bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,

Culture of Death, Culture of Violence, or "Civilization"

"...for from the factory dead matter goes out improved whereas men there are corrupted and degraded--Pius XI *

Pope Paul VI coined the term "culture of death" in the 1970s to call attention to the many ways in which modern western societies brought a dimininishment of our spiritual, social, and even physical lives by encouraging activities which are anti-human and anti-life.  The list of specific behaviors which identified this culture was rather lengthy--including greed, war, spousal abuse, and racism.  But soon it became another word for "pro choice". which, of course, made anti-abortionists the standard bearers for a "counterculture" of life.

The words may have been Pope Paul's. but the idea of a culture of death is much older.  One of its critics in the 1950s was Erich Fromm a Fruedian/Marxist psychoanalyst who felt that the love of life (biophilia) was giving way to love of death (necrophilia).  Many of things that were on Fromm's mind were quite similar to Paul VIs concerns twenty years later.  But the question of abortion flew well beneath Fromm's moral radar/

So far the left has not returned moral fire by using  "culture of death" to lambaste the right; but that might be because we have our own weapon in the form of the concept: "culture of violenee."  First used in the early 1960s to describe poverty ridden, high crime, urban areas' it was soon broadened to provide a reading of American history and society.  It tended to see social and political conservatives.with their acceptance of inequality and their slogan that "the second amendment to the constitution is really the fiirst amendment", as the main perpetrators of a "culture of violence."

No doubt it is increasingly difficult for anyone to act and live in a manner that  encourages the living of life to the fullest either physically, psychologically, or spiritually.  I'll just mention James Coleman's aphorism: Traditional groups were made up of persons, modern organizations consist of positions.

I have concluded that questions about who produces and maintains the culture of death are trivial.  The real question is: how do I produce and maintain the culture of death and how do I stop?

*  I have tried several time to use this quote, both misquoting and misattributing it.  It is from the Papal encyclical Quadregesimo Anno.
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