Forward or Downward?

This week a lot of the reserve neurons in my brain have been mulling over the lyrics of this a haunting Quebecois folk song:

I’m not the first to notice it, of course.

“Dégénérations,” by Mes Aïeux, is a clever pun (on “of the generations” and “degeneration”) and startlingly profound. Its abundant popularity in Québec implies that its struck a chord with its tale of a people who’ve lost touch with the land, whose work is leached of meaning. The Servile State has triumphed.

Russell Kirk said that “a people who demand the inalienable right to destroy their own young are far gone in decadence,” and Mes Aïeux are unafraid to address the destroying angel of abortion in a society where the fertility rate is 1.61, far below replacement. The longing for “a big table surrounded by children,” and the existential horror of having been born “an accident,” are touchy subjects addressed well. The only other example of a truly tender pro-life song I know of is Trip Lee’s “Beautiful Life.” Any other recommendations?

The question of degeneration holds relevance far beyond Québec, for all of us living in secular modernity  (or, in the developing world, aspiring to). Québec is so extreme that it has recently banned state employees from wearing religious clothing. But I think many of us can sympathize with Mes Aïeux’s concluding injunction to turn off the TV and come out to dance. In an age of instant gratification, have we forgotten how to have fun?