Pornography, Nihilism, Flappancy and Parochialism.
An essay by David Warren entitled The Killing Fields. It discusses the work of a sociologist named Masaryk, whose work, while being properly scientifically verifiable, does not please the somewhat unscientific idolaters of Science, and lies supine in obscurity.
It was Masaryk's thesis that suicide rates, already at historical highs, and climbing, in the more industrially advanced parts of Europe by the 1880s, would continue to rise through the decades ahead, with decreasing religiosity and increasing modernization. He predicted that this trend would spread to regions yet untouched, as the symptoms of modernity reached them.
This was not so much a question of religious denomination, as of religious practice. There would be a rough, inverse correlation between church attendance and the suicide rate. Later statistical studies have borne this out, and Masaryk thus stands among the few sociologists whose work retains any empirical value.
Masaryk's book is much deeper and more comprehensive than Le suicide (1897), by Emile Durkheim -- still presented as the standard classic on its subject to sociology majors, who will never hear of Masaryk. This is partly because of Masaryk's "unmodern" audacity, in showing that the phenomena of suicide are moral and religious, as opposed to natural.
The many symptoms of civilizational decay that lay partly concealed beneath the surface of society only recently came into full view, in the open pornography, the open nihilism, the despairing flippancy, visible throughout our contemporary public life. But the pond was long draining, and it is only now we see fish flopping in the mud.
Euthanasia is the final "life issue," the clincher for what the last pope called "the culture of death." Even when legalizing abortion, we agreed only to the slaughter of human beings we could not see. It was still possible to look away, to pretend we were not killing "real people," only "potential people." But when we embrace so-called "mercy killing," we embrace slaughter not only for the sick and old, but ultimately, the "option" of easy suicide for ourselves. It will be hard to go lower.
Read the whole thing here
My comment: Mr. Warren mentions open pornography, the open nihilism, despairing flippancy, but he does not mention the parochialism of the modern age; the pride; the blinding, headsplitting arrogance of those that think all that came before them was rubbish, and that the modern sins, no matter what they are, are signs of progress and greatness. I submit this is also a sign of social corruption, since it is the primary sign of the lack of a corrective social mechanism: when the minds of men are so blind that they cannot even imagine a different or a better world, and so amnesiac that they cannot remember legacies lost, the ability to correct current errors is lost. Men born and raised on the dole (for example) cannot fight for independence, because they cannot envision it, not as a possibility, not even as a thought-experiment.
It is ghastly to come across evidence of this narrowness of outlook in my own field: the one reason why science fiction can claim that it merits more than to be dismissed as juvenile wish-fulfillment, pulp fiction, and rubbish, is that it is imaginative. Science fiction peers across the crenelations of time, if only with the mind's eye, and sees what the world looks like from another viewpoint.
But alas, even while they are congratulating themselves on their broadmindedness, a generation cut off from the past, the generation for whom it is always Year Zero, the year of the revolution, pictures only those futures that reflect their present political concerns and political correctnesses, as if the latest fad were eternal writ.
I remember a story of mine set half a million years in the future being criticized on the grounds that it displayed insufficient sensitivity toward environmental issues.
I remember a role-playing game set alone the time-road from Roger Zelazny's under-appreciated ROADMARKS. The moderator there introduced a character from an alternate time-branch of World War Two, and the player-characters saw a Negro officer in an SS Uniform. The master race was not the Aryans in that time-branch, you see. Well, one of the players asked in astonishment, "You mean the SS Officer is an African-American?" The moderator sardonically replied, "Well, no; obviously he is German."
The player asking the question did not even realize he was speaking in jargon. He had never heard honest language in his life: he had only heard Newspeak, the special non-language of word-noises and nonsense-phrases chosen and used by those who think language is a tool of social engineering, not something with an innate integrity or worth.