Monday, April 20, 2009

Spengler Takes Off His Mask

Perusing the back pages of my new issue of First Things a few moments ago, I was gob-smacked at the details in the introduction to one of their new assistant editors.

Since the death of Richard John Neuhaus, the founder of the magazine, the editors have scrambled to make the necessary sad adjustments of carrying on without his guiding light for their publication.

Father Neuhaus was no longer the editor, however he was very much a part of First Things and for all involved it must be a darker, diminished world which continues to persist after his passing.

I wondered what adjustments Joseph Bottum, the current editor, would make in his lineup of authors and editors. I certainly wasn’t prepared for this, from Mr. Bottum:

You may notice, back on page 2 of this issue, that we have made changes to the masthead-adding some new positions and rearranging some old. As we work out the adjustments necessary to keep First Things on course, other changes will no doubt come along, but we are enormously grateful to all those who have rallied now to the magazine’s support.

The first to join us in the office is a new associate editor, David P. Goldman. He was trained in Renaissance history and philosophy, particularly music theory, and he still serves as a governor of the Mannes College of Music. His career has been spent mostly in finance, holding senior positions at Bank of America, Credit Suisse, and Bear Stearns, and he has written widely on financial topics, including a seven-year stint as a columnist for Forbes.
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Along the way, however, he has been writing popular weekly columns for the Asia Times, all published under the pseudonym “Spengler.” The name, he explains, began as a joke-the author of Decline of the West as an Asian newspaper columnist-but it had a serious side: to call attention to the impact of the culture of death on the viability of modern nations. After a few years’ acquaintance, we convinced him to emerge from his pseudonym and join us full-time at First Things. Deeply involved in Jewish issues, he worships at the Synagogue Or Zarua in New York.

Well, there go all the speculations I used to read in his comments — e.g., he worked for the CIA. (I think that was my favorite)

You can judge for yourself, as he explains his sojourn at the Asia Times:

During the too-brief run of the Asia Times print edition in the 1990s, the newspaper asked me to write a humor column, and I chose the name “Spengler” as a joke — a columnist for an Asian daily using the name of the author of The Decline of the West.

Barely a dozen “Spengler” items appeared before the print edition went down in the 1997 Asian financial crisis. A malicious thought crossed my mind in 1999, though, as the Internet euphoria engulfed world markets: was it really possible for a medium whose premise was the rise of a homogeneous global youth culture to drive world economic growth?

Youth culture, I argued, was an oxymoron, for culture itself was a bridge across generations, a means of cheating mortality. The old and angry cultures of the world, fighting for room to breath against the onset of globalization, would not go quietly into the homogenizer. Many of them would fight to survive, but fight in vain, for the tide of modernity could not be rolled back.

As in the great extinction of the tribes in late antiquity, individuals might save themselves from the incurable necrosis of their own ethnicity through adoption into the eternal people, that is, Israel. The great German-Jewish theologian and student of the existential angst of dying nations, Franz Rosenzweig, had commanded undivided attention during the 1990s, and I had a pair of essays about him for the Jewish-Christian Relations website. Rosenzweig’s theology, it occurred to me, had broader applications.

The end of the old ethnicities, I believed, would dominate the cultural and strategic agenda of the next several decades. Great countries were failing of their will to live, and it was easy to imagine a world in which Japanese, German, Italian and Russian would turn into dying languages only a century hence. Modernity taxed the Muslim world even more severely, although the results sometimes were less obvious.

The 300 or so essays that I have published in this space since 1999 all proceeded from the theme formulated by Rosenzweig: the mortality of nations and its causes, Western secularism, Asian anomie, and unadaptable Islam… [do read the rest of this lengthy essay at the Asia Times. It’s worth your while]

Spengler was one of those essayists one either hated or loved. I did wonder at his background, and thought he might be Catholic. Perhaps that is due to his education, which is certainly strange training for a banker. But never mind. Both his education and his economic career gave him an invaluable background from which to launch “Spengler”.

In the current issue of First Things, David Goldman (I’ll have to get used to his new name) has a riveting essay, “Demographics & Depression”. I read that before I stumbled upon the news of his identity in the back pages, so I had no idea I was really reading Spengler. No wonder his ideas stayed with me. I find it difficult to escape their sad logic:

To understand the bleeding in the housing market, then, we need to examine the population of prospective homebuyers whose millions of individual decisions determine whether the economy will recover. Families with children are the fulcrum of the housing market. Because single-parent families tend to be poor, the buying power is concentrated in two-parent families with children.

