From independence, freedom and truth


The decline of virtue in the West

Fernando del Pino Calvo Sotelo

September 22, 2023

We often accuse the political class of lacking values, but are politicians an exception or do they merely reflect the lack of values (or, rather, virtues) of the society that votes for them? Can the average voter value truth or honesty, for example, yet vote for psychopaths, pathological liars and scoundrels?

                “The city is not adorned with external things, but with the virtue of those who inhabit it,” wrote Epictetus. What are the virtues of those who inhabit the West? Because without the exercise of virtues one cannot aspire to a just social order, nor to happiness, for as Aristotle said “without virtue we cannot be happy, as far as men can possibly be happy[1]“. The same is defended by Christianity, the root of European civilization: virtue is the cornerstone on which happiness, coexistence and true human freedom are based.

To consider that the source of happiness is virtue is just the opposite of believing that the source of happiness is hedonism, as is successfully advocated by the power junkies, who know that a person enslaved by the addiction to his passions is more obedient.

The political class does not promote virtue

In a democracy, the relationship between the rulers and the ruled is complex and bidirectional. Typically, the politician merely pleases and flatters the masses, but he can also influence and create opinion. However, what politician encourages his voters to have a spirit of work and sacrifice, to tell the truth, to keep their word or to fight for the common good? You will agree with me that they rather promote egocentrism, envy, and covetousness. On the other hand, the concept of “truth” is alien to them, because with their actions they defend that that deceit is normal, that the end justifies the means, and that sincerity is only the disadvantage of the naïve.

Nor do they encourage the necessary respect for the political adversary, for those who are different or for minorities. On the contrary, they abuse their majorities to impose their views and stoke hatreds to fragment society into opposing groups -poor against rich, Catalans against the rest of Spaniards, nationals against immigrants, vaccinated against unvaccinated, women against men.

Nor does the political class promote the virtue of responsibility, that is, the virtue of taking the bull of life by its horns and assuming the consequences of one’s actions. In fact, the Welfare State relieves citizens of such a “burden” (once considered a trait of adulthood) in exchange for taking away their freedom, a trade-off never made explicit but unavoidable.

Finally, this same Welfare State is by its very nature contrary to the virtue of optimism, defined by David Isaacs as “reasonable confidence in one’s own possibilities”, for example, to create a family, make a living and progress, that is, to become a self-confident and independent citizen. On the contrary, dependence on the State-Providence is promoted, making us believe that without its beneficent existence we would be unable to subsist.

Without the exercise of virtues there is no true material and economic progress either. In a speech he gave in Chile in 1987, John Paul II listed the moral causes of prosperity as a constellation of virtues: “industriousness, competence, order, honesty, initiative, frugality, thrift, spirit of service, keeping one’s word, boldness; in short, love for work well done. And he added: “Apart from these virtues, no system or social structure can solve, as if by magic, the problem of poverty”. Are today’s young people as predisposed as their parents and grandparents to practice these virtues?

The war against the family

Even though virtue is a source of happiness and prosperity (or precisely because it is) there is a dark power agenda that creates a system of incentives contrary to the exercise of virtue. Over time, this agenda has encountered an obstacle, a once impregnable fortress, called the family. Indeed, it was in the family that virtues were educated, and there the State was hardly allowed to intervene. This is why this power agenda has declared open war on the family.

Although this attack on the family undoubtedly has an impoverishing economic dimension (a couple of generations ago a single wage was enough to support a family of four children, while today two wages can barely support two children), it is in the ideological dimension that the attack is taking place on a massive scale. This is shown by several statistics that, although imperfect, can help us to draw a picture of the level of emotional health of a society. The data I am about to provide are from Spain, but the trend, although in a lower order of magnitude, is similar in the rest of Europe.

When interpreting the data I start from certain hypotheses, such as that we all aspire to happiness, that love makes us happier than indifference, that the love we long for is for life, that a stable and lasting marriage produces greater happiness for spouses and children than divorce, that abortion does not make the woman who performs it happy (and certainly not the unborn child whose life it violently ends), that suicide is a tragedy, that company is better than loneliness and that life is better than death.

The offensive against the family is particularly virulent in countries with a Catholic tradition, such as Spain, and begins by undermining its very root, that is, marriage. Indeed, far from promoting the peaceful and natural coexistence between man and woman, it encourages the fight between the sexes (that is why there is a Ministry of Equality and not a Ministry of the Family). The increase in the number of divorces is a good example of this: in Spain it has gone from 20,000 in 1982 (one year after its legalization) to some 90,000 in the last year.

