idea that government existed to protect the liberty of the citizen. Now Washington sees its role as protecting the entitlements of the electorate. Only 50% of the electorate pays income tax. Are they wise enough to see that entitlements, as a philosophy, is self-defeating? Probably not. Which should make intelligent people wonder whether what we call democracy is working. Democracy is the least bad system of government that humanity has come up with; but in Britain and America it is pretty bad. The EU, of course, has abandoned democracy altogether – imposing the rule of bureaucrats.

The Constitution was concerned with the Republic, not with Democracy.

Tomorrow we will see whether Washington has decided to descend further into debt for its citizens or whether it will technically default on its debt. The former is, undoubtedly, immoral; the latter will cause pain, perhaps personally for me.

Last point: How can you be opposed to Social Justice? Good question.

Social Justice always means taking from those who have and giving to those who don't. But it is against Justice for me to take from you for my benefit. And it is against Justice for me to take from you and give it to anyone – especially if I am in effect bribing someone to vote for me!

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