Now, consider this fact: America’s population has risen from 200 million to 300 million since 1970, while the total number of two-parent families with children is the same today as it was when Richard Nixon took office, at 25 million. In 1973, the United States had 36 million housing units with three or more bedrooms, not many more than the number of two-parent families with children-which means that the supply of family homes was roughly in line with the number of families. By 2005, the number of housing units with three or more bedrooms had doubled to 72 million, though America had the same number of two-parent families with children.

The number of two-parent families with children, the kind of household that requires and can afford a large home, has remained essentially stagnant since 1963, according to the Census Bureau. Between 1963 and 2005, to be sure, the total number of what of what the Census Bureau categorizes as families grew from 47 million to 77 million. But most of the increase is due to families without children, including what are sometimes rather strangely called “one-person families.”

In place of traditional two-parent families with children, America has seen enormous growth in one-parent families and childless families. The number of one-parent families with children has tripled. Dependent children formed half the U.S. population in 1960, and they add up to only 30 percent today. The dependent elderly doubled as a proportion of the population, from 15 percent in 1960 to 30 percent today.

If capital markets derive from the cycle of human life, what happens if the cycle goes wrong? Investors may be unreasonably panicked about the future, and governments can allay this panic by guaranteeing bank deposits, increasing incentives to invest, and so forth. But something different is in play when investors are reasonably panicked. What if there really is something wrong with our future-if the next generation fails to appear in sufficient numbers? The answer is that we get poorer.

The declining demographics of the traditional American family raise a dismal possibility: Perhaps the world is poorer now because the present generation did not bother to rear a new generation. All else is bookkeeping and ultimately trivial. This unwelcome and unprecedented change underlies the present global economic crisis. We are grayer, and less fecund, and as a result we are poorer, and will get poorer still-no matter what economic policies we put in place. [my emphasis — D]

We could put this another way: America’s housing market collapsed because conservatives lost the culture wars even back while they were prevailing in electoral politics. During the past half century America has changed from a nation in which most households had two parents with young children. We are now a mélange of alternative arrangements in which the nuclear family is merely a niche phenomenon. By 2025, single-person households may outnumber families with children.

The collapse of home prices and the knock-on effects on the banking system stem from the shrinking count of families that require houses. It is no accident that the housing market-the economic sector most sensitive to demographics-was the epicenter of the economic crisis. In fact, demographers have been predicting a housing crash for years due to the demographics of diminishing demand. Wall Street and Washington merely succeeded in prolonging the housing bubble for a few additional years. The adverse demographics arising from cultural decay, though, portend far graver consequences for the funding of health and retirement systems.

Conservatives have indulged in self-congratulation over the quarter-century run of growth that began in 1984 with the Reagan administration’s tax reforms. A prosperity that fails to rear a new generation in sufficient number is hollow, as we have learned to our detriment during the past year. Compared to Japan and most European countries, which face demographic catastrophe, America’s position seems relatively strong, but that strength is only postponing the reckoning by keeping the world’s capital flowing into the U.S. mortgage market right up until the crash at the end of 2007.

As long as conservative leaders delivered economic growth, family issues were relegated to Sunday rhetoric. Of course, conservative thinkers never actually proposed to measure the movement’s success solely in units of gross domestic product, or square feet per home, or cubic displacement of the average automobile engine. But delivering consumer goods was what conservatives seemed to do well, and they rode the momentum of the Reagan boom.

Until now. Our children are our wealth. Too few of them are seated around America’s common table, and it is their absence that makes us poor. Not only the absolute count of children, to be sure, but also the shrinking proportion of children raised with the moral material advantages of two-parent families diminishes our prospects. The capital markets have reduced the value of homeowners’ equity by $8 trillion and of stocks by $7 trillion. Households with a provider aged 45 to 54 have lost half their net worth between 2004 and 2009, according to Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. There are ways to ameliorate the financial crisis, but none of them will replace the lives that should have been part of ­America and now are missed.

