Watching the World Fall Apart
In her valediction to a decade and a half of syndicated journalism, Diana West expresses her disappointment that there has been little or no progress over the years in advancing the debate about Islam and the specter of national decline. In some respects, the situation has deteriorated dramatically. “Indeed, now the U.S. faces the world without a defended border, with increasingly cheapened citizenship and no lawful immigration policy.” The same is true to varying degrees of other western nations as well. Her summation hits home for many of us: “It is hard to watch the world falling apart.”
The name of the game today is denial of the undeniable all across the spectrum of the major issues that afflict us. Denial that temperatures have been stable for the last eighteen years and that the diminution of sunspot activity heralds an age of global cooling rather than warming, as John Casey, president of the Space and Science Research Corporation, has decisively established in his recently published Dark Winter. Denial that Israel is the only democratic, morally legitimate state in the Middle East and that the Palestinian narrative of historical and cadastral residence is demonstrably false. Denial that Islam is a totalitarian entity and a religion of war that has set its sights on the ruination of western societies; and denial of the fact that Judeo-Hellenic-Christian civilization, for all its flaws, marks the high point of human political, social, cultural and scientific development.
Those who hold to such canting and spurious convictions and attitudes are the real “deniers” among us. And a people that lives in a collective state of denial of the obvious, or of what with a little study and dispassionate research would soon become obvious, is a people without a sustainable future. As SF writer Philip K. Dick said, in a speech aptly titled “How to Build a Universe that Doesn’t Fall Apart in Two Days,” later published in his masterful I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
Similarly, writes beleaguered Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is currently being prosecuted once again for telling unpleasant truths about unrestricted Muslim immigration into the Netherlands and across many European countries, “Festering political problems do not go away simply because they are kept in a dark corner.” In a sane society, the messenger who brings irrefutable truths -- judgments buttressed by solid evidence and logical reasoning -- would not be shot or shot down, mocked or slandered. Such bearers of crucial tidings would be attended to and honoured. But we clearly do not live in a compos mentis society. Indeed, even those who have grasped the essential issues at stake increasingly believe that telling the truth is a tactical blunder and merely alienates the constituency they wish to persuade. And yet all they manage to accomplish is to weaken the strength of their argument, lose once-committed followers, and bring their own integrity and courage into question.
I used to think that only a monstrous catastrophe could save us, could provoke people to think again and to see the world as it really is, and could convince us to rise at last to our own defense -- I mean something really enormous, that would make 9/11 look like a mere skirmish. Now I’m not so sure. We would probably find some way of temporizing, of refusing to examine or even recognize the causes of our misfortune, evincing, as Flemming Rose aphoristically put it in The Tyranny of Silence, “the infamous ability of humans to adapt.”
And how they -- we -- do adapt to the absurd, the false and the shameful in every walk of political and cultural life, of whatever magnitude! When the multi-billion dollar swindle that is “global warming” devastates the economy and temperatures begin to decline, leading to reduced crop growth and a crisis of hunger in various parts of the world, people will still insist that “the science is settled.” As it becomes increasingly evident that the media constitute a tribe of liars and fabricators operating as a fifth column, people will continue to read the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Salon and the Huffington Post, and get their news from the BBC, CNN, and MSNBC, forming their opinions therefrom. Although it is by now indisputable that our elite universities have become latrines of left-wing dogma, anti-Zionist propaganda and a subversive pedagogy, we continue to subsidize their existence via donations and attendance rather than seek and support responsible academic alternatives. The more that questions arise regarding President Obama’s still-sealed academic records and mysterious documentary discrepancies, the more people will say “nothing to see here” and move on. As a Palestinian enclave without a legal government and no viable historical claim to the territory it covets resorts to anti-Semitic indoctrination of its denizens and unleashes episodes of outright terrorism, governments around the world will persist, in plain violation of international law, in recognizing it as a state. As Iran marches toward a nuclear bomb and perfects ballistic technology, western governments will declare that it is a rational actor supplementing its electrical grid. Should one of our cities be rendered uninhabitable for 60 years following a dirty bomb strike or half its population succumb to water poisoning, Islam would still emerge as the religion of peace and federal officers would be stationed around mosques to prevent a “backlash.” All such reactions are practically foreordained -- until reality forecloses on its mortgage and a subprime debacle of existential proportions ensues, when it may be too late to reclaim what we have sacrificed to fear, lassitude and craven imbecility.
Denial of the palpable is the concessive stage that precedes and heralds the dissolution of a culture, a nation, a people. I suspect we are on the verge of such a collapse. Europe is well on the road to cultural euthanasia. The rest of the west is treading in its footsteps, eventually to become Sweden or France or the UK. Indeed, it is hard to watch a world falling apart, whether in two days or two decades. To insist that our world is whole and healthy, that our enemies mean us no harm if we would only redress their “legitimate” grievances, that we can save the world by turning to alternative forms of energy despite the exorbitant costs and their obvious inadequacy, that unrestricted immigration from Muslim countries enriches out lives, that gender is merely a social construct and that human nature is infinitely malleable, that big government is the solution and not the problem, and that tolerance is a higher virtue than justice -- all these beliefs, all these scenarios constructed by governments, corporate interests, the mass media and the liberal intelligentsia that have come to dominate the cultural sensibility of the west are forms of denial of what is actually the case, and indicators of an approaching cataclysm.
We recall the current administration’s effort to “reset” its political relations with Russia, which turned out to be a farce of the most preposterous nature. What needs to be reset, however -- were it only practicable -- is not America’s relations with Russia but the west’s relation with itself, and pronto. This would require a vast cultural shift that seems as unlikely as it is necessary, another and antipodal “long march through the institutions.” Only, in the present historical moment there is little time for long marches. Was Martin Heidegger right when he lamented that only a god can save us? Let me conclude by reprising a political joke circulating in Canada, but with respect to the western cultural situation:
Liberal chick is taking flying lessons in a two-seater airplane with just the pilot. He has a heart attack and dies. She is frantic and calls out a May Day.
She hears a voice over the radio saying: “This is Air Traffic Control, and I hear you loud and clear. I will talk you through this and get you back on the ground. Just take a deep breath. Everything will be fine! Now give me your height and position.”
She says, “I'm 5'4" and my position is I support Social Justice, the IPCC, Multiculturalism, Amnesty International, Palestine Liberation and President Obama.”
"O.K." says the voice on the radio..."now repeat after me: 'Our Father who art in Heaven'...."
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