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culture of deathIn The Hobbit, Thorin Oakenshield gives Bilbo Baggins a beginner’s lesson on the nature of dragons, a sort of dragons for dummies, telling the unschooled hobbit that dragons “carry away people, especially maidens, to eat.”

Dragons have a preference for the virgin flesh of maidens because they are not merely hungry but wicked. They desire the defilement of the pure and undefiled, the destruction of the virgin. Their devouring is a deflowering. Parallels with human “dragons” in our own world are not difficult to discern. The war against the dragon is not, therefore, a war against a physical monster, like a dinosaur, but a battle against the wickedness we see around us in our everyday lives. We all face our daily dragons and we must all defend ourselves from them and hopefully slay them, which is only possible with the assistance of God’s grace which serves as a sort of St. George in the heart of man. The sobering reality is that we must either fight the dragons that we encounter in life or become dragons ourselves. There is no middle-path. No neutrality in this fight to the death is possible. We either fight the dragon or we become the dragon.

An additional problem is that we live in a dragon-culture, a culture of death, which pours scorn on the very concept of virtue and which has banned the very concept of “sin” from its vocabulary. Purity is equated with puritanism and is shunned. Chastity is ridiculed. And true marriage, in which the sexual union is united with the self-sacrificial desire for children, is being ripped apart. To make matters worse, Pride, the wickedest of sins, which rules the heart of every dragon, is now unfurled as an infernal banner and held aloft as a sign of the dragon’s war on Christian humility.

It will come as no surprise to those who know something about dragons to learn that a dragon-culture will devour the innocent in a feeding frenzy of salacious wickedness. We know of the unholy holocaust of abortion, which devours the innocent flesh of babies, but we sometimes overlook the harmful effect on women that the unleashed dragons inflict. This was brought home to me by a recent article in the UK’s Telegraph which highlighted the fact that suicide had become a plague among British women, reaching record levels.

suicideIn 2014, the number of young girls and women in the United Kingdom who committed suicide had risen by a third over the previous year. The figures are shocking. Of the 1,181 women who committed suicide, an all-time record, the highest rate of increase was among girls and young women. Whereas the overall increase was 33 per cent, the increase for girls and young women between the ages of ten to twenty-nine had risen by over 36 per cent. Most shocking was the increase of suicides among teenage girls between fifteen and nineteen years of age, a whopping increase of 61 per cent on the previous year. As if this were not shocking enough, the true figure is much higher because of the failure of coroner’s to record “suicide” as the cause of death. “We don’t really know the extent of the problem,” said Roseanne Pearce of the UK charity Childline, “because the coroner often won’t record it as suicide. Sometimes that’s at the family’s request, and sometimes it’s simply to protect the family’s feelings.”

A further sign of the damage that our dragon-culture is doing to its maidens was highlighted by a study conducted last year by the Girl Guides, the British equivalent of the Girl Scouts, which found that almost half of British girls have sought help for mental problems.

Part of the problem is the relentless rise of pornography. One case study from the UK says it all. Rhea (not her real name) is 17 and has attempted suicide twice. “Porn was everywhere in my school,” she says. Her boyfriend Andy became “obsessed with it.” She’d “made it clear,” she says, that she “wasn’t ready to have sex,” but one evening he sexually assaulted her in a park. The assaults became routine and Rhea felt she could do nothing to stop it. “The constant talk about porn had made me feel like what was happening was normal,” she says. She uses that word repeatedly to describe her attitude towards Andy’s assaults: normal. “I felt trapped, like everyone thought it was normal and I had to go along with it if I wanted to be accepted.” The pressure to conform to these perceived expectations was so great that, eventually, Rhea says, “I felt like there was no way out.” She tried to kill herself.