Mr. Goldman doesn’t point out why those lives are missing, but I will. The tragedy of unlimited abortion in this country since the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe vs. Wade has cost us over fifty-three million American children. The earliest to go missing, about 615,00 children in 1973 (low estimate from CDC) would be in their late thirties now. I look at my daughter-in-law and see in her smiling vitality all those other mothers who never had her chance.

By the year my youngest son was born, one and half million of his cohorts disappeared down the drain. No wonder the ranks of those twenty-somethings seem so thin. No wonder the relations between young men and women, which Whiskey describes all too well, seem so bizarre and hard-edged.

In a recent post, Whiskey says:

Along with the lack of affordable housing, has come a profound shift in the way men and women relate to each other and form families. Or rather, fail to form families.

First off, women are increasingly having children as single mothers, as the 2006 US Census Survey on women and fertility shows. Depending on how you add things up (note page 6 of the PDF) “not married” can mean living with an unmarried partner or not, and can be either 36% or 41% of all births within the last twelve months of the Survey. I incline to the 41% figure (adding up the 35.5% of not married and 4.8% of “living with unmarried partner”). But to each his own. As noted in the report and elsewhere, births to Black women are 70% illegitimate, and 90% in the urban core, and among Hispanics it is approaching 50%.

The “good news” is that the Census Bureau is responding to these numbers by redefining “legitimacy” as a member of the opposite sex who resided in the household for at least a week. So if Mom’s boyfriend stays over that long, the birth is reclassified as “legitimate” or with a claimed father. Political Correctness at it’s finest.

Men and women used to get married far younger in the West. At far higher rates. See my posts here for example. Now, the trend is the opposite. Children are delayed, and when they come single motherhood is often a choice.

Be sure to read the comments on this post.

I agree with much of Whiskey’s analysis. However, in addition, pointing out the unintended consequences of unlimited abortions goes a ways towards explaining what Whiskey has termed the “zero-sum game” that currently exists between the sexes. It is not just the unnatural (my word) and hostile ascendancy of women over men, it is also the sheer lack of numbers among the fertile, reproductive-age members of our country.

Abortion has done untold damage, as has no-fault divorce, as has the concept that easy hook-ups have no lasting effect on the individuals who have numerous sexual partners. And the facile theories that underlie the philosophy of feminist ghettoes in American academia are a blot on the commonweal.

Another notable event, not often mentioned, was the terrible epidemic of divorce that began in the 1970s. The dissolution of my own first marriage was part of that statistic and it was a hell which still haunts the atomized remainders of that union. The experience permanently scarred me and our children. The phenomenon of “the trophy wife” was one I could have lived quite happily without ever encountering. Now, no one blinks an eye as mid-thirties wives are abandoned for steel-bellied airheads.

Many of the children of those atomized nuclear families have experienced difficulties forming permanent attachments in adulthood. So much for the pseudo-psychology that divorce is “good” for children. What a crock.


As usual, I have digressed — though not as much as it might appear. All those empty houses, all those broken children with holes in their souls so large that not all the goodies in the world could fill them. And now our economy spirals downward to keep company with the previous “current wisdom” (e.g., “credit” is good). Our bankrupt cultural mores have become at one with our doomsday economy.

Who but Solomon — or Spengler — would have guessed their intimate connection?

27 comments:

islam o' phobe said...

In my opinion abortion is very wrong.

If a woman becomes pregnant she is described as being "with child", not "with foetus". If a pregnant woman is beaten by a thug and the child in her womb dies the crime is manslaughter. For good reason.

Sebastian said...

In short, We're dying, and who can bear to hear such a thing and live with it?

Not only abortions,though I am hostile to the opinion that such behavior is acceptable, what about general decadence which permits and condones mindless and soulless sex acts diassociated from its natural effect, by means of various birth control. First comes the state of mind which allows for it, then the acts, then the effect. So again, the root is a moral one, which is strangely for us that for which Islam in its own perverted way stands. I have read some old church books written by witnesses to the barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire that the barbarian brought a kind of morality back to the women of that time, forcing all women to get married.

Fjordman said...

I did suspect that he had a Jewish background, actually, with his preoccupation with Rosenzweig’s theology. But it is nevertheless interesting to see who he is. I admit I have a love/hate relationship with his writing, but at his best he is good and relevant.