In this sense, it is surprising that divorce is so lightly taken. Despite the social disruption it causes and the enormous personal suffering it entails, especially, where appropriate, for the abandoned spouse and for the children, it is not seen as a social scourge to be tackled. On the contrary, it is trivialized and even promoted, as the sinister former PMs Zapatero-Rajoy (the first belonging to the Socialist PSOE and the latter to the center Popular Party or PP) have done in Spain.

In fact, sharing the job with almost Freemasonic fraternity, the two former presidents created and consolidated, respectively, the “express divorce” law, which eliminated at a stroke the dilatory procedures required by the previous law to give a chance for reconciliation. As the General Council of the Judiciary stated at the time (in a report that the Socialist government ignored), express divorce was “an unknown figure” in other legal systems, since none of them admitted “the unilateral will of one of the spouses without the concurrence of any cause or without a period of reflection during which the decision to end the marriage bond is matured[2]“. Because of this law, in only two years the divorce rate multiplied by 2.5 in our country. It seems legitimate to ask what the legislator’s objective was, if not to destroy.

We have mentioned the importance of children growing up in a stable home with a father and a mother, and obviously divorce prevents this. But another worrying trend is the percentage of children born out of wedlock, a phenomenon whose negative individual and social consequences are well documented[3]. Whereas in 1980 only 4% of children were born out of wedlock, today the figure is close to 50%[4].

Another disturbing indicator is the crisis of personal commitment that causes young people to marry late, not to marry at all or not to have children, economic considerations aside. In 1980, the average age at which young people married was 25; today it is 37. Likewise, the fertility rate has dropped from 2.2 to 1.2 and the average number of members per household has fallen from 3.6 to 2.5. Because of all this, single-person households have gone from 10% to 26%[5] in what is on the way to becoming an epidemic of loneliness foreign to traditional Spanish culture.

Abortion and gender ideology

Undoubtedly, another flank of the attack on the family and fertility by those who wish at all costs to reduce the population is the horror of abortion, the most relevant moral issue of our time. One year after the law was passed in Spain (1985) there were only 500 abortions; the following year there were 17,000, and today there are more than 90,000 violent deaths of unborn babies whose right to life is denied and whose silenced voice few defend. This social acceptance of abortion has been achieved through deception, keeping the debate in the realm of casuistry and, above all, hiding its ugly reality: out of sight, out of mind. That is why there are no videos of abortions, except on some pro-life websites[6], and why there is fierce opposition to showing the heartbeat or ultrasound of the unborn child to their mothers before they make any decision.

The latest offensive against the family has been the gender ideology, introduced in Spain by the PSOE-PP tandem (remember, one approves it and the other consolidates it). That something so contrary to science have been imposed by political power is shocking, but that they want to confuse minors with such ideology and promote transsexualism in them is an iniquity. Sweden, a country that pioneered the necessary dignity protection of this vulnerable minority, has by default curbed interventions and hormone treatments on minors[7] due to their largely experimental nature and to the potential serious adverse effects[8]. But most worrying is a figure pointed out by several scientific studies[9] and recently highlighted by media such as the New York Times[10], that is, that transsexual people have a very high risk of suicide. How can public authorities promote transsexuality in minors if it is indeed true that nearly 40% of transsexuals attempt or succeed in committing suicide[11] and that, even in countries as exemplarily tolerant as Denmark, they have a suicide rate (in degree of attempt) 7.7 times higher than that of the general population[12]?

The programmed dissolution of Western society

In fact, the constant increase in the suicide rate is another serious problem in our society that tends to be ignored. In Spain, after reaching an all-time low in 1975 with a rate of 3.8 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants (one of the lowest in the world back then), today the figure is 8.7 per 100,000, i.e., more than double[13].

Finally, it is worth noting the increase in crime as a sign of the progressive breakdown of social and family order. In this regard, although Spain remains one of the safest countries in the world, the crime rate and the prison population have multiplied by 5 and 4, respectively, since 1978.

What conclusions can we draw from these data? First, that contrary to what we are told, in many respects Western society is getting worse, not better. Secondly, that there is a sinister power agenda that promotes the destruction of virtue and of that workshop of virtues called the family. And, thirdly, that ideas have consequences, and that by erasing the line that separates good from evil through relativism, European society, and particularly Spanish society, has entered a process of programmed dissolution.

Broken families, loneliness, violence, abortion, suicide, sexual confusion, loss of the meaning of life, unhappiness. They call it progress.


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