Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Titanic and the Concordia

My friend Jason points us to the latest column from Mark Steyn who writes a brilliant essay comparing and contrasting the behavior of passengers and crew on the Titanic and the Costa Concordia. Steyn lets each event symbolize the society of the time in which the ships sailed and sunk, and, if that's a plausible assumption, there's much to be anxious about.

One particularly perspicuous point made by Steyn was the difference in the way the men of the Titanic took pains to ensure that women and children were safely ensconced in life boats before they looked to their own safety. Female passengers aboard the Concordia, however, testified to being shoved aside by burly crew members making haste to secure a spot in the life boats for themselves.

As one of Steyn's correspondents wryly noted, “The feminists wanted a gender-neutral society. Now they’ve got it. So what are you (they) complaining about?”

True enough, but what does it say about us that in extremis it's now every man for himself? What does it say about our materialist, secular society that male honor is rarer than once it was. I suspect that once a society minimizes and seeks to neuter masculinity and the masculine virtues, as modern liberalism arguably has done, a sense of honor and respect toward women is one of the first casualties. We certainly don't need to read about the treatment of the women of the Concordia to see evidence of that.

At any rate, there's much more thoughtful and delightfully acerbic commentary in Steyn's column. Give it a read.