Pulverized Concepts said...

Goldman's essay and the generally expressed opinions about the demographic issue do not mention the major factors in its development, the imposition of the "Great Society" by Lyndon Johnson and the subsequent explosion of the welfare state and the liberalization of divorce laws. These government actions have changed the face of American society, and not for the better.

Dymphna said...

Pulverized Concepts--

I have often thought that Johnson's "War on Poverty" did more than destroy the black family, as Patrick Moynihan predicted it would.

It also destroyed classic liberalism, of which Moynihan was an example. Johnson unwittingly birthed the Grievance Liberals and badly crippled the underclass even as he expanded it.

But the antecedent, which was Kennedy's death, drove the direction of Johnson's giant legislative onslaught. It is characterologically American to "do something" in the face of grief (Kennedy) and a growing sense of defeat (Vietnam).

We will have to wait another century to get a real perspective on this.

Without the precedent of Lincoln, we would never have had FDR's depredations. Without FDR, Johnson never could have proceeded. Without Johnson, Obama's and the Dem's crackpot economics would never have gained a foothold.

The recursions are almost infinite in this garden of forking paths.

Dymphna said...

Sebastian said--

In short, We're dying, and who can bear to hear such a thing and live with it?Ah,me...yes. I look at the future for my unmaried son, who wants someday to start a family and I wonder what lies in store for him. After years of schooling in chemistry and the concomitant debt, will there even be a job when he ventures out?

Will there be a world we recognize?

When you talk about the soulless morality, the barbarians at the gates of Rome, you touch upon the reason some women are drawn to Islam, while others wonder what has "possessed" them.

It's enough to make one weep.

Alexis said...

Let's not look to abortion and birth control as causes of the West's population decline; they are merely means, not the cause.

The main cause of the decline of the West's population is a "youth culture" which has existed since the 1920's. It is a culture that teaches adolescents to hate their parents and teaches parents to hate their children. Whenever you see the refrain "Parents don't understand", this is what I'm talking about. It is also exemplified by recreation vehicles with a bumper sticker proclaiming, "We're spending our children's inheritance".

The West’s population has declined principally because it celebrates self-indulgence at the expense of having children. Parents are shunted off into nursing homes, children are put into schools that double as low security prisons, and young adults are told to buy stuff, stuff, and more stuff. The very structure of the public school system is designed to alienate children from their parents; it is for this reason that home schooling is a burgeoning phenomenon in the United States.

We are told that “The American Dream” is about owning a miniature plantation; some say it is all about owning a little piece of land. But what about one’s family? What about extended family? What about friendship? What about neighborhood? What about community? Let’s not equate status with the accumulation of tokens of status, as if we should regard a man better if he has more tokens such as a Harvard degree, a mansion in a university village, millions of dollars in income, and election to high office.

In the past year, we have seen what happens when “youth culture” works in one direction to create one outcome for an agenda that’s all about change and about breaking any sense of continuity with the past. We are seeing it. We must be willing to see the damage that the systematic incitement of generations against one another will bring to a culture. We must be willing to see the damage that comes when parents get replaced by a purple dinosaur, and how children would then vote for the next person who looks and acts like a purple dinosaur once they become old enough to vote.

The question comes, if children are consistently turned against their parents and encouraged to foment generational revolution, what is the point to having children who will only hate their parents? The fact is, those generational revolutionaries of 1968 have grown up and found out that there are not only few children around to hate them but also not enough children to pay for Social Security and other benefits for the elderly. These are the wages of intergenerational hatred systematically fostered by the entertainment industry.

Spengler is correct that “youth culture” is an oxymoron, and yet it is the very culture of generationalism that has eroded the vitality of the West. Strong families may be antithetical even to maudlin nostalgia that passes for tradition in some quarters, but they are also the best hope for the West in the long run. When the old and young work together, there is much that can be accomplished. When parents are encouraged to leave the raising of their children to people who do not love them, it should not be a surprise when bad consequences ensue.

Profitsbeard said...

I have to disagree with all the demographic deification.

Populations do not need to constantly increase.

Only cancer cells find that logic fulfilling... until they kill their host.

Reasonable limits to human numbers preserve a livable world and the fetish of endless growth is absurd.

