Rampant Ingratitude Is Fostering Social Deterioration

The Incompatibility of Totalitarianism And Religion

Religion claims to provide a point of reference by which the individual can anchor his attitude towards external circumstances. Belief in such a point of reference supplies him with the confidence necessary to execute judgement and make decisions in the world. This appears to explain, at least partly, why totalitarianism has generally looked with contempt upon anyone who dares express reverence for a higher power. If man depends on and submits to a transcendent authority, then he will undoubtedly seek to avoid becoming subject to the whims of any “worldly” one (i.e, a government or State).

The Death of Western Culture

That said, the West is gradually becoming more secular and our cultural heritage is slowly disappearing. Why? Perhaps because we have not regarded it with the gratitude it demands. Even worse, many are degrading it, either unknowingly through carelessness or intentionally with enmity and disgust. The result of such damage has been not surprisingly predictable. Mass Ideologically motivated movements have emerged in a comparatively short interval of time, invariably encouraging us to fasten our gaze and stamina on some purported outward enemy rather than the one within. Politicians are incessantly trying to cajole us into furnishing them with more power, ultimately reducing the limits of the domain in which the individual is free to conduct himself. All this reeks of disintegration.

Concerning Social Change

However, in order to steer clear of sounding reactionary, what about necessary social “change?” Austrian thinker Friedrich Hayek reminds us that “all valid criticism or improvement of rules of conduct must proceed within a given system of such rules.” (1.) Here, social transformation occurs on the basis of an already existing abstract order. The common mistake in the present climate is to overlook or even disregard this fact. Consequently, many contemporary political movements are generating much more upheaval than they are anything else.

Dylan Shetler is a freelancing writer and Christian apologist. You can follow him on Twitter @shetler_dylan

References :

(1). https://libsa.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/hayek-law-legislation-and-liberty.pdf

16 Comments

  1. Hello Dylan. You say “… our cultural heritage is slowly disappearing”. What heritage would that be? Would it be the same one as the Native People that were already flourishing here with their culture that the immigrants from the over the ocean destroyed in a genocide? Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Culture, as in established rules of conduct (the prohibition of murder, theft, etc.) and shared value schema (i.e, honesty, responsibility, kindness, etc.) Such rules and values have been formed through accumulated experience and transmitted cross-generationally for centuries.

      Regarding pre-colonial Native American culture, I would say that it was underdeveloped in some respects when compared to its Western counterpart.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Dylan. The historical Native Peoples civilization is not my main focus but I will only say the only difference between the two cultures was the way they designed their places to live. They had towns and cities, they had laws, they had arts and entertainment. There was only a difference in how to develop a city / living area. The Europeans had developed crowed cites based on their historical need to build hierarchical superiority of rank.

        The thing I really want to talk with you about is the culture you mentioned that you think is disappearing. I think this is a great topic, and I am glad to discuss it if you are. What about it do you think is disappearing or going away. Let’s start there and then we can get to why later.

        Let me start by saying that as far as rules of laws and the dangers of living, or established rules of conduct as you called it, we are having less crime than before. Hugs

        According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) from 2018 to 2019 there was a 19% decline in reported serious crimes, with 880,000 fewer people people victimized in 2019. … This is a decline of 6.8 victimizations per 1,000 households. From 2018 to 2019 the rate of property crime decreased 6%. This is a decline of 6.8 victimizations per 1,000 households.[19] Violent victimization based on race and ethnicity from the years 2005 to 2019 have dropped by 26% overall. The rate for white individuals fell 24%. The rate for black individuals fell 43%.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20National%20Crime,people%20people%20victimized%20in%202019.&text=This%20is%20a%20decline%20of%206.8%20victimizations%20per%201%2C000%20households.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Dylan, as we have already discussed, the one sided is the assumption of the Native People as savages. They were not. They were a thriving population equal in every way to counter parts around the world. They simply had neglected to create guns. They had no need for them until the people came to drive them from their homes and lands. That is history without the revisions, and it is a sad part of humanity that it has played out from the earliest part of our existence that there have been aggressors and those they conquered. I just hate the white washing of US history as some want to present it. We as a country will survive admitting the truth. It is like slavery. No need to whitewash it away. It happened, it was wrong, we can be honest enough to admit it is our history. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with some of your points. However, there were clearly genocidal brutes and decent people in both conflicting groups. I don’t know of any credible historian who would say otherwise. Then again, I am embarrassingly ignorant on this subject.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Dylan. You are very correct. I have looked at the history of the Viking expansions of conquest, the exploits of Alexander the great, and even what became the legends of King Author of England among others of older times. However the interesting thing is one conquering group is far more closer to our own time and we can learn from them. The Roman Empire. As they expanded they absorbed and included those they took over as their own. They were the original melting pot. The new people were given citizenship and all those rights which made them want it. Rather than stamp out by force the culture of those they conquered, they took the parts most like theirs and incorporated them into the growing Roman culture. That made the newer people want to be like the older ones, instead of changing it right away. They were the first USA. And they had a great run. Don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting we start doing the excesses they did but our systems are modeled on theirs. We are the descendants of the Roman Empire. This is an interesting time in history that seems to me to be like our own. Hugs

