There are, as far as I'm aware, only half a dozen people who read this blog. That's grand. The older I have become, the more hostility I have felt towards the club mentality of those with acceptable views. Various examples spring to mind. For life in academia these days, to be bien pensant (right thinking) is almost a more important qualification than a PhD. When I attended the Portsmouth Diocesan Pastoral Gathering in 2005, my announcement to the table of six delegates at which I sat that I attended the Traditional Mass (as we called it then) led to an atmosphere that made me feel about as welcome as a fart in a space suit. On the other hand, when I once helped out a schola at a traditionalist gathering, my suggestion that they sing a vernacular hymn at Communion (they had been short of ideas for a Latin one) was greeted with the sort of silence normally reserved for those who, in otherwise polite company, drink water with their soup, or refer to their 'serviettes' instead of their napkins.
Anagnostis - who will probably be the last, lone reader of my blog when all others have fled in boredom and disgust - asks me under a post below about the origins of irresponsiblity. I'm not sure I can even begin to adequately answer the question, at least so framed. But there is no doubt a link between modernity and irresponsibility, of that I'm quite sure. Let me explain.
Responsiblity seems to be something which see-saws throughout the changing phases of modernity. For example, Lutheran sola fide and Calvinist predestination, both of which I view as among the first shards of Reformation modernity, begin by placing responsible agency outside the individual and almost totally in God. The consequence: in the short term, intense asceticism, while in the long term, a disincentive for human behaviour (because my destiny does not depend on me in any meaningful way). We see a contrary movement in the advance of Enlightenment rationalism which seeks to take back all that responsibility into the hands of man (having previously given it over entirely into the hands of God). But that too is irresponsible in the same way back-seat driving can be irresponsible. But lo and behold, the age of reason is followed by the age of nineteenth-century science which attempts first to explain our thoughts by our chemical make-up (Taine) and then describes how our very identities, where we believe responsiblity lies, are a duplicitous sham (Freud).
Now, we are not responsible: our badness is society's fault (Rousseau), or it is the fault of our parents (Freud again) or it is the fault of our alienation (Marx) or it is the fault of the bad faith with which we refuse self detemination (Sartre). Genes are now thought to determine almost all we are or will ever be, and the rest is the fruit of cultural symbols which in themselves are merely the comforting, polished turds of a delusional civilisation. We are finally Straw Dogs, as John Gray, declares. 'Responsiblity' is one of those constructs which hides from us our real identity as pure, self-interested animals.
And as we have broken down the old, organic patterns of our culture, we find increasingly a sublimation of responsibilty into society-wide bodies. Schools educate our children; care homes take our elderly; bureaucrats rule the spending of our taxes; the media is responsible for our leisure; industrial farms grow our food and everybody buys rather than makes clothes - all of which must have happened in one way or another in the past, but not in a way that made our predecessors the professional consumers that we have become. All the time our responsiblity is sucked out of us from above and only returns to us in ways that we find unsustainable. Even the authenticity which our culture, above all others, seeks is anthropocentric and, thereby, sterile.
And that, if I may come back to one of my first points, is why I'm wary of clubs and club mentalities, and matey back slapping and partisan mistrust, and the binary construction of our social circles, as if we were already invited to make the division of the human race which belongs to God alone at the end of time. All these are an excuse for not taking responsiblity. All these are an excuse which allows us to believe that some code other than the love of God will enoble our choices and make them beyond reproach.
Does that answer the question, Anagnostis?