The population of the WW II era (120-130 million) filled the U.S. sufficiently to defeat Nazism, Italian fascism and Japanese Imperialism, and no one then worried that there were too few people in the land.

It is not the numbers, but the quality of the populace that is central.

I'd rather have a country with more room for an enjoyment of the natural world and fewer megalopolises, landscape devouring uber-crackerbox suburbs, and a mere exponential metastasizing of the species.

The real threat is from un-assimilated influxes of illegal aliens (which then leads now-stable countries into Balkinization), and also from from militant ideological enemies~ like intolerant Islamic imperialism, and secular chaotic idiocies like anarchism, neo-fascism, and resurgent communism.

All such despotic and retrograde tyrannies will do more harm than not adding another fifty or a hundred milllion more bodies to a nation that can already manage at its current population level just fine... as long as it doesn't plan on requiring Ponzi schemes like Social Security and other government giveaway fantasies to "guarantee" everyones' financial future.

That's all the ever-increasing populace seems to be "needed" for by statisticians in all of these cradle-moaning calculations: feeding the endless Beast of Fiscal "pass-it-on-ism".

It won't work.

Because, by trying to keep the tax rolls forever fuller, you will eventually bankrupt the environment, strip away the natural resources, and erode the Liberty that made life worth living in the first place.

The true danger is in not defending what we have achieved, morally, spiritually, culturally, scientifically, artistically and socially.

Mere fertility is an idol as illusory as any clay icon from Catal Huyuk or Carthage.

We need inner riches, not simply outer prodigality.

Whiskey said...

Thanks very much Dymphna for the kind quote and link.

I do think that Spenlger has demographic insights. His stuff about death of nations I find questionable at best, lacking any data in his arguments.

Steve Sailer asserts that Spengler was a former Lyndon Larouche staffer, I neither know nor care if it's true. Spengler's arugments and data either stand on their own or do not.

His theological arguments are beyond me and frankly don't interest me; his demographic insight into Iran's demographic decline spurred me into looking into other nations like Iran.

Tunisia, Algeria, both have equivalent TFR rates of around 1.7, while Turkey is higher at above 3 IIRC, and Yemen has about 8, Malaysia around 5 IIRC. Curious folks can see for themselves at the excellent CIA World Fact Book which has extensive demographic stats for each nation.

I think that Iran, Algeria, and Tunisia, having low TFR even though they are Islamic, we can safely eliminate post-Christian modernism, communism, and many other factors for demographic decline.

Rather, there is something in urbanization, easily available contraception, yes abortion (a true tragedy Dymphna and one I have only recently began to ponder) along with rising incomes of women has caused really catastrophic crashes in fertility.

For example, the population declines hit France first, and hardest, in the 19th Century, around the 1840's, as urbanization and women's incomes grew. Contraception was more a theory than an easily available commodity. Yet Germany, subject to the same urbanization, had demographic declines MUCH later, in the 1910's prior to WWI. Britain's decline in population hit around the 1880's.

What this says to me is that creating a society where women marry early, have kids, and have happy and fulfilled lives is not very easy. That women, if there is any possibility of not having children, will avoid it for a good deal of time in peak fertility (Twenties).

Muslim nations, France, Britain, and Germany in their 19th-early 20th Century declines, had no easy divorce, modern arrangements for women, or other things we associate with demographic decline but yet experienced them (Spengler's insight though others such as Eugene Weber "Peasants into Frenchmen" noted it as well ). He draws theological conclusions from that, while I look for larger sociological factors.

My lesson: creating a fertile and productive society is very, VERY hard. You can't force women to have children, and making children wanted is difficult.

Marian - CZ said...

Some people have irresistible tendency to detect moral failures as root causes of any problem, and then preach about vice and virtue.

In order to do this, contradictory evidence must be suppressed or ignored, but good ranting is usually preferred to reality-based thinking.

The significant drop in fertility happens in all urbanized societies around the world, in all cultures. Look at Japan, Hong Kong or urban China. Look at Bangalore in India - as soon as it concentrated young ITprofessionals from the rest of the country, the same fertility pattern appeared.