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  3. Nice work! I maybe incorrect, however, I perceive ingratitude as a natural outgrowth of dissatisfaction. All human action to some extent is governed by some degree (being the operative phrase as there is a spectrum of dissatisfaction) of dissatisfaction.

    I would say that much of the technological advancements throughout human history have been the byproduct of dissatisfaction. But your essay reminds us that material progress does not entail moral progress. I am not going to suggest that both material and moral progress are incompatible. We should never conflate the two. Then again, my perception of the roots of ingratitude could very well be a flawed premise. I would surmise attempting to grapple with dissatisfaction without perspective or strong moral precepts will lead us down the road of ingratitude.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Capital points! Materially speaking (I agree), the inventive spirit has been largely fueled by dissatisfaction. After all, it’s fundamental fact of the human condition that we are doomed to unending contention with the intolerable present.

      Also, you mentioned something that I had not considered before, that is : the relationship between material and moral advancement! I have no doubt that this would make an interesting topic for another essay..

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Interesting hypothesis. So, would you then say that improperly managed dissatisfaction is the necessary precondition for the emergence of ingratitude?

      I have noticed that many deconstructionist political movements (characterized by ingratitude and even contempt for existing social institutions) are gaining popularity because they provide their adherents with largely undefined targets with which they can channel their discontent (for example, “the system”, “capitalism”, etc.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would argue many of the people who joining these movements are actually apolitical. They really aren’t interested in the political process, the just want an outlet for their indignation.

        Many of the folks who follow Trump never once prior to his presidential campaign participated nor cared about politics. All of a sudden these individuals are politically “conscious”. All of a sudden they are “conservatives”. What do they really understand about their professed ideological affiliation? I highly doubt they are reading white papers from Heritage or claremont.

        Mirroring the same historical ignorance of many socialists. Know little to nothing about the intellectual pedigree of their movement. The common thread being they are both populous movement. That operates more as a release valve than an expression of sincere philosophical commitment.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree.

    Additionally, it seems impossible that any movement can expand past a certain size that requires too much from individuals (that is, one that is morally demanding). This is something I noticed from examining the ideologies of the 20th century. People not only want a sphere to forward indignation but one where they also feel justified in misbehaving. And it’s nearly effortless to conduct oneself improperly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent points. Also, the lack of sincere ideological commit can in part be attributed politically biased network news media. It’s easier to sway people with infotainment than facts, reason, or dense literature.

    It operates on the same principle of civil misbehavior being done in the name of politics, its a form of self-gratification. Similar to political violence being release valve, people watch these televised puppet shows and believe that they are now informed. When nothing could be further from the truth. The programming in these are merely a condensed, purportedly amusing , and slanted caricature of factual current events, history, sociology, economics, and law.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think I could have said it better myself.

    Media networks are able to thrive by means of converting the structure of reality (with all its inherent complexity) to a hyper-simplified, universally digestible, narrative configuration. As you so eloquently wrote, this kindles the illusion that such colored outlets are somehow informative mechanisms. In the end, distorted explanations and accounts are jubilantly substituted for facts.

    But, unfortunately, there is an undeniable incentive for networks to engage in this sort of reprehensible behavior. It turns out that the exaggeration, simplification, distortion, and scandalization of reality all serve to augment ratings. And it’s not as if there are very many constraints guiding the decisions of reporters/commentators/statisticians, etc..

    Liked by 1 person

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