A Sinking Ship

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 23 2012 @ 7:42pm

Mark Steyn mourns the end of civilization:

On the Costa Concordia, in the words of a female passenger, “There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboat.” [In contrast, the] men on the Titanic — liars and thieves, wealthy and powerful, poor and obscure — found themselves called upon to “finish in style,” and did so. They had barely an hour to kiss their wives goodbye, watch them clamber into the lifeboats, and sail off without them. They, too, ’oped it wouldn’t ’appen to them, but, when it did, the social norm of “women and children first” held up under pressure and across all classes.

Today there is no social norm, so it’s every man for himself — operative word “man,” although not many of the chaps on the Titanic would recognize those on the Costa Concordia as “men.”

Eduardo Peñalver corrects Steyn's facts that ethics on the Titanic "held up under pressure and across all classes":

Less than half of the third class women (46% saved) and children (34% saved) survived, compared to 100% of the first and second class children, and 97% and 86% of the first and second class women, respectively.

Peñalver concludes:

So a disaster in which the elites play by their own rules and in which the poor survive at about half the rate of the wealthy and middle class is Steyn’s example of how a well ordered society responds to adversity.  Maybe my initial reaction was wrong.  Steyn’s Titanic praise may actually be a perfect metaphor for contemporary National Review Republicanism.