I think that a lot of flyover-country Americans have no idea what is it to live in incredibly crowded cities like London or Tokyo. They do not have the idea how expensive are homes in such places. Even here in Prague, where the population density is still much below the Netherlands or southeast England or northern Italy, a small piece (10 000 sq ft) of free land to build a house on costs about 20 years of a single person's average income. Yes, you read it correctly. 20 years. Now, this is just land. The building costs are another at least 10 years of single person's average income. Only people who are really well-off can afford to build a small (for American standards) house in outskirts of Prague; a house which will be enough for a 2-child family. If you are not well-off, you will be a slave of debt for the rest of your productive life just to have some flat or small house here in the city. And children are expensive, and while you actually need to have a roof over your head, you do not need to have children. I am often surprised that people still do have children at all in these conditions.

Yes, part of the price tag is caused by taxation. But mostly, it is caused by the fact that the cities are crowded and living is very scarce.

And you cannot commute for big distances, as the cities are very compact and you would spend hours in traffic jams. The cities try to alleviate this problem by building underground road tunnels and parkings, but this is a slow and expensive work. Look at the Big Dig in Boston for some US example.

This dynamics works everywhere where large urban population is concentrated. Even in Tehran. I just read that renting a single-room flat in Tehran costs about 80% of the average young person's salary there. No wonder that Iran has fertility of 1,7 per woman.

Marian - CZ said...

BTW The total Iranian fertility is 1,7, but this is not a homogeneous variable. The primitive tribal villages on the eastern border of Iran (Baluchis, Pashtuns) are around 3,0 per woman.

The urbanized Persian population in big cities like Tehran is probably around 1,2.

I read it about a year ago. I cannot find the link, sorry.

Stavrogin said...

Goldman/Spengler is clearly a racist Jewish suprematist, yet no one at Gates of Vienna seems to mind. How would you take his comments on European extinction if he was a Muslim? This just shows your double standard.

"The West" is not al-Andalus. But it is not Israel either. Period.

Dymphna said...

Alexis said...

The main cause of the decline of the West's population is a "youth culture" which has existed since the 1920's.I agree that the youth culture got started then, but the estrangement from elders began in the 1960's -- i.e., the baby boomers' narcissistic hedonism.

The children of the twenties may have been hedonistic until 1929, but they had to postpone or forego the normal rites of passage to adulthood; 25% of the population was unemployed. And they endured (or not) WWII.

Was the destructiveness of Boomers due partly to their sheer numbers? Or maybe parents were making up for their own deprivations as children?

They were, and are, an anomaly. Once they pass the US will be a quieter place, even with increased immigration.

Fjordman said...

Stavrogin: Spengler can be annoying with his articles predicting what will happen generations down the road, but first and foremost he warns against declining European demographics. He does not encourage it.

Zenster said...

We are now a mélange of alternative arrangements in which the nuclear family is merely a niche phenomenon. [Spengler]

This is a poor choice of words, at best. Survival is not a “niche phenomenon”. Modern evolutionary conditions best favor individuals well-suited to surviving in a Low Context, high technology culture. The single greatest source of said successful types is the nuclear family. A brief examination of juvenile and adult crime statistics related to children from broken or single parent homes bears out much of this assertion.

Additional evidence is provided through profiling the rate of productive assimilation by immigrant youth arriving from High Context, low technology cultures, regardless of their deriving from a nuclear family or not. Although, it does seem intuitive that young immigrants from nuclear families might stand a better chance of successful integration into new host cultures.

The final measure or standard for any child-rearing environment is the ultimate survivability of the offspring issuing therefrom. The traditionally reduced economic status, lower levels of social competence and decreased scholastic achievement rates of children from divorced or single-parent households all point towards shorter life expectancy. The nuclear family’s marginalized role in providing society with healthy and productive members represents a major evolutionary distortion.

Dymphna: It is not just the unnatural (my word) and hostile ascendancy of women over men, it is also the sheer lack of numbers among the fertile, reproductive-age members of our country.

It seems useful to draw a comparison between this recent “ascendancy of women” and the emergence of “Black Liberation Theology”. Considering the relatively privileged role of White Males during the formative years of American history, their abandonment of that (largely mythical) privilege is certainly commendable, at least to some degree. One need only examine intensely male-chauvanistic Islamic culture to witness the dire results of men not surrendering any of their self-awarded status.

