Looking through the news, one can’t help but be overwhelmed at the sheer number of problems that people must face on a regular basis. We read stories about shootings, terrorist acts, foreign governments intruding in elections (mainly Ukraine), a whole political party seeking the impeachment of a president on the grounds of “we don’t like him”, people claiming to be a different gender from what they are, people attempting to justify and rationalize the murder of the unborn, people demanding increased immigration, legal or illegal, as a means of “enriching” our country, etc.
There are a whole lot of problems in Western civilization (and the world as a whole, but we’ll focus on the West today) and one can’t help but think: how did it all come to this?
The answer to this question seems to lie in the past, about 80 years ago, with the findings of Oxford social anthropologist J.D. Unwin in his book called “Sex and Culture”.
Unfortunately, I do not currently have access to this book, but thankfully, Father John Peck does and has written a very good article about it on his own website: frjohnpeck.com. The article is titled: “Why Sexual Morality May be Far More Important than You Ever Thought.”
In this article, Fr. Peck notes that Unwin examined data from “86 societies and civilizations to see if there is a relationship between sexual freedom and the flourishing of cultures.” In his book, Unwin described four “great patterns of human culture” and levels of flourishing of those cultures based on architecture, art, engineering, literature, agriculture and other sciences. Fr. Peck says that the “primary criterion for classification was how they related to the natural world and the forces it contains.”
These four great patterns are as follows:
Unwin also noted varying degrees of sexual restraint that tend to appear in any given culture. These degrees are divided into two categories of their own: prenuptial (before marriage) and postnuptial (during marriage).
First, there is the prenuptial category of Complete Sexual Freedom. As the name suggests, this is where there are zero restrictions on sexuality before marriage.
Second, there is Irregular or Occasional Restraint, where “cultural regulations require an occasional period of abstinence.”
The final prenuptial category is Strict Chastity, where the culture demands that people remain virgins until marriage.
Then, there are four postnuptial categories:
So, understanding all of these concepts and the way they work in the real world, what are the effects that Unwin ultimately found with these 86 societies and cultures? The short answer: nothing good for the cultures in the long-term if they allow for sexual freedom.
According to Fr. Peck, Unwin found that “increased sexual constraints, either pre or post-nuptial, always led to increased flourishing of a culture. Conversely, increased sexual freedom always led to the collapse of a culture three generations later.”
This is very significant because we can easily picture our own culture here. During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Western civilization went through what is known as a “sexual revolution”, where old norms of chastity and virginity were replaced in favor of allowing people to do what they want with whom they want any time they want, provided no laws or human rights were violated. While it used to be that virginity was something to be kept until marriage, the very concept of it is mocked and ridiculed in our time. If someone doesn’t have sex by their late teens or early 20s, that person is considered an outcast if it is known that they are a virgin.
Unwin also found the most influential factor in a society’s flourishing to be whether or not prenuptial chastity was a requirement. If it was, that culture would typically flourish, while if it was not, that culture would descend into collapse and eventual replacement by another culture that has more social energy and for this to happen, the replacing culture has to have more sexual restraint.
This would explain, at least in part, why Islam is growing at the pace that it is. Of course, factors such as threatening people with “submit or lose your head” are taken into consideration here, but one of the very few pros of Islam is their sexual restrictions (apart from polygamy and killing of homosexuals, that is).
In today’s Western culture, if a girl gets pregnant at an early age, that is not usually seen as that big of a deal, even if it is a hindrance on the family, for a number of reasons. For one, abortion is seen as a viable, often preferable, option. Two, pregnancy is what often follows sexual freedom, so it is not seen as completely unexpected, even if not an ideal outcome.
But in cultures where there are high levels of sexual restraint, if a girl gets pregnant at an early age, the girl is subject to scorn and the family becomes extremely upset. This type of behavior, though seemingly harsh, tends to be a tool of discouragement for others to do the same.
Another of Unwin’s findings is that, when strict prenuptial chastity ceased to be the norm, categories of absolute monogamy, deism and rational thinking would disappear within three generations.
This is also rather easy to see in our own culture. With the sexual revolution happening a generation or so ago, we find less people in Western civilization who accept that marriage should be for life (50% divorce rate is the result of this), less people believe in God and less people accept objective truth and opt for subjective lies that comfort them, such as the belief that a man can be a woman and vice versa.
Basically, what we see today is the effect of the sexual revolution of the late 20th century. What Unwin noticed in the societies that allowed for sexual freedom are what is happening today: less acceptance in absolute monogamy and more acceptance of ending a marriage on the basis of “I just don’t feel the spark anymore”; less acceptance of God and His Sovereignty and more acceptance of abstract superstitions like astrology, giving power to the mathematical concept of chance, and believing in “karma” or “chakras” or other nonsense; and less acceptance of objective, provable truths and more acceptance of subjective, improvable lies that serve to comfort the individual and provide them with zero conflict, or at least, that is the advertised objective.
