And which encourages the cheap morality of Altruism by Proxy, by showing how generous and caring the modern liberal is through taxing and regulating other people to death?
As I hinted at in the earlier essay, one key is the attitude of educated and liberated women, because men will happily crawl through broken glass like a Pavlovian dog if the sex reward is at the other side. Those women want men to say Bush is Hitler? Guess what, many will rush to sign up for that bandwagon.
Or change the demand (according to women's perogative) to finding a spine and fighting a real war against jihad? Splendid, we'll sign up in droves for that action! Yes, men are much like drones, or simple moths to the flame, in that regard.
Indeed, in opposition to the Lysistrata syndrome many of today's women are exercising, one little-discussed and largely unsung element of World War Two was a kind of "reverse-Lysistrata" attitude. Everyone understanding the gravity of the situation, young patriotic women -- "good" girls who had expected to be virgins on their wedding night -- without being told, showed up to give the young, green G.I.s (hardly more than boys themselves) a night to remember just before being shipped overseas into combat. It was all they could think to do. A shared complete self-sacrifice. True altruism.
But, I don't expect anything like that to happen today. It would require too radical and sudden a conversion, and would probably only be triggered by truly horrific and terrifying events.
Instead, we can all counter this culture of equivalence and non-judgment, by starting to judge.
Yes, judge others -- but this is not a license to harm them. Rather, use your judgment and discrimination (there's a word that has to be reclaimed from having a purely negative meaning!) to determine with whom you will continue to associate and respect. And with whom you will agree, and disagree. Take a stand. Or at least, do not simply be a follower of popular opinion.
Reserve instead your strongest judgments -- for yourself.
I am not necessarily advocating arbitrary self-denial and restriction, but rather a process of societal maturation. A new seriousness in our concerns, over real problems and issues, rather than over the next winner of American Idol or manufactured crises demanding big-government "solutions" like Global Warming.
And what we will find is that the essence of being a real adult is doing what you have to do, whether you want to now or not, because it has to be done or because it's simply the right thing to do.
And it will require developing a better knowledge of our own history, and the taking of pride in it -- warts and all.
It will also require something like a spiritual renewal, as described by David Warren:
For those who were the builders of our civilization, as for those who may be the rebuilders, the task was and remains beyond the work of human hands. At the centre of the whole project was redemption in Christ.
The biggest single thing any individual can do, is to re-embrace that centre. He must endeavour less to change the world, than to change himself. And necessarily, to ask for the grace of God in doing so. For the project is no less than to rebuild Christendom: the foundation of the West. And this can only be done in human souls. The buildings and the clothing, the art and the music, that mysteriously hopeful view of the universe -- these things are outward reflections of what is wrought in human souls.
I believe the answer begins in personal conversion; in reading and thinking as deeply as we can about reality, and about our history. This requires courage: for you will be mocked. I would hold that the “roadmap” exists, in the Bible and the teachings of the Church and her saints. And that, while reason is our guide, the road is essentially sacramental.