The pivotal issue, then, is whether the disastrous momentum of cultural decadence and civilizational default can be resisted, parried, or deflected — or at least decelerated — before the inevitable collapse. Will it require an economic cataclysm to shake us from our complacence? Would the election of wise and courageous leaders to replace the ubiquitous coven of time-servers, sybarites, and appeasers make a beneficial difference? Will the insightful writings of a small but determined group of honest and brilliant thinkers exert a discernible effect on public sensibility before the moment of cultural impact? Will it be possible to apply a mental bozo filter to a corrupt and partisan media that has violated the principle of editorial and journalistic integrity in the name of an ideological agenda whose purpose is to inoculate us against the truth? Can we begin to restore the home our ancestors built for us and which we have, for too many decades, failed to maintain, let alone to extend?
That is indeed the question. Can a civilization that is “thinking less and less” be encouraged or provoked to begin thinking more and more, or simply to begin thinking? Is the malady of progressivism, which attacks the productive base of society in order to reify the fiction of unfounded wealth, circulate unearned and deflationary emoluments without reasonable limitation, and multiply the venues of sterile and unproductive labor — is this malady a terminal one? Or is it rather a question of sauve qui peut, of hoarding, defending, salting away, preserving what one can before, as W.B. Yeats feared, “mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” — or at any rate, upon a self-indulgent and internally rotting West?
As Robert Kaplan writes in his new book, The Revenge of Geography, there exist stringent constraints — geographical, cultural, historical — that restrict the nature and scope of possible change. One might add the remorseless thrust of time, when certain developments become irreversible and there is little one is able to do to halt their trajectory. The hour is growing late and the prospect for the re-emergence of reason, clarity, and initiative appears slim to exiguous. Nevertheless, as John Bolton clarions, surrender is not an option. Bolton is fond of quoting the adage, “If you’re not worried, you’re missing something.” In fact, we are missing just about everything. The implication is that we need to do something about it. One recalls Warren’s shallow and murky conceit of home as a “bioregion” open to the world. What she has failed to realize is that a house or a home is not an “intentional community” but has boundaries intended to keep out alien occupiers that would otherwise create considerable unhappiness for its residents — including, we might remark, hostile immigrant societies that import their own hatreds and conflicts onto the premises.
Obviously, we need to do some serious home repair. What in practice does this mean? It means that we need to reanimate the saving tradition of disciplined scholarship and intellectual merit, gradually purging our universities of political indoctrinators, indolent professors, supine administrators, and “Identity Studies” mavens. We absolutely must shrink the size of runaway government, turn back the dependency mindset that has infected the public arena, and revive the ethos of self-reliance and social responsibility. It would be helpful if we finally recognized that protean Socialism is a failed political concept that has caused untold misery wherever it has been tried. We need to understand that we are at war with a supremacist Islam and that the attempt to placate an ancestral enemy will result in the contamination of the culture and eventually, perhaps, in the renunciation of our best selves and ultimately in submission. We need, in short, to awaken from a condition of cerebral narcolepsy and the dream of impervious entitlement.
Can this be done? Can we jettison the dangerous assumption of liberal inviolability and repudiate the hedonistic dissipations that continue to devitalize us? Can we put paid to the nihilistic relativism that has clouded our thinking? Can “we dead awaken”? Can we go home again, convinced to renew the fight for the culture we have mainly abandoned and the civilization we have largely betrayed? Despite the auguries — and they are everywhere around us — we can only, to adapt a heretofore insipid slogan, hope and try.