Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fr. Neuhaus was Right

From First Things:
Young people in North America and Western Europe are becoming skeptical of free speech, human rights, and free elections. Not only are they less likely to vote than young people in the past, they are less likely to attend protests, marches, and sit-ins. They are half as likely as older people to join humanitarian organizations or human rights campaigns. Robert Bellah spoke of a “civil religion” that sustains democratic faith. In terms of that faith, today’s youth are unchurched. They are increasingly alienated from democratic rituals, from democratic values, from democracy itself.

It is tempting to see this political disaffection as a symptom of end-of-history complacency. Young people who have not had to fight for the free world cannot be expected to see its advantages. But Neuhaus warned that something else is going on. Today, even those undisturbed by the fact that sixty million Americans have been aborted since 1973 should be able to see that all is not well. Real average hourly wages have not increased for fifty years. A national increase in deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drug abuse has caused overall life expectancy to decline for the first time since the AIDS epidemic.

We are told that these outcomes are simply the result of individual choice; to stop them would be an intolerable infringement on the rights of privacy and private property. This is the logic that has done so much to discredit liberal democracy. Economics is now treated as less a question of justice than a narrow and technical science. Politics is confined to policy questions rather than competing visions of right and wrong. Our regime hopes to maximize happiness by encouraging individual choice. It accepts abortion and overdose as the price for free love and free trade. It offers us every personal satisfaction, but nothing we can share. Even if our regime did maximize individual preference, that would not be enough. It is not good for man to be alone. Our good is necessarily common rather than merely personal and private.

For drawing attention to these facts, Neuhaus was shouted down. William F. Buckley defended him: “Loyalty has always got to be contingent. . . . We cannot love what is not lovely.” (Read more.)


Unknown said...

I am,one millennial that is not like this.

Unknown said...

The West has its flaws, but at the end of the day, what we have here is worth defending, and we must. A future where the entire world is one huge third world hellhole is too awful to think of.