Saturday, March 01, 2008

The decline of the modern Greeks?

Greece, it seems, has not escaped the trials of modernity. In an article at The Brussels Journal, Napoleon Linardatos discusses the negative effects of EU subsidies on Greece, the dominance of progressive ideas, the lack of social cohesion and what he terms "the relativism of everyday life", in which "the most important thing is what you can get away with".

The entire article is worth reading, but I was particularly taken with his account of the decline of the Greek family:

It is not surprising that between 1991 and 2001 deaths exceeded births by more than 40,000. The rearing of a family involves an unconditional commitment to another person, an undertaking whose emotional and financial costs are obvious and direct while many of the benefits are spread out in society and over time.

A family man would say that nothing could compensate for the joys of family, but in a society where the individual perceives himself as the centre of the universe committed to the proposition that all joys and pleasures are equal, the family becomes just another choice among others. When duty and virtue have become antiquated terms that one only finds in books no one reads, we have a declining society entangled in the most petty and ephemeral affairs.

Unburdened by the past, unimpeded from posterity, there stands the modern Greek: a person free of any civic and moral duties ...

Unlike any other foe the Greeks faced in the past, the one that they face now has no armies laying siege to any walls ... It is a foe that does not challenge their strengths but rather assuages their weaknesses. Instead of attacking the culture, it merely trivializes it by draining it of any transcendent qualities. There is no need to assail honesty, merit and hard work; they have simply been rendered irrelevant.

This is quality writing. Linardatos attacks at the right level; he has no illusions that the problem is a merely technical one to be solved with a new economic measure or social reform.

Instead, he looks at modern man and his culture. The modern man who wants, above all, to be unimpeded will free himself from what matters most. He will "unburden" himself of a connection to past and future generations; of an overriding commitment to family; of a sense of loyalty and duty to his own community; and of non-relativist forms of morality.

No comments:

Post a Comment