Prince Prospero's Castle 2
Readers who liked Prince Prospero's Castle should listen to the podcast at Pajamas Media featuring Mark Steyn, Glenn Reynolds and Austin Bay which covers much of the same ground. The podcast starts with an examination of what Pope Benedict's talking points really were, and how he so to speak, has put a key issue of the age where we can't ignore it. From there the discussion moves on to Mark Steyn's book America Alone which enlarges on his familiar themes but in ways that dramatically underscore the demographic and psychological weaknesses of the West. If ever you were confident that the current world crisis was "no big deal", this discussion may change your mind.
Of course, the curious thing was why Steyn, Reynolds and Bay should be talking about a subject quite similar to my post of yesterday's. And the answer I like to think is more than coincidence. The German philosophers noticed that every generation comes to a tacit consensus about the main challenges of their times. They used the term zeitgeist, which "refers to the ethos of a cohort of people, that spans one or more subsequent generations, who despite their diverse age and socio-economic background experience a certain worldview". And the reason why news stories, commentary and even Papal lectures seem to be led again and again onto similar ground is simply that: zeitgeist. One of the reasons I think the Left is doing a disservice to the West and even to itself has been its adamant denial that there is anything new we need to take cognizance of. This is expressed in the vague notion that we had already attained an "End of History" by the late 1990s from which we have perversely strayed. And the principal objective of "progressive" politics is to end our sojourn in the wilderness -- a wilderness into which we have been fecklessly led by an illiterate President -- to return to the stable, multicultural palace of the late Clinton years. In this view, there is no new spirit of the age, at least one which is not the product of a vast, right wing conspiracy. Mark Steyn observed in the podcast that the main danger the West faced was to "think of the present as a kind of a permanent state", and hastens to remind us that yes, there is a future. And a dark one unless we can nerve ourselves to look upon it.