Hedonism and tolerance—the core of the modern European culture

A reader from the Netherlands meditates on the contemporary European culture and the reason it is loving itself to death. What follows is just a brief selection from what he wrote:

What your English reader wrote about the English is, I assure you, also valid for Germany, Belgium and Holland. The reason for the popularity of the religion of tolerance is that it is a very comfortable religion. It is a religion without ideals other than to live a pampered life and look down on everybody else, including your own ancestors, who have not had pampered lives, but had to fight for their spiritual and material survival. Those people being, of course, scary, uncivilised fundamentalists. We have seen the light now, and we only live to have a good time. In wiser times hedonism was seen as a something morally inferior or at least mediocre. Now it seen as something superior to Judeo-Christian idealism. This, in my opinion, is the essence of it all. The Victorians saw themselves as spiritual children who had to grow up spiritually by their own effort. Contemporary Europeans see themselves as already totally grown up, and they judge Judeo-Christian idealism as something childish. They are like spoiled children who judge the effort-taking of others to grow up as childish.

This is the heart of the current madness. An attack on their spoiled existence is felt as a nuisance, not as an attack on their spiritual orientation. Spoiled children have no spiritual orientation, they just want to have a good time and want the government to take away any nuisances. As a result the only real line in defense against Islam in Europe is from people living in big cities who actually feel intimidated by the Muslims around them. And these people react, understandably, in a resentful, reactionary way. And then they are blamed by the elites, who live in comfortable areas, for being intolerant and fascist. It’s all a question of ditching your own spiritual heritage—as was shown in the refusal to name the Judeo-Christian heritage in this weird Euroconstitution. The only hope the Europeans have is what they hope of themselves: that the Muslims shake off their scary religion and become wise, adult, beautiful people like themselves. But the Muslims have more than one billion noncomfortable Muslims behind them, and so chances are that they will not go gently in that good night. Chances are that they see the elms with contempt and remember their good past of DOMINATION of this kind of spiritless people. Chances are the elms in turn will gently shut up and accept their new dhimmi-existence. Even the more courageous in Dutch culture have now become silent on nasty aspects of Islam. They even openly admit this is the only ‘realistic’ thing to do! They don’t like to end up as van Gogh. But when you lose your spirit you lose in the end everything. That is a lesson history teaches over and over again.

LA to reader:

These are interesting thoughts about modern Western culture as being hedonistic at its core. But please make clearer for me the connection between the hedonism and the religion of tolerance.

Reader to LA:

I am not the only one who calls the current European culture hedonistic. In fact it is very usual for French elites to call their own culture “hedonistic” to contrast it with the American, which they call “Calvinistic” (of course with contempt). Now as regards to the relation of hedonism and the religion of tolerance, consider the following. When I accept no higher ideals then individual pleasure then it follows immediately:

1. There is no such thing as true evil. There is only me blocking someone else pleasure or vice versa, that is: INTOLERANCE. The notion of evil arises only as the opposite of altruistic goodness. When the Judeo-Christian ideals of altruistic goodness and truthfulness disappear, the notion of evil as its opposite also disappears. Of course in reality there is still plenty of true altruistic goodness and true evil, but in a perverted hedonistic culture they are no longer seen and spoken of adequately. Therefore it is now very common in Europe that altruistic people like mother Theresa are severely criticised as intolerant extremists. On the other hand evil villains are seen as sick psychopaths “who need help.”

2. There is no higher value than me not blocking someone else’s pleasure and vice versa. Thus there is no higher value than the value of “Tolerance.” You could see this beautifully in the CNN-coverage of the death of John-Paul II. CNN reporter Christiane Amampour as a high priestess of the Religion of Tolerance spoke about John-Paul. Good in John-Paul was what was in accordance of the new Religion, bad was, as judged by the high priestess, what was still in deviance of the new Truth, which of course was fully known to her. And so John-Paul was praised by the high priestess as “the first non-Catholic Pope in history,” although regretfully with a few Catholic stains. And of course, mind you, for this woman all this utter nonsense was completely self-evident truth. Indeed: religious truth. CNN can be seen as a church of the new religion of tolerance and so can 90 percent of the European media.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 25, 2005 08:38 PM | Send

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