1. The Crumbling of Western Culture
Cultural symbols matter — and what they now suggest is that the West is in retreat. This is a retreat in every aspect of life, from religion to popular culture. One recent example: “Out of respect” for the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, who presumably would be offended by nudity, the Italian government in January 2016 had museum officials in Rome’s Capitoline Museums place boxes over several nude statues — including one of Venus created in the second century BC — during the Iranian president’s state visit.
2. The New Primitives
When a man ceases to believe in God, observed Chesterton, he becomes capable of believing in anything. It looks like we may now have reached the “anything” stage of human history.
As faith in Christianity recedes in the West, a strange thing is happening. Having shaken off belief in God, people are not becoming more rational, they’re becoming more gullible. They believe that babies in the womb aren’t really human beings, that same-sex “marriage” is the equivalent of real marriage, that there are roughly 52 varieties of gender, that boys can become girls, and vice versa. In general, they believe that wishing makes it so.
Rejection of God does not lead to a flowering of civilization, but rather to a primitivization. Many of the ideas that are now current are pre-scientific and even anti-scientific. Science is solidly on the side of those who say that babies are babies, and that boys cannot become girls, yet when science comes into conflict with today’s magical beliefs it is rejected out of hand. For many, the ultimate source of truth is not reason, or science, or God, but feelings.
3. Recovering the Memories of a 1943 Massacre in Eastern Europe
Maksymilian and Magdalena Rigamonti provide an overdue memorial for those who perished in the Volhynia massacre during World War II.
Between 1943 and 1945, members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army massacred thousands of Poles throughout Volhynia, a region that was in Nazi-occupied Poland and is part of present-day Ukraine. Polish historians say the death toll could be as high as 100,000, while Ukrainians say it’s between 20,000 to 30,000. In 2016, Poland’s Parliament recognized the killings as genocide, a term that Ukraine rejects.