Perhaps Christianity’s most beautiful and wonderful gift to Western Civilization is the lovely and truly heart-warming notion that one can always be redeemed no matter how much one fucks up. This redemptive idea is closely related to the Biblical assertion that human beings are inherently prone to wickedness, i.e. they can’t help but fuck up on a regular basis.
How much closer can one get to saying that it’s okay to go wrong without actually saying that it’s okay to go wrong?
This glorious gem of Christian redemption is obviously at the root of the acceptance of almost every wrongful tendency in our modern liberal democratic society (not pedophilia yet, but we’re getting there). Thanks to the steady erosion and disappearance of Traditional values in the wake of the so-called “Enlightenment”, the full force of that oh-so-forgiving Christian Liberalism has been unleashed in modern times, particularly through Cultural Marxism. Yes, I am saying that Cultural Marxism is a vehicle for the full extension of Christian sensibilities.
The spectacle of extremes and errors increasingly infesting our modern society is a direct consequence of Christianity’s essentially laissez-faire attitudes being fully applied without any Traditional checks and balances. (Having dealt with the essentially anti-Traditional nature of Christianity in a number of previous posts, I will only mention John 8:1-11 here). Thanks to the fully-unfettered notion that one can somehow avoid any consequences of wrongful actions, people feel free to explore every form of deviance and disorder, and are often encouraged to do so by society, because it’s all good.
Don’t worry, be happy.
If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.
And remember: God loves you anyway.
One particularly dreadful consequence of this is the all-too-common modern notion that young people need to do all of the wrong things that they want to do, and should be allowed to do them. Somehow, it is believed that people can’t be truly happy or successful in life if they don’t spend their teenage years (and beyond) going wrong in various ways. One might even say that youth is the right time for going wrong. And everybody assumes that dealing (one way or another) with every stupid, wrong and evil thing that one has done in one’s youth is a necessary part of becoming a mature adult.
That’s life, some might say.
Bullshit, I say.
One of the few truly valuable verses in the Hebrew Tanakh (I do not say the “Old Testament”) is Proverbs 13:24 – “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Most people are more familiar with the related saying “spare the rod and spoil the child”.
One really has to wonder how letting something go wrong can ever be a good idea. Yes, I understand that one has to learn from one’s mistakes sometimes. But this certainly does not mean that one should be allowed to run after mistakes in order to learn from them. How many people can still grasp the fact that doing everything possible to keep something from going wrong is always the best course of action?
“But I love my daughter! I don’t want to hurt her feelings! I just want her to be happy!” Things are bad enough already because of such sentimental excuses, but can you imagine how bad things will get when Traditional values have finally disappeared altogether?
The teenage years are naturally a time of exploring one’s developing abilities and seeking out one’s limits. But this adolescent self-discovery can be in good ways or bad ways. Unfortunately, the bad ways are usually easier and more fun so teenagers will tend to go in the bad ways, and parents who highly value those things which are easier and more fun won’t mind much if their adolescent children go in those directions.
Genuine Tradition is a trustworthy guide to distinguish between good ways and bad ways. As such, it is crucial for the best possible development of a growing individual. Of course, teenagers themselves can’t be expected to understand anything about Tradition, much less apply it to themselves. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that parents not only acknowledge the sure guidelines of Tradition but apply them faithfully and consistently to their offspring. This requires parents to be fully mature and responsible, and to be able to deal with their offspring in a strong and intelligent manner. How many modern parents are like this?
Another useful verse from the Hebrew Tanakh (not the “Old Testament”) is Ecclesiastes 7:13 – “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?” Of course, the notion of God making something crooked is debatable; a variant that might be both more acceptable and more germane to this essay would be “Who can straighten what has grown crooked?”
Letting young people grow crooked virtually guarantees that they will need to straighten themselves out before they can become mature and responsible adults (which doesn’t always happen). Of course, parents who grew up crooked and who have embraced the salvific, life-changing process of becoming mature and responsible adults will be quite comfortable with letting their children follow in their humble footsteps. “We did that and we turned out okay, so why should we try to keep him from doing that?” At least for some of us, turning out okay isn’t quite good enough in the same way that only doing half a job isn’t quite good enough.
Many people do indeed learn to adequately counter the crooked tendencies that they acquired during their youth. But at what cost? These people have largely wasted their formative years, so living up to their full potential involves more catching up than most people are capable of. But then again, most people apparently don’t mind being much less than they can be. And some people spend the rest of their lives constantly dealing with something that they shouldn’t necessarily have to deal with – because of the vain follies of an unrestrained youth. Wouldn’t life be better if people didn’t give themselves problems to deal with in the first place? Oh, but of course, people are suckers for salvation, and one can’t be saved without getting oneself into trouble first, right?
Many might say that they have successfully dealt with the errors and wrongs of their youth, either through religion or through modern substitutes for religion, such as therapy and counselling. I’m not so sure; self-deception can be a very pretty mask but it doesn’t fool me. I’ve seen enough to know that there are a lot of crooked people in certain churches and other respectable milieus that don’t genuinely straighten out any more than crooked trees or crooked bones, and I certainly don’t believe in miracles.
A young person being raised properly with proper discipline simply won’t have to deal with any skeletons in the closet, any ghosts from the past, any regrettable consequences of youthful fancies and frivolity. Such a person may not be the happiest or most fun person around, but he or she will be decent, respectable and confident. Ideally, he or she will always grow up to be the best person that he or she can be.
Of course, one might say that depends on what is meant by “the best”. Opinions on this may well differ, but my view of what is best is decidedly Traditional. That which is best is that which truly contributes the most to the genuine welfare of a well-organized and properly functioning Traditional society. It certainly has little if anything to do with those things which most characterize modern liberal democratic society, such as love, pleasure and entertainment.