August 15, 2005

Searching everywhere except in the mirror....

I had wondered briefly at the popularity of Jared Diamond's books, then shrugged at the asininity of popular taste, and didn't exercise my brain cells any further. Now Spengler explains, and I slap my forehead and say, "of course!"

...Why should the peculiar circumstances that killed obscure populations in remote places make a geography professor's book into a bestseller? Evidently the topic of mass extinction commands the attention of the reading public, although the reading public wants to look for the causes of mass extinction in all but the most obvious place, which is the mirror. Diamond's books appeal to an educated, secular readership, that is, precisely the sort of people who have one child or none at all. If you have fewer than two children, and most of the people you know have fewer than two children, Holmesian deductive powers are not required to foresee your eventual demise.

After rejecting revealed religion, modern people seek an sense of exaltation in nature, which is to say that they revered the old natural religion. If you do not believe in God, quipped G K Chesterton, you will believe in anything. It is too fearful to contemplate one's own mortality, so the Green projects his own presentiment of death onto the natural world. Fear for the destruction of the natural world - trees, whales, polar ice-caps, tigers, whatever - substitutes for the death-anxiety of the individual...

...In fact, the main reason societies fail is that they choose not to live. That is a horrifying thought to absorb, and the average reader would much rather delve into the details of obscure ecosystems of the past than reflect upon why half of Eastern Europe will die out by mid-century.

Suicide is a rare occurrence at the individual level, but a typical one at the level of nations...(Thanks to

And blue states....

Posted by John Weidner at August 15, 2005 10:04 AM
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