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February 10, 2009

Our Deep-Rooted Need

Here's a good follow-up to my earlier piece "Off with His Head." Philosopher Roger Scruton warns us that unless we add "heart" to our civilization, the West will cease to be.  

Scruton says that Western civilization will fail because mere "citizenship is not enough" to sustain a culture. Prior generations slowly stopped transmitting the West's rich cultural heritage to succeeding generations. But it takes more than mere citizenship to keep a civilization alive. We have a "deep-rooted human need for social membership" -- and something else.   

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Jason Taylor

Of course Holland was always a society like that. It was a merchant state not an ethnic state and merchant states tend to take such things less seriously. On the other hand the old Dutch Republic would not have exagerrated it's tolerance that much.

In any case the fact is that in modern times we seem to be constantly haunted by extremes of collectivism and individualism. Which reinforce each other. Don't rat on your friends is not an individualistic ideal and yet it is hardly conducive to The Collective. Whereas the converse is.
Much of the modern world thinks either that there is an actual virtue in selfishness. Or that a person has no existence apart from the group he is placed in for ideological reasons(even though he may not in fact identify with that group). The proper attitude is that individuals do have rights. But they also have responsibilities to friends, family, and society. A society that has no "glue" is in the same position as a shoal of herring when the fishermen(who of course do have "glue" in the form of their ship)come out. That is a shoal of herring is not a thing in itself, it is a bunch of herring in the same place. Fishermen are a crew, and herring have not yet figured out how to avoid being lunch. Hopefully Dutchmen-who eat herring regularly by the way-will remember before they become lunch.

Kim Moreland

Oh, those oily herring.

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