Nor is the problem restricted to Britain. The dragon-culture has become a truly global phenomenon. Towards the end of 2015 a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) contained the truly tragic statistic that suicide was now the biggest killer of teenage girls around the world, taking more lives globally than road accidents, disease or complications in pregnancy. It is also widely accepted that mental illness and suicide in young women are inextricably connected to sexual and physical abuse. In 2011, the WHO published research illustrating that experiencing or witnessing abuse was one of the most consistent factors behind suicide attempts in teenage girls. Women who are abused physically or sexually, whether as a child or as an adult, are eighteen times more likely to attempt suicide than those who have not suffered such abuse.

Other research has shown that girls and young women who have been sexually or physically abused have levels of post-traumatic stress disorder higher than that suffered by soldiers returning from active service in Iraq or Afghanistan. They are also far more likely to be homeless and to end up in prison or in prostitution.

And the problem is destined to get much worse. Child sexual abuse is at shockingly high levels, an inevitable consequence of the erosion of traditional marriage. The presence of multiple strangers, the lone parent’s sexual partners, in the lives of children leaves them much more vulnerable to abuse.

traditional-familyNone of this should surprise anyone with a modicum of intelligence. We live in an age in which chivalry among men is ridiculed and where the notion of self-sacrificial love has been abandoned in pursuit of self-gratifying desire. If life is reduced to “me” and my feelings, the “other” will be sacrificed on the altars of self-worship. Traditional marriage has always been the way in which a man and a woman give themselves fully to the other so that they may give themselves fully for the children that they hope to raise together.

In a world where virtue is shunned, vice will prevail. In a world where love is replaced with lust, the most vulnerable will be systematically abused. In a world which boasts of its Pride, it is the weakest who suffer. Such a world is destined for anarchy, which Oscar Wilde rightly called “freedom’s own Judas.” Anarchy is the morally lawless society in which the morally lawless prey upon the weak. It is a world that has unleashed the dragon. In such a world, characterized by the increase in the number of damsels in distress, we need an increase in the number of those prepared to go forth, like St. George, armed with courage and the grace of God, to rescue the maidens from the dragons of the death-culture.

Books by Joseph Pearce may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore 

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30 replies to this post
  1. Mr. Pearce:

    Great article. Thank you.

    I am particularly drawn to this statement you make:

    “The sobering reality is that we must either fight the dragons that we encounter in life or become dragons ourselves. There is no middle-path. No neutrality in this fight to the death is possible. We either fight the dragon or we become the dragon.”

    However, I do not find this idea intuitive, and you do not provide any explanation or authority for it. In what sense do we become the dragon when we fail to fight and/or concur the dragons in our life?

    Thanks again.


    • Because “evil prevails when good men do nothing”.
      If one does not fight against dragons, then one is accepting their rule…and thus what the rule of dragons means for the innocent.

      From a Christian point of view (which is the most pragmatic and sensible one, long term), this is not acceptable.
      Don’t worry, there is no need for everyone to don a literal sword — but figuratively, yes, it is required. Yes, it will make you most unpopular; doing the right thing usually does.

  2. Well, I’m hoping to do something about this by writing a book whose goal is to make virginity look “Cool”, i.e., highly desirable. Present a female character who is fun, outgoing, sexy, flirty, single in her mid-20’s AND a virgin. Which comes as quite a surprise to her new boyfriend, Scott, who had become accustomed to a life revolving around casual sex.

        • w/all due respect, it sounds like your heroine is still part of the problem. She sounds like a shallow young lady who makes the appropriate curtsies to contemporary idols w/o actually offering herself as a sacrifice to them. It seems she is trying to play both sides and is “too smart” rather than “good”. Perhaps, through the twists of your plot, she could find her way to a more meaningful outlook? Perhaps that path might involve a bit of sacrifice and tragedy because, isn’t that how we grow?

          • “w/all due respect, it sounds like your heroine is still part of the problem. ”

            No, she is part of the solution. While she is flirtatious and loves romantic interplay, she still maintains her innocence. And this draws in her new boyfriend, who finds her intriguing, but he doesn’t know why at first. Why is her virginity so attractive? Why is she so different from the girls he is used to going out with?

