China and Rome
1 hour ago
There are parallels with the collapse that took place between 450 and 600 AD and between 1000 and 700 BC, but they were the results of violent invasion, not cultural suicide. It is not only the low state of our literary culture, but our eagerness to destroy and enslave not other peoples but ourselves. The active program of self-imposed cultural genocide in which we have been engaged since WW I has no parallel. The simplest explanation was put forward by my old friend John Gray, a non-Christian, that a healthy culture can be either pre-Christian or Christian, but post-Christianity adheres to the Christian dream but attempts to buyild the Kingdom of God here on earth and without God or the Incarnation. What Prof. Gray would not acknowledge is that we do have a god, but he is an inferior being we used to recognize as our enemy. Sorry to sound so apocalyptic, but if this argument is basically correct, then we have as much to learn from Pre-Christian cultures as we do from Christendom itself. If we cannot have the Church, then at least we might side with the Greeks and Romans--though that is the last thing we shall be permitted to do. Naturally, it is theoretically up to each of us not to side with our enemy--or rather our Enemy--but it requires a radical break with certain fundamental assumptions that go back to the Renaissance.
On the low level of politics, Dante has more to teach us--both his prose writings and his poetry--than the tradition of Montaigne, Montesquieu, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and the classical liberals.