Monday, May 01, 2017

Predicting liberal decline

Twenty years ago I thought that little would be achieved until a section of the Western political class (meaning all those people of an intellectual bent interested in politics) broke decisively with liberalism.

It took a painfully long time, but it has now begun to happen. Look, for instance, at the following thread that I found on Twitter. It's written by a young man who has graduated from Oxford in the fields of politics, economics and philosophy.



Of the assertions he makes I agree with No.1. The growth in the number of students I teach with severe anxiety issues is astonishing (though I'm not entirely sure what's causing it).

No.2 is likely to take place. Family stability doesn't happen by accident - it requires the support of legal and economic policies, of religious belief, of moral principle and, above all, of a whole series of cultural and philosophical understandings about love, human fulfilment, sexual complementarity, social commitments etc. It seems unlikely that the selfish, atomised individualism that reigns in a liberal society will provide the support that a stable family life requires.

No.3 is already well under way. We will have to see what kind of resistance develops over the next few years.

No.4 I'm not so sure about. It does seem to be true that employment is becoming less stable, with more people working casually or on contracts.

No.5 is already happening and is likely to intensify. Liberals are pushing ahead with ever more radical racial and sexual politics which can only alienate some parts of the population. There is no sign yet that they are drawing back.

No.6 is interesting. We don't talk about this much. Western liberalism is likely to lose some of its prestige as other powers rise.

No.7 is also critical. Liberals will continue to blame white males for failures in achieving liberal utopia. But the liberal elite itself is the obvious target of discontent for the problems of a liberal society.

15 comments:

  1. Hi Mark, as to the atomised individualism you refer to, a thought came to mind the other day: we often hear, "she is somebody's mother or sister," or "he is somebody's brother or father."

    The disconnect is so bad we have commodified and/or dehumanised people that the next generations are having to be "told" to humanise their fellow citizens.

    How tragic is that!

    As Christian parents, my wife and I work hard to build relationships with our kids, as a heart matter. And while they are young, we bring simple Bible teachings such as the Ten Commandments to the table, as head matters (principles). And to employ "sorry" and "I forgive you" as dealing with emotional matters (character building), and so on. Even at their very young ages we see kids who are certain of their parents' love, who have a surety and comfort upon them. They are receiving a foundation on which to build their lives, and already they are flourishing. Their joy brings us joy.

    In nuclear families (which I call utilitarian parenting units), where hands-off parenting is justified as "teaching independence" kids are often raised without a foundation or safety net; without the unfolding of real, connected relationships of belonging. It is no guarantee of failure, but, in my opinion, fails to give children a sense of belonging, a sense of a small community (family), a sense of relationships, and so on. These kids receive no foundation and are left to try to build one later in life, if they have the courage and strength.

    Many suffer for it, as kids shrink within themselves.

    Autonomy theory, as carried out in the nuclear family, seems to be more about ripping the ground out from under kids, leaving them unsure of themselves and their futures. Is it any wonder then, that kids suffer socially, mentally, morally, and so on.

    On this I speak from personal experience.

    To me, this is little more than an abrogation of duty from such parents, and is portrayed as a socially acceptable form of child abuse.

    Too often we put the cart before the horse: independence comes well after interdependence, if at all.

    And is independence really a thing? Do we not move from our childhood family, to one of our own, where we build new relationships? As a husband, my wife and I work inter-dependently.

    Independence, self-reliance, autonomy theory, are the biggest lies of all. We are social creatures that crave relationships, connections and belonging.

    No man is an island.

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    1. Matt, that's a well written response. It reminds me of the kind of family culture that you get a sense of from nineteenth century journals.

      My own take on the rise of anxiety issues in children is that it has to do with early childhood maternal bonding. I don't have any scientific evidence for this theory, it's just musing on my part.

      When children have a secure sense of mother love, it seems to provide a base level of self-esteem and security that lasts throughout life.

      So the question is what happens when this is absent or interrupted. Perhaps the mother chooses or is forced to go out to work and so is absent from the home for much of the day. Perhaps the mother herself suffered from an insecure attachment with her own mother and so is damaged in her own personality and cannot really impart the mother love to the chid, even if she is at home. Perhaps some women are brought up to resent the maternal role and the child has a sense of this. Perhaps, even, the mother is capable of giving love to the child, but it is interrupted for some reason beyond her control (illness etc.).

