“The art of casual decency”

Alexander von Schonburg © Peter von Felbert (Piper)

There is rabble-rousing and hounding. Decency and etiquette seem to be undermined on the Internet. The author Alexander count of beautiful castle asks itself, why all civilization achievements do not count here any longer.

The chewing gum is spat on the street, the door is slammed in your face and grown family men walk through the city in gym shorts and slippers. Alexander von Schonburg observes in our society a letting-go and a ruthlessness that is also reflected on a large scale – when entire oceans are littered and people gather together in loud mobs. "Where are our civilizational standards then??", he asks in our site Interview. His book is a plea for 'old-fashioned virtues'.

John Paul II. and the sex

About 'humor, courage and patience' but also about such unwieldy virtues as 'humility, discipline, loyalty, obedience or chastity' von Schonburg thinks cleverly and entertainingly. The author lists '27 old-fashioned virtues for today' in his book 'The art of casual decency'. "The chapters on fidelity and chastity were particularly fun for me, because I'm running fully against the zeitgeist with these chapters," von Schonburg says. By zeitgeist he means, among other things, unleashed sexuality as an over-excited effect of the sexual revolution.

One example: on your smartphone, you can order one-night-stands with a corresponding sex app. Sexuality is becoming a consumer product, disconnected from personal encounters. Von Schonburg here cites a prominent Catholic key witness who warned of such developments early on. "John Paul II. has always talked about sex in his Wednesday audiences," says the author. "Eros was his great theme. For a pope to give instructions on how to have an orgasm is very unusual after all. He has really refuted the cliche that the church is hostile to the body".

Alexander von Schonburg is a conservative Catholic in the good sense of the word, and admits to being so. It is a pleasure to discuss with him about the actuality of the 'old-fashioned virtues' and he likes to discuss them. What he can't stand, however, is when people don't listen to him. Only recently he met a journalist, he says, who was very hostile to him and only wanted to have her hostile opinion confirmed in the interview.

Catholic against selfishness and arbitrariness

Von Schonburg observes a certain prere for consensus in our society. Dissenting opinions are often ridiculed and Catholic voices are quickly put into prejudice pigeonholes. When it comes to selfishness, ego optimization, consumerism and constant pleasure, virtues such as humility and gratitude are not in demand.

And anyone who does not cheerfully welcome any model of life that has become arbitrary is labeled old-fashioned. "What bothers me," he complains, "is that if you don't cheer all the social changes, you already become suspect. I think it would have to be enough to go along with it. I'm not taking to the streets against gay marriage, I'm supporting it. But on the talk show where I was invited the other day, I noticed, anything other than enthusiastic cheering and finding Conchita Wurst great and finding transsexuality great, anything other than enthusiastic cheering about that is already considered suspect today".

Alexander von Schonburg's plea for '27 old-fashioned virtues' brushes against the zeitgeist of the fun and games society. One reads his book with great pleasure and thinks, yes, they are not so old-fashioned, but very up-to-date, the good old virtues.

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