Thus the social market, as practiced in Europe, requires the state to step in and provide for those without work and to provide for the mothers of children who have no resident father. These are inevitable results of transferring the responsibility for charity from the community to the state, which is itself an inevitable result of the attempt to make a humane economy, rather than a humane society… The facts have been effectively documented by Charles Murray and others. And the result is clear: that Charles Murray and those like him could never hope to be employed in the state educational system in Europe and would be subject to official condemnation by any politician called upon to consider the matter. The state has externalized the costs of its â??social marketâ?? policies onto society, and the greater the costs, the more the state expands with fictitious plans to reduce them. Never has a better machine for expanding the rentier class of bureaucrats been devised than this one, which constantly amplifies the problem that it is established to solve. Hence, as educational achievement declines in Europe, state expenditure on education increasesâ??to the point where, in Britain, there are nearly two bureaucrats for every teacher, appointed to deal with the social problems that they themselves make a living by producing.
Roger Scruton The Journey Home Intercollegiate Review Spring 2009
A five step neo-Darwinian refutation of neo-Darwinism:
1. A person is, in Richard Dawkinsâ?? beautiful phrase, â??a geneâ??s way of making another geneâ??. So forget religion, forget values, forget ideals, its all about reproduction; handing on our genes to the next generation.
2. Europe today is the most secular region in the world.
3. Europe today is the only region in the world which is experiencing population decline. As you know, zero population growth â?? a stable population â?? requires an average of 2.1 children for every woman of child-bearing age in the population. Not one European country has anything like that rate today. Here are the 2004 figures: In the United Kingdom: 1.74, in the Netherlands: 1.73, Germany: 1.37, Italy: 1.33, Spain: 1.32 and Greece: 1.29.
4. Wherever you turn today anywhere in the world, and whether you look at the Jewish or Christian or Muslim communities, you will find the more religious the community, the larger, on average, are its families.
5. The major assault on religion today comes from the neo-Darwinians.
From which it follows, as night doth follow day, that if you are a true neo-Darwinian believer you want there to be as few neo-Darwinians as possible. QED.
Parenthood involves massive sacrifice: of money, attention, time and emotional energy. Where today, in European culture with its consumerism and its instant gratification â??because youâ??re worth itâ??, in that culture, where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for the sake of generations not yet born? Europe, at least the indigenous population of Europe, is dying, exactly as Polybius said about ancient Greece in the third pre-Christian century. The century that is intellectually the closest to our own â?? the century of the sceptics and the epicureans and the cynics. Polybius wrote this:
The fact is, that the people of Hellas had entered upon the false path of ostentation, avarice and laziness, and were therefore becoming unwilling to marry, or if they did marry, to bring up the children born to them; the majority were only willing to bring up at most one or two.
That is why Greece died. That is where Europe is today. Now, that is one of the un-sayable truths of our time. We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no one is talking about it. The only serious philosophical question is â??Why should I have a child?â??
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sachs
James Featherby is calling for Christian responses to the Credit Crunch
The structure of the banking and financial markets are complex, and the transactions within it equally so. This often calls for nuanced judgement calls to be made between a variety of issues and the balancing of one set of competing duties against another. It is difficult to discern the moral issues involved. It can be even more difficult to weigh the competing issues once they have been identified.
The whole gamut of human weakness has contributed to the credit crunch. This includes much that is morally culpable, but also much that is not. Simple lack of knowledge and foresight has been a major factor.
Filling the values gap is not the only answer on offer, and many will not see it as the solution. We will need to compete with the other remedies on offer. I would suggest that we need to do three things:
• First, rediscover God’s values in the areas of economics, business, personal finance and consumption.
• Second, rediscover our confidence in these values as being best for us, our neighbours and our children.
• Third, find the right ‘voice’ to communicate these values – a voice that offers life and not condemnation.
The credit crunch has delivered a profound shock to the foundations upon which the Western economic model was built. But will our financial institutions and governments simply weather the storm, make few minor regulatory adjustments and carry on as before? Can we take this perhaps once in a generation opportunity to consider the values that drive the system and reflect on what values should be driving the system?
James Featherby has produced the pithy twenty-page The White Swan Formula (PDF 2.9 MB)
F?rst, let us not rush past the moment in which we now stand. We will not learn lessons unless we engage fully with the consequences of our mistakes. A key part of that is a proper engagement with the pain caused by our shortcomings.
For too long, for example, the f?nancial community has denied responsibility for the effects of the capital that it raises and allocates. So let us pause and recognise the personal and f?nancial pain, close at hand and further af?eld, caused by this crisis.
Second, we must determine to understand and apply these values ourselves.
Unless we personally seek to serve, rather than be served, we will simply be hypocrites, and our arguments will remain hollow. Each of us needs to believe that these values work in practice for us individually, as well as for others, and then act accordingly. We need, quite literally, to put our money where our mouth is.
Third, we can join the debate and make our contribution. Everywhere the question is being asked ‘What sort of economy do we want?’ Let us engage in the discussion. We must not be satisf?ed with conventional wisdom that says change cannot happen. It is better to blow the trumpet beforehand than reach for the whistle afterwards. Let us be for something, not just against something. One can never tell when the tipping point of opinion will be reached, and without the last straw the camel’s back remains intact.
The discussion is needed on multiple levels… Let us also look long and hard at solutions to the current crisis that simply try to return things to how they were, at least for those of us in the West, by borrowing more and saddling the next generation with the burden of paying the price that we decided not to bear ourselves.
Yup, but will talk about values do it? Or will it require processes of public judgment and public repentance which is, I think, what is meant by ‘engage fully with the consequences of our mistakes’ and ‘proper engagement with the pain caused by our shortcomings’?