          • BTW, it is worked into the story that she goes to church, and that he comes along with her, at least some of the time. The fact that he finds church boring and spends most of the time daydreaming about race car driving isn’t as important as the fact that he shows up at all.

          • There is nothing wrong with the properly flirtatious woman (nor with a man of the same character).
            The crux of the matter is on the word “properly”. To wish and endeavor to be attractive and charming to the opposite sex is part of the courtship ritual…and as such the great joy of mankind. For God in his wisdom gave us the gift of the beauty of women and handsomeness of men. To renounce it is to accept a culture of death (out of boredom and priggishness).

            It has been our stupidity and ingratitude to toss said gift into the mud by foolishly thinking the pornographic equals the attractive and charming.

            That is the thing that we must renounce in order to reclaim the gift.

      • He’s basically meant to be a typical modern American male, part Gen X slacker and part ex Frat Boy. He is blasé about girls and sex, and doesn’t see his new girlfriend (at first) as any different from his previous ones.

  3. Promiscuity is a problem with the young, vulgarity is everywhere, now more then ever the family is important.

  4. The male suicide rate is way higher than the female rate, even with the increase you mention. So men are in much greater danger than women by that standard.

    Pope Pius XI warned out that destroying the husband as the head of the family would lead to this, women being returned to the old state of slavery and becoming mere instruments of men. Promoters of chivalry who are always silent about women’s obligations to men only make the problem worse.

    • “…destroying the husband as the head of the family [leads] to this, women being returned to the old state of slavery…”

      A truth is so self-evident, it’s flabbergasting to me that it needs to be repeated, but it does, and thank you for doing so. Not all husbands and fathers are paragons of manly virtue, and all husbands and fathers are prone to human weakness in one form or another; but in this fallen world, a family with a man at the head is the best hope for its success.

    • Yeah. You beat me to mentioning this.

      I’m all for rescuing maidens from dragons, but mentioning suicide was not the way to go here. And like you said given the divorce, promiscuity, and abortion rates, a lot of the maidens have become dragons themselves.

    • What, precisely, can the head of the family do to the other members? How can he enforce his will if the others disagree with him? Does he have the right, for example, to physically punish his wife?

      • “Does he have the right, for example, to physically punish his wife?”

        Only if he’s a loser. Arabs and Muslims do this. Civilized people don’t have to.

  5. Jesus didn’t just rescue maidens. It does women and girls a disservice to divide them into the “Madonna or whore” camps. Even you guys talking about what the character for your “virgins are cool” novel are part of the problem. “Fun but not too flirty”. Really. Setting girls up for confusion. Read the book of Hosea to see the heart of God. If you really care about women you’ll have a generous and forgiving heart. So many are wounded by sex before they even know what it is. If the Virgin novel guys can say they’d never even glance at a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue out of respect for women then maybe they aren’t hypocrites. I really want to see every girl rescued, not just maidens.

  6. This gentleman, is why we must reject Christian ( so called) groups who are wishy-washy and un masculine. We must raise the Battle Flag of Christendom once more into the fray! I bid you stand Men of the West!!!

  7. Virginity, even though correlated with the body, is primarily the matter of spirit, even more so- the matter that lies in the most sublime part of the spirit called Sacrum. For those girls who possess this sense of Sacrum it is natural that it is left for husband or for God. 1. For husband, because only in the holy matrimony the physical intimacy is done in the state of sanctifying grace, and whenever loss of virginity is accompanied by mortal sin, angles cry out in the spiritual realm for the great devastation it has caused, and 2. For God, because He said “Be Holy for I, the Lord, your God am holy”, and “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” In the proper moral order the loss of virginity must be accompanied with the openness to life. A moral girl should not touch a guy who doesn’t understand the meaning of virginity with a 10 foot pole, and a moral guy should stay far away from a girl who has no sense of purity for various reasons…
    The above Truth is proclaimed, cherished and taught by the Conservative Catholic Church, and ridiculed, scorned and attacked by the modern post-human world, and not taught by the main stream Catholicism. As soon as you step outside of the Conservative Catholic ship that cruses to the eternal beatific vision-perhaps the most Sacrum experience possible for the human soul-the dark, violent despair of sin takes over. The satanic agenda of today’s post-human world has one primary goal- attack and eliminate sacredness from every aspect of life; Following the spirit of its king, they do it because of envy and sloth; Envy for the perfection of sanctity and sloth that makes them satisfied with the lesser good-apathy to fight the corrupt human nature.
    A person outside of the ship has three options: 1. get on the ship and fight the dragons till the end of the journey 2. Put an end to his/her life like many of those poor girls. 3. Live like a zombie here on earth for a short period of time and consequently there in Hell eternally.