      If you have a particularly sensitive child, then the effects seem to be worse.

      I don't think that men can do much to fill in the gap (grandmothers seem to be the next best thing).

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    2. What you describe is Bowlby's Attachment Theory which has a vital role in early development. You are right that aunts and Grandmothers can replace or supplement an inadequate mother but men cannot fulfil this role.

      Failure of maternal bonding with an infant is in the majority of cases a consequence of personality disorders, mental illness and other psychological disturbance with the mother. These disorders, in turn, are usually the consequences of dysfunctional family life in the maternal family of origin. Illness and absence from the home play a part but the critical period is the first 3 months of life and the crucial factor, maternal psychological well being.

      That in turn brings us to the question of how psychological disorders can be detected in prospective marriage partners. Most of the minor psychological disturbances and personality disorders can be easily hidden in normal social interactions, the person appearing, to the untrained observer, as entirely normal. Women are more adept at hiding the symptoms of these disorders than are men. They are also highly manipulative and can readily manipulate men emotionally and sexually. Hence any man selecting a wife needs to have a thorough evaluation of the prospective bride's background and personal development and family of origin.

      Maternal bonding is also essential to the development of the immune system hence its failure causes instability and hyperactivity of the immune system manifested in the increasing rates of asthma, eczema, cancer and auto immune disorders.





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    3. Anon (above), thanks for this. I had not heard of Bowlby's Attachment Theory but will look it up. I do agree with what you write about personality disorders in mothers. I think young men, particularly those from relatively functional circumstances, don't really understand how these disorders manifest themselves. It is not as if the woman presents herself to the man in an overt way as "crazy". You are absolutely correct that the best option for men is to *thoroughly* check a prospective brides background, including her ability to complete things (studies, jobs) and the stability of her relationships with parents, siblings and friends. It is not enough for a man to quiz a woman on these things, as a woman with a personality disorder can be adept at presenting only as much information as will be reassuring to the man.

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    4. A man himself cannot reliably check the background of a prospective bride because the majority of cases will not yield obvious information pointing to the disorder. The majority of people with personality disorders appear normal, at times highly competent, and family and friends are often manipulated and controlled by them. It is stress which triggers the symptoms of disorders and the first major stress such people encounter is marriage or childbirth precisely because these events trigger a change in status which is not easily reversed and the normal defence mechanisms collapse or cannot be completely maintained. It is at that point they can appear to be "crazy" or even psychotic.

      A man who is attracted to a woman has emotional involvement in the relationship and when emotions take precedence, rational thought goes out of the window. He will tend to disregard or explain away any red flags, find excuses to rationalise the behaviour or even assume that they will vanish on marriage or he might even be able to cure the problem! A man involved in this situation, will never be able to take an objective view.

      It takes people who are not involved in the relationship to make an objective assessment. Parents, relatives and priests are better placed to make this assessment using reason and logic, unclouded by emotion.

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    5. Anon, very true. But here is the problem. The parents, relatives and priests *of today* are not likely to do much better because they have not been part of a culture which takes such matters seriously. A lot of parents today would respond to a prospective marriage partner by saying "whatever makes you happy." This is not to deny your point, which is that these people *should* be competent to screen for such matters. But we would have to restore their interest and concern in wisely discriminating. I think too that living in large, anonymous cities doesn't help much either as a person with a disorder can more easily get away with avoiding a reputation for accumulated behaviour - it can be hidden away. A final point - the family of the disordered woman is often not much help either as there is often an intergenerational dysfunction - the future mother-in-law may be adeptly disordered just as the future wife is.

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    6. That is true, personality disordered individuals are supported by dysfunctional families with enmeshed relationships and these are perpetuated intergenerationally, becoming like yeast (or a cancer) within society which leads to a progressive increase in psychic disorders and social functioning. That is, in essence, why traditional wisdom frowned upon marriages into unknown families, the risk of affiliation with an unknown commodity being too great.

      I think many priests have discernment and try to give guidance which often falls on deaf ears or meets with angry resistance. The priests in England talk about the necessity for the sacrament of marriage to based upon truth and that truth is discerned by critical evaluation of the suitability of the partner for lifelong marriage and should never be based merely upon "nice feelings". However, the extent of brainwashing by Hollywood and other media makes people resistant to reason.

