Writing in that fateful year, 1939, T.S. Eliot, intellectual and Christian, admonished his contemporaries who had placed their faith in the triumph of democracy. Democracy is not enough, Eliot wrote.
"As political philosophy derives its sanction from ethics, and ethics from the truth of religion, it is only by returning to the eternal source of truth that we can hope for any social organization which will not, to its ultimate destruction, ignore some essential aspect of reality.
"The term 'democracy,' as I have said again and again, does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces you dislike -- it can easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler and Stalin."
When Eliot wrote, the world had before it a textbook example of how democracy can be exploited by its enemies: the Third Reich.
After his failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, Hitler decided to take the longer road to power, the democracy road.
Named chancellor of Germany as leader of the largest minority party in the Reichstag in 1933, Hitler used plebiscites to enable the German people to participate in his rule and ratify his policies. After the reoccupation of the Rhineland and the Anschluss with Austria, national referenda were held. Up to 99 percent of all Germans endorsed his actions. By Munich, he was the most popular political leader in Europe.
This, then, is the point. Democracy is but a process by which people participate in choosing and confirming their rulers. But if the peoples of Europe have lost their belief in the truths of Christianity -- the faith that made Europe -- and the morality and ethics derived from those truths, they can wind up with a hell on earth.
Which brings us to Holland, a nation that can rightfully claim to be in the avant-garde of post-Christian Europe.
In Amsterdam, in the Red Light District, there are brothels, sex shop and sex museums. Women advertise their charms in storefronts. Window prostitution has been legalized, as has possession of marijuana and hashish, which are sold over the counter in coffee shops. Drugs are done openly. Pornography is pervasive.
Amsterdam has a "liberal and tolerant attitude," runs a web ad. "Instead of criminalizing everything, this upfront city wears its heart on its sleeve." Not to be outdone, Utrecht has a canal-based red light district. Rotterdam has sex clubs and private houses for the legalized enjoyment of the pleasures of the flesh.