More from Charles Murray, who cites “journalistic and scholarly accounts of a spreading European mentality that goes something like this”:
Human beings are a collection of chemicals that activate and, after a period of time, deactivate. The purpose of life is to while away the intervening time as pleasantly as possible.
If that’s the purpose of life, then work is not a vocation, but something that interferes with the higher good of leisure. If that’s the purpose of life, why have a child, when children are so much trouble? If that’s the purpose of life, why spend it worrying about neighbors? If that’s the purpose of life, what could possibly be the attraction of a religion that says otherwise?
I stand in awe of Europe’s past. Which makes Europe’s present all the more dispiriting. And should make it something that concentrates our minds wonderfully, for every element of the Europe Syndrome is infiltrating American life as well. The European model provides the intellectual framework for the social policies of the Democratic Party, and it faces no credible opposition from Republican politicians.
Murray goes on to discuss new scientific research that undercuts the assumptions of Social Democracy, such as the notion that human beings are malleable and can be shaped by governmental policies. I’m struck by how Murray is drawing on, in effect, the Reformation doctrine of the Three Estates and the doctrine of vocation.