Thursday, February 3, 2011

History Repeating Itself

I found this description of Ancient Greece in her terminal dive into oblivion to sound far too familiar for comfort:
...moral disorder accompanied the growth of luxury and the enlightenment of the the state religion lost its hold upon the educated classes, the individual freed himself more and more from the old moral restraints — the son from parental authority, the male from marriage, the woman from motherhood, the citizen from political responsibility.  Sexual and political morality continued to decline.  Bachelors and courtesans increased in fashionable co-operation, and free unions gained ground on legal marriage.  The voluntary limitation of the family was the order of the day, whether by contraception, by abortion, or by infanticide.  The old families were dying out.  The lower classes were multiplying, but the ... supply of citizens for military service suffered a corresponding decrease [and] the life of comfort and domesticity, of business and scholarship, had replaced the Periclean life of exercise, martial discipline, and public office. Athletics were professionalized; the citizens [became] content to exert themselves vicariously by witnessing professional exhibitions. Young men received some grounding, as ephoboi, in the art of war; but adults found a hundred ways of escaping military service. War itself had become professionalized by technical complications, and required the full time of specially trained men; citizen soldiers had to be replaced with mercenaries...
Lessee how this lines up:

- The elite classes have all but abandoned Christianity and have instead become enamored of a nihilistic, materialistic, secular power-worshipping religion. Check.

- The old moral restraints now fail to persuade in an age of anything-goes relativism. Check.

- Liberation of the sexes from their traditional roles of family leadership and motherhood. Check.

- Traditional marriage eschewed for more flexible domestic arrangements. Check.

- Recruiting for the military becomes a challenge, so much so that standards are relaxed, women become a significant and growing fraction of the service, and the military service fails to capture the sons of the elite classes, who prefer instead to make money for themselves. Check.

- Comfort and laxity replace discipline and hard work. Check.

- Athletics professionalized, and boys and men distract themselves with sports and games.  Check.

- Universal service replaced by an all-volunteer "mercenary" military.  Check.

There really is nothing new under the sun.


Samson said...

There really is nothing new under the sun.

Gay "marriage"? Even the Greeks never did that.

The voluntary limitation of the family was the order of the day, whether by contraception, by abortion, or by infanticide.

This particularly intrigues me. I've tended to view modern contraception as one catalyst that changed everything, but perhaps there were analogues even 2000 years ago, and The Pill hasn't been the one-time revolution that I thought? I'd be interested to do some research and find out just *how many* Greek women were aborting and murdering their babies compared to the number of modern women who are limiting their fertility via contraception and career.

Samson said...


I agree with you, and with Ecclesiastes, that there is "nothing new under the sun". I think our legitimization of homosexuality to an extent that didn't exist even in ancient Greece is testament to how much more wealthy and technologically advanced we are - we can afford to waste even more social capital than they could.

Probably, a similar thing is true of the contraception/abortion/infanticide phenomenon. It's likely that a smaller percentage of Greek women were killing their babies compared with the percentage of moderns that use contraception, but theirs was a society less able to cope with a birth dearth. The principle here, and the forces that killed (or will kill) both societies, are the same.

Alte said...

Regarding contraception: coitus interruptus. It's actually highly effective (96%) when done correctly, and many couples still use it as their contraceptive method. Post-revolutionary France managed to get down to below replacement-level fertility using that method. The benefit of the Pill was that it put contraception in the woman's hands, for the first time ever.

Robert said...

White culture has devolved into a moral cesspool since 1953.

That was the year Hugh Hefner began publishing Playboy magazine in Chicago.

The oral contraceptive pill was approved for use in the United States in 1960.

Abortion has been legal in the United States since 1973.

While pornography had been traded over the Internet since the 1980s, it was the invention of the World Wide Web in 1991 as well as the opening of the Internet to the general public around the same time that led to an explosion in online pornography.

Post coitus abortion pills [Morning After Pills] became available without prescription to women over 18 in 2006 in the USA.Women 16 and under require a prescription.

In the 1950s, college dorms were off-limits to members of the opposite sex. Then came the 1970s, when male and female students started crossing paths in coed dormitories. Now, a growing number of colleges are going even encouraging coed rooms.

The majority ofwhite men in the United States that I have know since the 1950s, including myself, have overwhelmingly been self-indulgent, immoral trash.

Anti Dhimmi said...

The ancient Greeks and Romans certainly had access to botanicals that would induce labor. Note that the Hippocratic Oath prohibits giving a pessary to a woman to induce abortion, circa 4th century B.C., making abortion hardly a new issue. It is also possible they had access to something similar to the Pill:

And of course there was the custom of abandoning unwanted babies to die outside of town, known as "exposure". This was a plot point in Sophocles play cycle "Oedipus".

When the Romans invaded the Greek sphere, they did not meet as much resistance as the Persians did, the young men blanched at the sight of blood.

Some US Army recruiters estimate that the percentage of US citizens under 25 unfit for duty is about 20%, due to a variety of issues: drug use, including prescribed ones such as Ritalin; weight issues; criminal record, etc.

However the issue of women in the military was and to a large extent still is purely political. It is social engineering that the lesbians in the Democratic Party want, and Clinton was more than willing to go along.

Simon Grey said...

@Samson- Grand Allusions has quite a bit of information on the subject of abortion in ancient Greece, though it is far from comprehensive.

I'm not entirely sure that America has popularized homosexuality to a far greater extent than ancient Greece did. From what I understand, homosexual behavior was quite widespread back in the day, although it wasn't as openly talked about. I'm not entirely sure that we can fairly compare then with now.

Simon Grey said...

@Samson- BTW, here's my review of Grand Illusions. It's a rather sobering and eye-opening read.

Anonymous said...

Those of us in the know will find ways to mitigate the decline in our personal lives.

It is far too late to save American culture.

Anonymous said...

So amusing how today's "progressives" seem to think they invented all this--because they're so much smarter and more enlightened than the rest of us, of course.

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

You're right, EW. It does sound too familar for comfort.

Samson said...


It is also possible they had access to something similar to the Pill:

I knew that the Hippocratic Oath proscribed abortion, but this is new to me, and very, very interesting. Thanks.

Simon Grey:

@Samson- Grand Allusions has quite a bit of information on the subject of abortion in ancient Greece, though it is far from comprehensive.

Thanks for this as well; I'll check out your review.

Anonymous said...

Men abandoning direction of civilization to women is like a sailor passing the wheel over to the wind.

P.T. Barnum said...

Sounds just like a strawboss of today screaming that OTHER PEOPLE are being as lawless and selfish as he is on a daily basis.

Sounds like the whining of the Big Bosses and their Strawbosses that people have wised up to their selfish and near-insane looting.

Sounds a lot like the daily lunatic screaming of the strawboss or Big Boss that the "young'n have it so easy".


I have HEARD our strawbosses and our Big Bosses raving like the demented animals that they are about how easy the young'n has it.

Am I for some absurd reason to believe the demented ramblings of the exact same type of cretin a few thousand years ago?