These things, Unwin notes, tend to lead to the collapse and replacement of a culture. As previously mentioned, when a culture allows for total sexual freedom, said culture collapses within three generations to a level of essentially being a “dead culture” where people have little interest in anything apart from fulfilling their most carnal desires day in and day out and not seeking, maybe even rejecting, any attempt at actually understanding nature and creation. It is at this level where a culture is often subject to replacement by another culture.
I’ve seen semi-joking tweets from Ann Coulter about supporting Islam when there would be stories about Muslim parents protesting schools imposing LGBTQ curricula on students. As I’ve said time and time again in the past, the LGBT agenda and Islam are very antithetical with one another and, under Hegelian Dialectics, are bound to clash at one point or another. That is one of the examples of these two cultures colliding, and given Unwin’s findings, Islam will come out on top here.
If Christians were to do the same (and I don’t see many, if any, stories about Christian parents protesting LGBT curricula in schools, likely out of fear of persecution by Leftwing mobs), Christianity would also come out on top, provided it remains resilient on this issue and doesn’t try to give ground away, like the Catholic Church has done in allowing for gay priests, or like some protestant churches have done in allowing “Same-Sex Attracted” pastors to lead congregations.
But the very reason any of that has even happened is because of the sexual revolution being so popular in the Western culture in the first place. Churches, fearing people would abandon them, chose to follow the crowd, even if that meant abandoning God and flocking to what is inarguably considered in the Bible to be sinful. As a result, people have still abandoned churches, seeing no real reason to attend, and the churches have abandoned God, so they provide no actual reason for anyone to attend, given that the Gospel is no longer being preached (again, in some churches, not all of them).
The reason pastors like Joel Osteen are so popular is because they actually preach the Gospel and provide the basic message of “God loves you despite what you have done if you trust in Him”. This provides a rest from the secular, shallow world and helps people to find meaning in their lives.
The secular world, particularly as it allows for sexual freedom, has led to the destruction of the family. Mary Eberstadt researched mass killings, the rise of mental health issues and the surge and dominance of identity politics and found that these are a “primal scream” as a result of “the loss of identity that was once provided by growing up in a long-term, immediate family with siblings and a sizable group of cousins, aunts and uncles, all of which provided identity – essential for well-being,” as Fr. Peck also notes in his article.
In other words, the destruction of the nuclear family has given rise to many of the problems we see today, like mass shootings, general mental health issues like depression and anxiety, and the dominance of identity politics and the perceived importance of valuing oneself and identifying oneself based on their physical attributes, sexual desires, or made up victimhoods.
And the destruction of the nuclear family can also be traced back to the sexual revolution and to overall sexual freedom. When kids don’t know who one of their parents is, that’s a problem. When kids grow up thinking that having two dads or two moms or more than two parents is normal, that’s a problem. When teenagers are mocked for restricting their own sexual desires, that’s a problem. When people believe marriage to be a “union of love” without any concept of God being a part of that union, that’s a problem. When people conflate love with lust, that’s a problem.
These things are all a result of sexual freedom and the sexual revolution of the early 20th century. Western civilization, much as I would hate to admit, will fall if this is not remedied. There is nothing inherently special about Western civilization that would have it be spared of this fate by God, particularly when said civilization is less and less likely to believe in God as time goes on.
On this site, we’ve already explained that Israel would often be punished for disobeying God and would be redeemed for returning to God and obeying Him again. Western civilization, having been founded on Christian principles, cannot live apart from such principles, as doing so would divorce it from God.
My desire is for Western civilization to return to what it once was: fearful, obedient and loving towards God, who would reciprocate such fear, obedience and love with love and blessings. Note that this does not mean returning to the way everything was in the past. The Left often tries to argue that “Make America Great Again” envisions an America where black people are either segregated from white people or are slaves of white people. That is not what MAGA means whatsoever. It only indicates a desire to return America to the greatness and power it once knew, economically, militarily, and culturally.
Unfortunately, while Trump can greatly succeed (and is succeeding as much as he can) in the first two endeavors, the last one is totally out of his hands and things don’t exactly appear to be moving in the right direction in that aspect.
If the U.S., and indeed, all of Western culture does not turn this ship around culturally, then it doesn’t matter if the economy is the best we’ve ever seen or if we can win any of the wars we currently are engaged in or possibly could be engaged in, for Western civilization will ultimately be lost as a culture and replaced by another.
And given the horrible options of Islam or Chinese supremacy, I would hope that Western civilization will return to God sooner rather than later.
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine.”
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