Saturday, March 26, 2005

Mark Steyn: "One Nation Under God"

"One Nation Under God" by Mark Steyn.

When men cease to believe in God,’ said Chesterton, ‘they do not believe in nothing; they believe in anything!’ The anything most of the Western world’s non-believers believe in is government: instead of a state church, Europe believes in the state as church — the purveyor of cradle-to-grave welfare will provide daycare for your babies and take your aged parents off your hands. The people are happy to have cast off the supposed stultifying oppressiveness of religion for a world in which the state regulates every aspect of life. The French government’s recent headscarf ban — which, in the interests of an ecumenical fig-leaf, is also a ban on yarmulkes and ‘large’ crucifixes — seems the way of the future, an attempt to push all religion to the fringes of life. A couple of years back, a Canadian ‘human rights commission’, in its ruling that a Christian printer had illegally discriminated against a gay group by turning down a printing job for pro-gay literature, said he had the right to his religious beliefs in his own home but he had to check them at the door when he left for work in the morning. Who’s in the closet now?
Marriage is a dying institution: Quebec has the highest rate of common-law relationships on the continent. Families are a dying institution: Quebec has the highest rate of abortion in Canada. And more to the point, as far as the separatists are concerned, the dream of an independent country is dead. Andre Langevin, the enterprising mayor of Coaticook, a small town on my commute from New Hampshire to Montreal, offers his citizens $75 for their first child, $150 for the second, and $750 for every child thereafter, plus various other incentives. M. Langevin understands the basic arithmetic of the Euro-Canadian welfare state: without population growth, it’s insolvent. Unfortunately, the paradox of a welfarist society is that it weans people away from the familial impulse necessary to sustain it.
In post-Christian Europe — where fertile women who not so long ago would have had three children by the age of 24 now have one designer child at 39, where social welfare programmes depend on a growing population, where the main source of immigration is from a culture that despises secularism as weak, short-sighted narcissism — societal ‘forgetfulness’ isn’t just a passing phase you can snap out of. In this situation, the Christian fundamentalists, Holy Rollers, born-again Bible Belters and Jesus freaks of America are the rationalists. It’s the hyper-rationalists of secular Europe who are living on blind faith.

Read the whole thing here.
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