457. Duration (X)
A frequent discussion on the right is whether or not Christianity caused the fall of the Roman Empire. The debate reflects the fact that if you become really conservative you will eventually reject Christianity because it is a relatively novel addition to your civilisation. Really, the question as to whether Rome fell due to Christian influence recapitulates today’s question as to whether or not “woke” ideas will destroy the West. And, indeed, since progressive views derive from Christianity—represent a Christian heresy—it is an identical question.
Gibbon was among the first in modern times to attribute Christianity’s influence to Rome’s decline—it was not his only reason, only one among many. The thesis is that Christianity destroyed the civic virtue required for Rome to defend herself militarily; just as the woke pull down statues of dead white males today, so Christians denigrated the gods that protected Rome—and these gods were tied to family life, certain noble families were responsible for certain gods; destroy the gods, destroy the family—destroy the family and nobody has any impetus to defend the territory.
I do not attribute Rome’s fall to Christianity. The religion, as with woke ideas, could only exist because the society was decadent—the masculine virtue that built Rome had eroded and there was wealth enough to engage in perverse status signals. Just as women today demand open borders on Twitter for status, so decadent Roman matrons invited ragged Christians into their homes to hear their novel stories that said meekness and mildness were good. Wokeness and Christianity rely on women and feminised men to propagate, particularly in the decadent upper classes—these are feminine religions.
The ideas would not be a threat if men still had virtue. “Open our borders to hundreds of thousands of Arabs, who follow a religion that hates us and our way of life? No, you idiot, we will not be doing that,” says the virtuous man. In decadent societies, where, as history records, women exert strong influence, men say, “I’ll have to see what me wife says—anything for a quiet life, eh? I’m sure a few more blacks—we can still call ‘em blacks, can’t we? Ha, ha—will do no harm. Anyway, got to get on—don’t want people to think I’m extremist.”
In this way, views that are stupid can win; if there are not enough men with virtue about then the borders will be opened, the old heroes toppled, and the empire will fall. As with the woke, the Christians were for many years a minority; yet they were more fanatical and intolerant than the pagans—just as the woke are more fanatical and intolerant than conservatives. When Rome was 80% pagan, the Christians worked their way into the education system and imperial court and from there pursued their objectives; eventually, they had the upper hand where it counted—the education system, just as the woke control the universities and media—and then they terminated the pagan religions, even though the “silent majority” disagreed.
A small, fanatical minority defeats a large tolerant mass—and this is why the woke will win and, really, have won. Modern “pagans” do not really like the statues of their ancestors being toppled but they were educated by “Christians”—the woke—themselves and feel ashamed when they object. Paganism only said you had to respect the rites, you could believe what you wanted about the gods—the Abrahamic religions said you have to believe and not just respect the rites. This is why Islam and Christianity—like Marxism and wokeness—are intolerant: you cannot just participate in public rites, you must affirm that the belief system is the truth. Religions that derive from Abrahamic origins cannot live-and-let-live, yet this gives them the advantage—they brook no compromise. Hence wokeness will beat our modern “pagans”, the conservatives, who just want to be left alone—it has already beaten Christianity, because it is more fanatical than the Christians about its “one truth”.