The usual insights from the ex-G.P. I have often thought that the there were two fundamental causes behind the misery he recounts. The left-wing one is the creation of a vast and intrusive welfare state which has brought about the withering away of society. The right-wing one is the jettisoning of British industry in favour of the Hong Kong model which leaves vast areas of the country and whole sections of society economically surplus to requirements. On the other hand, one might exonerate the right on the grounds that is was the interventionist and nationalizing policies of the ‘socialists of all parties’ that rendered British industry irrecoverably uncompetitive in the first place. However, an old fashioned German Christian Democrat  might respond that if both sides had emulated the German social market ,instead of seeking Socialism or Darwinian Capitalism, then the Labour movement might have got what it (rather than its middle class Marxist hijackers) always wanted ‘the full fruits of their labour’ without the market or the principle of private property being compromised. Chesterbelloc might interject that even the ‘social market’ is in the end just a mitigation of an essentially corrupt usurious system and at key moments the unmitigated version will inevitably steal a march on the mitigated one.  Which is as much as to say that in the end its all the fault of the Reformation and the legalization of usury (as usual). Of course, now that Britain lives on a drip from the (increasingly shaky) usury factory there is even less prospect than ever of remedying the fundamental problem.
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Even if it is Luther (and so Ocham’s) fault it must be admitted that there has been a serious escalation of decline in the post-War years. The British have abandoned Christianity even as a pagan civic cult and the splendid vices of the pagans have been exchanged for the squalid ones. This too is ultimately traceable to the Reformation because the essential incoherence of sola scriptura (the inadequately revealed revealed religion) meant that ‘Christianity’ would always perish in the end in a Protestant culture. But why the acceleration? My guess is that the material principle of the Reformation sola fidei generates pelagians because it makes works the automatic sign of true faith and so, for all the rhetoric of grace, it reverts to the respectable people being saved and the tax collectors and prostitutes being damned. This in turn eradicates the tension between the Church and the world. For a Catholic, when Europe descends into two fratricidal blood baths in thirty years it is only to be expected. For a Protestant culture, at the height of Victorian respectability, it is inexplicable. It is an effective refutation of the claims of Christianity. For this reason (until the outbreak of enthusiasm for ‘Modern Man’ and all his works and pomps in the sixties) the Catholic Church in Protestant cultures thrived on the same forces as destroyed Protestantism.
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This is what created the ‘socialists of all parties’ the loss of belief in Christianity and the consequent inability to deal with the problem of evil. The state, the ‘mortal god’ , had to be called in to fix the human condition because the supernatural destiny of man and its forfeiture were no longer available to explain that condition. This is why in political discourse any opposition to the state being brought in to resolve any evil is held to constitute approval for the evil in question. From a Christian perspective society apart from the state has its own resources to deal with most of its own problems short of foreign invasion, money circulation and crime. The fact that these resources are inadequate is down to the supernatural destiny of man and its forfeiture for which the provisional remedy lies in the hand of the Church and the final remedy awaits the parousia. From a post-Christian perspective the only explanation can be that the state is not doing enough. Hence the ‘socialists of all parties’ and the withering away of society.
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The likes of Niall Ferguson think the West’s winning formula can be restored with a return of Protestantism (but he is an atheist). One cannot engender faith in Christ with pragmatic economic arguments. Theodore Dalrymple (another atheist) places his hope in Shakespeare. That is just vicarious Catholicism, better to go directly to the source.

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