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Hope and sadness: Lessons from Rod Dreher's trip to the Czech Republic

Hie thee and read this article by Rod Dreher, about his recent trip to the Czech Republic. It's long, so you may have to read it in sections, but it is worthwhile. Indeed, it represents many of the things that W4 stands for--being joyful warriors, Christianity, looking with clear, somber eyes at the sad state of the world and of one's own country in particular, hope, legitimate concerns about the rise of Islam. It's also about good food. (Though I admit that I'm probably less interested in cabbage than it sounds like the Czechs are.)

I was very struck by Dreher's saying that the Czechs are too quick to dismiss the danger that their own country could adopt transgender insanity with terrifying swiftness (they assume that their fellow Czechs are too sensible to do this) but that, at the same time, we Americans are too quick to dismiss the danger that we could lose our religious liberty with terrifying swiftness. I would also add that there is a distinct link between the Communism that forcibly de-Christianized Eastern Europe and current transgender ideology. Both, as in the book 1984, show their power by forcing people to "live by lies," blatant, obvious lies, and both glory in their power to do so.

There are so many fascinating points in this travelogue, including the reflection that only the Communists could teach the Czechs to make ugly architecture and bland desserts. Dreher is right: These things are matters of culture. Imagine coming back to a dystopian future Texas in which roadside restaurants don't know how to cook a good steak.

Anyway, go and read it. You will be glad that you did. Lots of food for thought (pun intended).

Comments (9)

There is a situation in the UK (https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/fighting-for-free-speech-in-uk) that shows how quickly what was a basic freedom can just disappear. I am honestly surprised it is not getting more attention. I believe there may another similar situation in Canada but involving a human rights tribunal instead of the actual police.

As I understand it there are some important distinctions between UK law and US law in protecting free speech. But yeah, DR84, this person's situation is part of a war on free speech. And whatever succeeds in one country will be used elsewhere, that's for sure.

In the larger picture, Rod is right in saying that difference between the US and Europe in terms of religious sentiment overall is not really all that far apart: in the US there is still a lot of outward respect for religion, but the ACTUAL adherence to formal religion is very low and dropping all the time. In Catholicism, 75% of those who SAY they are Catholics don't go to Church weekly, and that's just a minimal requirement. If reports are true (which I take with a boulder of salt) upwards of 90% of sexually active Catholics use contraceptives. Worse yet are the numbers who can even close to correctly state the 10 commandments or name the sacraments (much less actually understand them usefully). My guess is that something like maybe 8% of Catholics could honestly say they are practicing Catholics.

One problem is that the religiosity remains mostly superficial. What we have found is that if it remains on the surface, it does not pass well down the generations. Grandparents went to church every week. Parents went to church on Christmas and Easter and "when it feels right", current generation go to church for weddings and funerals, and their kids simply don't go at all. How important are those kids going to feel it is to protect religious liberty, or even free speech about religion? You can't hand on a faith that you don't even practice.

My feeling is that the trans stupidity will burn itself out fast, maybe even in just 10 or 15 years, because it's so idiotic. But I admit it's just a guess. In the meantime, it could through procedural mechanisms bring down all sorts of rights and good customs which cannot them be restored after it burns out.

I knew things were bad in England but...yeah. Even I am a little surprised.

Tony, to confirm your appraisal of the poor state of Christian practice in the US, let me add two personal anecdotes.

I recall about five or six years ago, while I was still in high school, talking to a classmate, who was nominally Russian Orthodox. After he told me he was, I asked if he believed the doctrine of the Trinity, and he answered, 'No.' I then asked him what was the name of the church he went to. 'Holy Trinity Church,' he replied. This was, I believe, in the same conversation, though, these remarks were not one right after the other.

My senior year, another student, who I knew was a Baptist (or found out in the conversation I'm about to allude to), was bragging about having sex with some girl. I asked, 'Don't you know what Paul says about fornication?' He did not, he told me. Honestly, he probably was thinking to himself, 'Who is this Paul guy an what does "fornication" mean?'.

So the prospects for the next generation, if my anecdotal evidence is worthy anything, is not exactly bright.

Also, what do you mean by the trans-movement burning out?

Well, each country might well have its own pattern of post-Christian irrationality so hopefully this trans mania will bypass the Czechs. Generally, not much news of anti-Christian persecution comes up from Europe, saving Sweden. Does it mean that the Europeans are too indifferent even to engage in some serious persecution?

Also, what do you mean by the trans-movement burning out?

Sean, I merely mean a kind of accelerated swing of the pendulum away from excess. The trans stupidity is kind of the far-wingnut excess of the stupidity of "I decide what happiness is for myself", and it is socially incoherent. But just being socially incoherent doesn't mean it won't grab hold. What I am suggesting is that it WILL BE FOUND to be so socially disruptive that society will turn back from it after a mere 10 or 15 years, rather than the more typical 2 or 4 generations.

I find the religious demographycs of the Czech Republic realy interesting regarding the predominate number and cultural and political influence of irreligious people in the country, whereas catholics and protestants are not just a minority there but a kind of archaic anomality. There is respectable influence of agressive secularism with all it's ideological children, radical feminism, political transgenderism etc., in all the post-communist countries (regardless if they have a traditionaly catholic or orthodox shaped society), but it seems at least to me that the Czech Republic is the prime example of a real post-christian society in which religion is completely irrelevant.... It seems to me that the only things that remind them that there is such a thing as christianity are history classes and beautiful sacral architecture... Maybe I'm pessimistic, but when I look at the Czechs, I see the face of nearly whole Europe in the future.

"My feeling is that the trans stupidity will burn itself out fast, maybe even in just 10 or 15 years, because it's so idiotic."

Not really. More likely a revision to the mean in a couple of years or so. The whole pronoun thing is a sign of mania.

The UK has an unwritten constitution so the protections we have on speech are impossible.

al, it's possible you are right, but as far as I can tell it's still gathering steam and getting stronger. Something pretty odd sociologically would have to happen pretty darn soon to "temper" the movement and tamp it back down to a "mean" in a couple of years. I can't imagine what, other than some catastrophe.

The pronoun thing isn't the ONLY sign of mania here. There are plenty all around. Just 10 to 15 years ago people expanded the discussion from ONE sexual criterion, male / female, to 2: the "what sex are you" dimension and the "what attracts you" dimension...with most of the talk still being in terms of either / or, not a sliding scale.* Just 6 years ago, people were allowing for 3 dimensions, (adding "gender identity") and the notion of a gradual gradation between the polar extremes. Now they have moved on to 4 dimensions (adding "gender expression" as distinct from "gender identity") and now they permit discussion of the scale allowing for variability over time, and even over CHOICE (forget the old "they didn't choose to be gay" mantra, that's old hat, served its purpose, now the lie can be forgotten). They just make it up as they go along. There's no upper limit here: break-away individualism run amok into psychosis will demand ever more: more dimensions, more variation, more bizarreness, until it burns out into pointlessness, until there's no more gas in that engine.

* Just 11 years ago, Senator Obama, the most left-ward Democrat presidential nominee ever, (at the time) declared his belief that marriage was for a man and a woman. Regardless of whether he was lying through his teeth or not, even his perception (accurate) that he needed to say that to win testifies to the incredible change we have had in only 11 years.

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