[from Prince Jonathan]
There are many, many differences between today's society and the ideal Catholic society, and all these differences are sad things. Abortion, adultery, a twisted version of freedom that must conform itself to the materialistic agenda of the world around us, these things we all know. However, I think that there is something that belongs to that very same list that goes mostly unknown, much to society's detriment. This is the fact that relationship after relationship and bond after bond has been transformed from a cooperative relationship into an antagonistic one. This shift has been silent and unnoticed, never happening openly and only striking one place at a time, but it has happened.
Just think of the many roles which should be helpful ones based upon love, or at least respect, but are now thought of as being adversarial against each other. Teenage children are now thought of as being inherently rebellious and opposed to the rule of their parents; indeed, think of all the depictions of children of all ages being in direct opposition to their parents, teachers, and other authority figures. The government and the people are now placed constantly at odds with each other, even though the first should only serve and protect the second. Employers and employees are now at each other's throats through corporate layoffs and the union system, even though they should be allies in the workplace. Contraception and abortion have made parents into the sworn enemies of their children and each other. Through spiritualism and new age beliefs, faith has been, in some cases, turned against religion. Even love has become a carefully calculated tool through the sexual revolution.
Every relationship that should be supportive is now antagonistic, every bond that should be of love or respect is now a matter of advantage; friendship is a competition and romance is war in the twisted world in which we live. And why is this? How could such a warped state of affairs ever come about? Materialism. Atheistic materialism, that is the source of this abomination. If there is no such thing as ethics or morality, then why should we work together? If love is just an expression of the animal drive, then why should we not use it to our own advantage? If there is no God, then there is no reason to do anything in life but look out for yourself.
So it has come to pass, slowly but surely, that all relationships are now thought of in terms of self. What can I gain? What good is this to me? Where is my advantage? I disagree. I want that. No thought is paid to the other members of the relationship, let alone society as a whole. There is no reason to, it is the survival of the fittest, after all; why should the weak and vulnerable be aided?
This is a disastrous philosophy to be so widely held. It is the operating doctrine of warlords, criminals, and tyrants; not a real society. All that civilization is is the side effect of people working together. If we want art and philosophy, peace and stability, morality and freedom; then we must work with and for other people. If not for the cooperations and commonality of society, then the Way Things Are will transition to the strong ruling the weak. This is the basic order of things, the animal order of things; those with the advantage taking whatever they want from those without it. But this isn't the proper order of things. The proper order of things is that mandated by both God and conscience, the rule of empathy and morality. To make all things revolve around one's self is to abandon humanity and ethics for the brutal existence of an animal.
Even if we do not do this ourselves, we can still feel the effects everywhere in modern society. This disordered way of life must be opposed as strongly as contraception and homosexuality, although it is somewhat more difficult to fight against than those two things. It is certainly illicit to try and outlaw a way of thinking, after all. Still, it cannot be allowed to flourish. It is a way of life inimical to the Will of God, and we must oppose it.
Perhaps the best way to fight this rise of the adversarial is to preach by example. The more we show dedication and real respect and love, the more we make businesses and governments the allies of the average person, and the more we show support to those in need as part of our overall lifestyle, the more young people we can talk out of accepting the antagonistic paradigm and the more practitioners of it we can convert. For, after all, it is a hollow philosophy devoid of meaning to make everything about me. It will not stand up long to real exposure to a more full and beautiful way of looking at the world. The only true danger to civilization is that these philosophies of self become so common that we forget all else, so the only good way to fight these battles is to act like you've already won.