|synonyms:||enlighten, edify, improve, educate, instruct, refine, cultivate, polish,socialize, humanize|
There are no longer any civilized nations, only the illusions of such, faint mirages of what we should have been, as we, perhaps, never were.
The decline of the West is something that has long been prophesied. Symptoms of decline are all around us today, it seems: slowing growth, crushing debts, aging populations, anti-social behaviour. But what exactly is amiss with Western civilization? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, is that our institutions – the intricate frameworks within which a society can flourish or fail – are degenerating.
Representative government, the free market, the rule of law and civil society: these were once the four pillars of West European and North American societies. It was these institutions, rather than any geographical or climatic advantages, that set the West on the path to global dominance after around 1500. In our time, however, these institutions have deteriorated in disturbing ways.
Our democracies have broken the contract between the generations by heaping IOUs on our children and grandchildren. Our markets are increasingly distorted by over-complex regulations that are in fact the disease of which they purport to be the cure. The rule of law has metamorphosed into the rule of lawyers. And civil society has degenerated into uncivil society, where we lazily expect all our problems to be solved by the state.
The Degeneration of the West a powerful – and in places polemical – indictment of an era of negligence and complacency. Europeans and Americans alike are frittering away the institutional inheritance of centuries.
==The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies, Niall Ferguson
Street children as young as five are being caged in brutal detention centres alongside adult criminals in a cynical drive to smarten up the Philippines capital ahead of a visit by Pope Francis this week.
Hundreds of boys and girls have been rounded up from doorways and roadsides by police and officials and put behind bars in recent weeks to make the poverty-racked city more presentable when Pope Francis arrives tomorrow, a MailOnline investigation has found.
In a blatant abuse of the country’s own child protection laws, the terrified children are locked up in filthy detention centres where they sleep on concrete floors and where many of them are beaten or abused by older inmates and adult prisoners and, in some cases, starved and chained to pillars.
Six million people are expected to attend an open air mass conducted by Pope Francis in Manila’s Rizal Park on Sunday, which will watched by a global TV audience and officials appear determined to ensure that urchins are hidden from view.