Monday, 5 June 2017

The Disintegration of the West

Amoral Tribalism

In an amoral age, such as ours, morality becomes tribal.  What is right is what our tribe says is right; what our tribe condemns is wrong, period.  Everything depends upon who is judging, us or "them".  In this context, "them" refers to anyone not of our tribe.

In a previous age, tribes and tribalism was considered to be primitive.  Making ethical decisions or moral constructs by referencing a tribe was to display ignorance and base prejudice.  But, as amorality has spread throughout the Western world increasingly people have resorted to tribalism.  Nowhere is this more evident than in modern political discourse.  Political Party A condemns Party B for a certain act or policy.  But when Party A does the exact same thing, overnight it becomes a wonderful idea and a great leap forward.

One of our local NZ scribes recently got stuck into the Labour Party for its gross hypocrisy over donations.  Our cynical take is that there is nothing to see here and that all should move along.  When there are no ethical absolutes, tribal loyalties are what bind, ethics be damned.  How else could any person or group function?

Not so long ago, Labour professed outrage at its political opponent "selling access to Cabinet Ministers for cash".  The idea is that big donors would be invited to have dinner with the "people of power".  Corruption!  Shame!  Evil!  We get the point.  Now, however, Labour racked with impecuniosity, has launched a similar scheme.  The details are not relevant, the operator is.  Bottom line: when our political opponents do it, all is evil.  When we do it, holiness flows down in sanctimonious rivers.

Behold the inevitable tribalism when amorality is the norm.
 But such things cannot exist in a vacuum. With tribalism comes the risk of extremism.  When the tribe represents the final court of appeal, principles and beliefs tend to be held "no matter what".  We are right!  You are wrong!  Shut up--and if you don't "ve vill shut you up!"  In the past ten years we have seen more attacks upon freedom of speech than we have in our lifetime.  This is not an isolated phenomenon: it is becoming the norm throughout the West.

For example, consider the demand for universities and colleges to be "safe spaces"--which is code for shutting one's opponents down, stripping them of free speech rights.  Wrong tribe: shut up.  Consider how abortion activists and pro-abortion politicians have gone to extraordinary lengths to oppress their opponents.  Wrong tribe: put them in the iron mask.  It represents the inevitable tribalism which arises out of an amoral culture.
. . .  France has criminalized “obstruction to abortion” for more than 15 years, prohibiting “moral and psychological pressure searching to hinder abortion.” Pro-life French citizens are not permitted to attempt to dissuade women from having abortions or to hold public demonstrations near facilities providing abortions. Under this law, an elderly and nearly blind man was fined for giving knitted baby booties to a woman in the stairway of a building housing Planned Parenthood.

But this was not enough for abortion advocates who want to completely eradicate pro-life voices from the public square. With their encouragement, French president François Hollande just signed into law a measure that prohibits any person or website from posting information on alternatives to abortion or espousing the belief that abortion is immoral. Violations of the new law are punishable by two years in prison and a €30,000 fine.

French officials are conspicuously prioritizing abortion over a central principle enshrined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted in 1789 following the French Revolution. Article 11 of this historic and influential human-rights charter provides that the “free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man.” Sadly, in seeking to methodically strip its pro-life citizens of their most basic rights, the French are in good company.

An Australian woman’s conviction for peacefully displaying an image of an aborted baby outside a Melbourne abortion clinic was recently upheld, while pro-life students at some of England’s most prestigious universities regularly face ostracism and censorship.
Not to be outdone, abortion advocates in the United States are actively seeking to deny pro-life Americans their constitutional rights. Pro-life displays on college campuses are routinely vandalized, most recently in California, Colorado, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. Crosses representing lost unborn lives are kicked over, signs displaying pro-life messages are methodically destroyed, and pro-life students are even physically attacked. At the behest of NARAL and other abortion advocates, the free-speech rights of pregnancy centers in California, Illinois, and Maryland have been infringed by laws forcing them to promote abortion. Connecticut and Hawaii are currently considering similar legislation.  [Denise Burke, National Review Online]
It is a mark of a tribalist society that when opposing views  clash, war of one form or another results.  There are few other ways to resolve conflicts.  In our societies (at least at present) war is represented by one tribe or other using state powers to oppress competing tribes.  War is the inevitable outcome of a society built upon amorality.

To paraphrase Mao Zedong, "Rights grow out of the barrel of a gun".

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