Commentary: The Slow-Motion Suicide of the West

I have been thinking a good deal recently about Arnold Toynbee’s much-quoted observation that “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” As an historical proposition, I’d say that it was like the story of the curate’s breakfast egg. “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr. Jones!” “Oh no, my Lord, I assure you!” the curate replied. “Parts of it are excellent!”

And yet we all see the pertinence of Toynbee’s point. While there are, as a matter of historical fact, plenty of civilizations that succumb to invasion, occupation, and subjugation, there are also many that wither from within from a failure of self-confidence, of (for the Bergsonians out there) élan vital, of what your philosophy graduate student likes to call thumos: spirit, gumption, “heart,” manliness.

The fact that no one can even speak of “manliness” today without looking over his shoulder these days is an index that thumos is on the endangered species list (along, as it happens, with sperm counts in the Western world). Why this should be is a fraught question—something whose answer is “overdetermined” as our Freudian friends like to say.

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Commentary: The Destruction of Marriage and Family is the Destruction of Civilization

Marriage and families are the cornerstone of not only civilization but of nature itself, without which humans would have never survived as wandering nomads and early farmers, let alone building cities, an economy and governments to represent the people in state-to-state relations.

Without families as a basic building block, children are not nurtured, educated and empowered to raise and sustain families themselves, and the human race could not continue, always being but one generation away from extinction.

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