Unfortunately—as can be seen in such practitioners of Black Liberation Theology as Jerimiah Wright—ascendancy, and not equality, be it racial or gender-based, is the objective. The seems to be the case with modern women. Given a chance to share the reins of power, it has proven just as easy to simply snatch them away from those hands that benignly offered them. It is this pattern of “hostile ascendancy” that is wreaking tremendous damage in modern society.

Alexis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexis said...

Dymphna:

I agree that the youth culture got started then, but the estrangement from elders began in the 1960's -- i.e., the baby boomers' narcissistic hedonism.I agree with you that the effect started in the 1960's, but the incessant anti-parent propaganda started in earnest within the United States in the 1950's. It's rather interesting how Hollywood and the music industry used the same template as the Hitler Youth; the Nazis went out of their way to teach hostility toward parents as a means to promote Nazism among children whose parents were opposed to Nazi teachings.

I could go further and say that Progressivism in and of itself was a destabilizing influence upon families as it puts undue emphasis upon the latest fashions from universities. What's often forgotten by the Left is that "scientific racism" was actually a Progressive idea, one considerably at odds with Christian ideals.

islam o' phobe said...

Zenster,

Considering the relatively privileged role of White Males during the formative years of American history, their abandonment of that (largely mythical) privilege is certainly commendable, at least to some degree. One need only examine intensely male-chauvanistic Islamic culture to witness the dire results of men not surrendering any of their self-awarded status.Afghan women have the right to vote yet I would consider them less free than women living in a chivalrous Middle Ages Christian culture. When it come to modern Western women (and men) the problem is too much...not freedom exactly, but license. There's a kind of majoritarian culture that says if 51% of people approve something it's both correct and morally right.

Dymphna said...

Zenster said:

The seems to be the case with modern women. Given a chance to share the reins of power, it has proven just as easy to simply snatch them away from those hands that benignly offered them.Women weren't "benignly offered" a chance to share the reins of power. They had to fight for their place, and their fight came from their experience in the Abolitionist movement. Women realized that the freedoms they were demanding for black folks were freedoms that they themselves did not share.

My family home was "owned" by my father because back then the property of married women belonged to their husbands. He would regularly refinance the mortgage and take off with the proceeds. My mother would be left to begin paying the mortgage again and again.

In order to bring some fiscal control into her life, she had to legally divorce him (an expensive process) and then he had to be "persuaded" by family friends to sign over the deed to her so she could raise her children with some small bit of security.

Heck, until almost 1950, women in Florida couldn't even serve on juries.

And when I was studying theology, I was told by more than one priest that I didn't know my "place", which they told me in no uncertain terms was at home. This was in the late '70s.

"Benign" my foot, dear Zenster. We fought for it, but now the freedoms attained have been perverted into license and bitterness. But don't kid yourself: women still struggle in the workplace and at home.

When I was abused and called the police they told me to quit provoking my husband and to "let him sleep it off". The phone was jerked out of the wall at that point. And the police? They were right around the corner but they never showed up.

Did you know that the very first scholarly paper written about wife abuse was called "The Wife Beater's Wife"? See, it was *her* fault back then.

Benign indeed.

Avery Bullard said...

Jewish supremacist David P Goldman at First Things:

Either way, Amalek must die. The Jews are instructed to kill off the tribe of Amalek, while every Christian must kill the Amalekite within him. Christianity wants each individual member of the tribe of Amalek to die to this world and be reborn into the nation of Israel, Amalek’s most hated enemy. Christian converts from the pagan nations still carry their Gentile nature within them. To say that a Christian must be converted every day is to say that the Christian must kill this inner Amalekite every day. It is the Jew who converts the inner pagan inside each Christian, wrote Franz Rosenzweig, by which he meant that absent the living people of Israel, the Israel of the Spirit into which Christians hope to be adopted too easily becomes an abstraction.Translation of paragraph and every other Spengler column of the last few years: We European Gentiles must give up our ethnic and national identities and dedicate ourselves to Christian Zionism. If we don't do it voluntarily Jews like Goldman will 'convert the inner pagan' in each European into a servant of Israel.

Goldman's glee at the death of our languages and indeed our nations drips from every article he's written on the subject. But he's worried we won't be around as canon fodder or a buffer between his own people and their enemies.

