A civilization, or at least a way of life, collapsed around the time I was born. Unfortunately these two events, which were not causally related, occurred in the same country: Britain.

Naturally, civilizations do not collapse overnight. They decay, erode, or decompose into unrecognizability. In historical terms, however, the process can be very swift. I grew up at the very end of the era Christie Davies, a sociologist who has something arresting to say on every subject he treats, calls “Moral Britain,” whose strange death he describes and tries to explain.[1]

I am uncertain whether to be grateful for having witnessed the last of Moral Britain, or to curse my fate, for the personal legacy has been ambiguous. On the one hand, it has given me an attachment to things that I believe are enriching; on the other, it has cast a pall of melancholia over my life, such that I now...


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