From thearchives - Published from 1982-96, Fidelity magazine was the predecessor of Culture Wars.
And the Wall Came Tumbling Down
by James G. Bruen, Jr.
From the January 1990 issue of Fidelity magazine
Some people hail unreservedly the thawing of the cold war that the Berlin Wall’s demise typifies. New markets will be opened, they say; a new, better world is emerging. Others fear a united Germany. Would it be a military threat? What would its economic impact be? Some even wonder what its impact would be on international athletic competition.
The important question, though, is what impact these events will have on the spiritual well-being of the people. And, judging by the initial indications, things do not look encouraging.
When the clock-radio woke me with my first news of the opening of the Berlin Wall, the announcer also reported what the initial throng of East Berliners sought immediately in West Berlin: pineapples, video cassette recorders, and contraceptives. The first televised news coverage I saw showed the East Berliners flocking to West Berlin’s red light district. That television broadcast included interviews with streetwalkers about their suddenly booming business and about the intricacies of establishing the cost for their bodies in East German marks as well as in the more valuable West German marks.
Freedom and democracy? Sure, because they provide food, consumer goods, and sexual license that are unavailable under the communist system; that is one message delivered by the breaching of the wall.
Economic disaster and the absence of food plague the communist world. Indeed, they seem to be inevitable consequences of the communist system. From inside the communist world, the affluent West must seem to be a promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey, almost a Garden of Eden. This must have been particularly vexing to East Berliners who, unlike peasants in the heart of the Soviet Union, were able to peer into the West. But, like Adam and Eve, when the East Berliners reached for the fresh fruit, they found not true freedom, but sin, which they embraced. The capitalist countries, like their hookers, offer the illusion of happiness.
Much as we applaud the end of the Cold War, at this point one thing seems evident: We are seducing the Eastern bloc, not conquering or converting it. The residents of East Germany may be escaping a failed materialistic system run by an authoritarian party, only to join a secularized society that is enslaved by materialism and sensuality. Leaving a dead system that had been imposed on them, they are rushing voluntarily to a system that is decaying and collapsing from within.
The democratic West holds out a potential that communism does not: we are able to elect our governments and thus able to try at least to change those things that are wrong. But the East Berliners are not looking to help us change those things that are wrong; instead they are embracing our decadence. The breaching of the Berlin Wall may mean no more than this: East and West may not destroy each other because of fear and hatred, but instead, like the illicit lovers Paolo and Francesca in Dante’s Inferno, they may condemn themselves to an everlasting embrace in hell: “Love, which permits no loved one not to love, took me so strongly with delight in him that we are one in Hell, as we were above.”
The people of the Eastern bloc do not need our pineapples, prostitutes, and birth control pills. Like us, they need the Church. The pope’s meeting with Gorbachev, not the fall of the wall, is the real sign of hope. Increased freedom for the Church and its members in the communist nations may lead to a transformation of those societies so that they can produce priests and prophets to convert us. God alone, Who calmed the winds and the sea when in a boat with His disciples and who roiled the calm Mediterranean Sea when Presidents Bush and Gorbachev were in their ships, can accomplish that.
James G. Bruen, Jr. is an attorney.
Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control by E. Michael Jones. Libido Dominandi – the term is from St. Augustine’s City of God – is the definitive history of the sexual revolution, from 1773 to the present. This book examines the development of technologies like psychotherapy, behaviorism, advertising, sensitivity training, pornography, and, when push came to shove, plain old blackmail – that allowed the Enlightenment and its heirs to turn Augustine’s insight on its head and create masters out of men’s vices. Libido Dominandi explains how the rhetoric of sexual freedom was used to engineer a system of covert political and social control. Paperback, $30.00 + S&H. [When ordering for international shipment, price will appear higher to offset increased shipping charges.] Read More Read Reviews
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