Dymphna said...

A. Bullard:

Interesting quote. Could you please leave a link to this writing of Spengler's?

Thanks

Avery Bullard said...

Dymphna,

It is from First Things - Either way, Amalek must die

Homophobic Horse said...

Goldman is a gnostic.

"It is the Jew who converts the inner pagan inside each Christian."I'll believe this when we have services for the Saints in Hebrew.

Homophobic Horse said...

^^

To elaborate, I'll believe in "inner pagans" when we have services to Saint Seraphim of Sarov, among the many others, in Hebrew, and not in the language of the Amalekite, for that language is a seed of paganism and must be written out of history (yemach shemo). Far from either Christianity of Judaism Goldman's outlook logically resembles Muhammed, who ordained that the Koran could only be conveyed in Arabic.

"Either way, Amalek must die. The Jews are instructed to kill off the tribe of Amalek,[Consider the smoothly inserted non-sequitur here] while every Christian must kill the Amalekite within him. "

How on earth does that charlatan get his crap published for money?

Zenster said...

Dymphna: "Benign" my foot, dear Zenster. We fought for it, but now the freedoms attained have been perverted into license and bitterness. But don't kid yourself: women still struggle in the workplace and at home.

No argument. Thank you for the correction. I only meant to point out that the struggle for Women's Universal Suffrage in America was a much less strenuous process than it has been in may other countries and promises to be, especially, in the MME (Muslim Middle East). I did not mean to downplay the hardships that American womenfolk have gone through in this arduous task.

Anyone familiar with the body of my posts here at Gates of Vienna or elsewhere knows how I maintain that there remains a significant gap in socio-economic gender equality, here in America, and most other places in the world.

Erich said...

Spengler may be a genius about financial and sociological mysticism, but he's an idiot about Islam.

About a year ago, Robert Spencer as well as a long-time reader of JW, made mincemeat of Spengler's analysis of the problem of Islam.

May 7, 2007:

Spengler: "It is all so pointless and sophomoric; anyone can quote the Koran, or for that matter the Bible, to show whatever one wants"

[Spencer:] Spengler weighs in on the Armstrong/Spencer kerfuffle... and gets me all wrong...

"...to reduce all this to Qur'an citation wars and to assert that "anyone can quote the Koran, or for that matter the Bible, to show whatever one wants" is, to borrow a phrase, pointless and sophomoric. There are no armed groups of Jews and Christians committing violence today and justifying that violence by reference to their Scriptures. And, as I show in my upcoming book Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't, a close examination of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and how they have been interpreted, as compared to the Qur'an and how Muslims have interpreted it, shows that the texts are by no means equal in their capacity to incite to violence."

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/016335.php

May 14, 2007:

"Spengler, having gotten me wrong, gets me wrong some more"

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/016431.php

In the first linked JW article, most of the comments went way off-topic getting into debates with a Muslim named "sublimer". Scroll way down to find a good critical analysis on Spengler by "Khaybar Oasis":

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/016335.php#c390517

Somewhere in the comments field, someone posted this response by Spengler to Spencer:

Muslims are not comic-book villains. They are human beings in profound anguish, many of whom turn desperate and destructive. I am not saying this can be solved with therapy! One has to meet violent force with superior violent force, period. But in order to defeat your enemy, you first have to get inside his mind, and that requires empathy. Ticking off the bad guy’s bad points doesn’t do the job.36 posted on 05/08/2007 8:28:34 AM PDT by Spengler

Found this on freerepublic.com

To which I say, that's all well and good, but I don't think Spengler knows what's inside the Muslim mind: so his spelunking in that dark cesspool is not going to be of much worth to us, in my estimation.

Then, in the comments field of the second JW article linked, "Khaybar Oasis" does another fine job with critical analysis of Spengler:

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/016431.php#c394192

As well as a subsequent comment:

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/016431.php#c394321

Homophobic Horse said...

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/016335.php

Highly revealing link about "Spengler" that is. I don't think he even believes in God at all. He presents Islamic terrorism as a uniquely "Arab" (read: ETHNIC) struggle with "modernity" (it isn't, it's a global struggle against Dar Al Harb) and suggests that religious texts can be interpreted to mean anything the interpreter wants in accordance with secular will to power.