      The difficulty is with the parents rather than the Church. Taking the view of "whatever makes you happy" - a total abdication of the parental role - is they problem because the key issue is what is good for society and not the individuals concerned. The pursuit of happiness usually does not lead to happiness, like other forms of idolatry, leads to failure. However it is indicative of the collapse of the family and marriage reduced to a personal partnership for the pursuit of personal interest. This is precisely why the same parents have no opposition to "gay marriage". They have no interest in the well being of their children, their grandchildren, their culture and country and no concern whether these survive past their own lifespans.

      When cultures are weak and do not defend their own land and possessions, others will come and take these things.



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  2. No.1. The growth in the number of students I teach with severe anxiety issues is astonishing (though I'm not entirely sure what's causing it).

    Dysfunctional family life is the cause of child and adolescent neurosis and emotional disorders. The collapse of the family has deprived children and adolescents of the domestic stability and security which is essential for the development of normal psychic functions and emotional control. In addition to stability and security, children need a stable identity and clear, unambiguous values. Divorce and cohabitation have undermined family stability but an often over looked cause is the married family, which to the outsider may appear normal, but internally is a breeding ground for conflict, resentment and disorder. Such dysfunction is not conducive to healthy childrearing.

    The majority of marriages occurring now are not contracted for the explicit purpose of childrearing. When children are born, the fragile unions, unprepared for the task, are stressed and collapse. The statistics show that the majority of divorces occur after children arrive, demonstrating very clearly that the spouses had insufficient commitment to the primary purpose of marriage.

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    1. The collapse of the family has deprived children and adolescents of the domestic stability and security which is essential for the development of normal psychic functions and emotional control. In addition to stability and security, children need a stable identity and clear, unambiguous values.

      Yes, that could well be a significant part of what is going wrong.

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  3. Family stability doesn't happen by accident - it requires the support of legal and economic policies, of religious belief, of moral principle and, above all, of a whole series of cultural and philosophical understandings about love, human fulfilment, sexual complementarity, social commitments etc. It seems unlikely that the selfish, atomised individualism that reigns in a liberal society will provide the support that a stable family life requires.

    Legal and economic policies are of secondary importance and on their own cannot support marriage for the reason that marriage does not arise from the state but from families which are independent of the state. Marriage must first be supported by families who arrange, contract, support marriages and sanction those who try to break the rules. A community which has strong family traditions can maintain these in any legal or political setting. The Sikhs, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Orthodox Jews can migrate any where from the liberal West to conservative Malaysia maintaining their family values everywhere.

    Without strong family and religious tradition, the state cannot rescue marriage. Neither can the average person understand philosophy nor the long term consequences of their actions on society. People need rules which they follow because history has shown that they work.

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  4. Assume this is Ash MQ one of the admins on the Open Oxford page and originally also associated with Jacob Williams's 'No Offence' magazine which spluttered for two issues.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/383422271856937/

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  5. A lot of young men are 'awake' to the bleakness of the future thanks to The Red Pill. There are lot of youngsters out there abstaining from alcohol, building their physical strength, embracing Christianity, marrying sensibly and deriving good income from multiple independent revenue streams (so as to protect themselves from SJW doxxing). The future is not lost yet.

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  6. Point 6 is very very important. During the Cold War it was possible for dissidents on both sides to take comfort from the fact that an alternative existed (however imperfect such an alternative may have been in practice). There was plenty of anger and plenty of anxiety but no real despair. If you lived under communism and you hated it then the West was there as a beacon of hope. If you lived in the West and you hated it then the Soviet Union was there as a beacon of hope. It is incredibly important to have something, however tenuous, that keeps despair at bay.

    After the end of the Cold War we had a unipolar world in which western elites were working to impose a single political and economic order on the entire planet. There would be no escape from globalism. Every country on earth was to be forced to submit. There would be nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. For dissidents, no beacon of hope anywhere.

    So the rise of China is incredibly important. It means there is an alternative. Maybe not the kind of alternative you'd choose in an ideal world but nonetheless a viable working alternative. The existence of an alternative offers an escape from despair.

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