    • Thank you for this, stranger.

      “The satanic agenda of today’s post-human world has one primary goal- attack and eliminate sacredness from every aspect of life; Following the spirit of its king, they do it because of envy and sloth; Envy for the perfection of sanctity and sloth that makes them satisfied with the lesser good-apathy to fight the corrupt human nature.”

      • Hi K Night,

        No problem, I am glad you like it. When two minds meet in the Truth, they give each other Faith, Hope, Charity….and courage/motivation to fight the dragons.

  8. I am of a more jaundiced opinion, having read about the Magdalene laundries and the gulag they created for women who “strayed” and rape victims. As I never heard any sympathy, or desire to make amends, or even basic charity towares those women, I have a tough time believing that you actually care for the sufferings of young women today.

  9. I remember the comment a 20 year old woman made to me a few years ago. She was bemoaning the culture of easy sex and wanted none of it. She said plaintively ” I wished I had been young in the 1950’s like you and my mom ” She saw that era as a golden time for young women, where young women were respected and protected. We should not romantize this period, but it was certainly a much more sexually moral time. For many years I have spoken up against the lax permissve culture, and I was right on. Things have only gotten worse. I am not a prude or narrow minded and I have been very happily married 49 years.
    The sexual revolution has not brought women freedom and happiness, but the opposite. They are in a worse bondage.

  10. Women have always had a raw deal in times past, especially at the hands of haughty moralists when they had fallen from the path of virtue, to use the antiquated language of a bygone era. But today’s sexual free-for-all is a lie and a tragedy that inevitably leads to painful consequences. The use of sterilizing agents to avail of greater access to the pleasures of the flesh inevitably coarsens the heart and reduced persons to playmates, to borrow that ghastly trivializing term from the late Hugh Hefner. Certainly, the abortion figures are nothing for any nation to be proud of, which is why everyone is at pains to deny the humanity of the unborn child and to even gain from the exploitation their vital organs. In retrospect, how wise were the restrictions and ideals of the past.

  11. Thank you Joseph Pearce for such a tragic but necessary article. We (modern man) have made such a horrible mistake. We thought that loosening everything up and sweeping away tradition and rules would make everybody happy, relaxed, uninhibited, and genial toward each other, but nothing more than the total opposite has happened instead. In many ways, we’re living in a kind of gnosticism, in which a person’s physical self is basically worthless. Boys can use girls like paper towels and throw them away when they’re done, leaving the girl feeling like used trash. Our bodies are sacred. We are spirit and flesh joined as one; but materialism, relativism, and the cult of sex have reduced women from the sacred, honorable position they once enjoyed to the lowest-common-denominator, homogeneous with men in their identity, and made to be almost as worthless as the wicked dragons which consume them.

  12. How many girls have been doomed to depression or worse because they may have had sexual activity, coerced or not, and then were harshly scorned by their “moral” parents, who cast them as whores? When you have such extreme perspectives on girls being either pure virgins or sluts, then you are setting the stage for suicide.
    Some choice for young women. Boys and men pressuring them to have sex, the clergy and religious relatives pressuring them not to, and no one caring much about what they may want, or teaching them about normal biology and assertiveness about protecting themselves. If they are simply taught honestly about nature, psychology, biology and disease, there would probably be a lot more self-limiting of sexual activity.

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