Sometimes I learn nearly as much from a well thought out book review as I learn from the book itself, at least in outline form. Here is a book review, written by Richard Bastien, of “The Strange Death of Europe,” by Douglas Murray.
In reviewing Murray’s description of the decline and fall of European civilization, he makes a comparison with Arnold Toynbee’s 12 volume “A Study of History,” which studies the fall of many civilizations.
The theme sounds depressing, except that, for Christians, we cannot forget that God is active in history, and has his own plan.
I don’t know if I will read the book, but the review itself was instructive.
“Toynbee famously said that “civilizations die from suicide, not by murder”, by which he meant that, instead of being destroyed by outside forces, they suffer a kind of “schism of the soul” that results in some form of cultural disintegration. Societies begin to disintegrate, he argued, when people believe that they are no longer bound by the moral law and allow themselves to be led by their impulses at the expense of their creativity. They also yield to a sense of drift, which brings them to believe that they have no control over their lives and that there is no point in resisting emerging forces threatening the world in which they live.”
. . .
“In other words, the surest sign of a civilization nearing its end is its uncritical acceptance that, socially and morally speaking, anything goes.”
Here is the link to the review.