The Epstein underage sex-trafficking and blackmail story may be the most important story of the decade. It is a parable for much that has gone wrong with Western civilization, the story of the corruption of a ruling elite not merely on a human level but on a spiritual one, the explanation of our current condition.
The characters in this sordid drama seemed to have accepted their damnation and determined to live out their debauchery without even the possibility of redemption. Despite the prestige and opulence of its setting, Epstein’s was a world of despair where the shadow suicide or guilty evasion was the price of stimulation.
There was something joyless about that life despite its veneer of trendy causes and intellectual advancement. There seemed more happiness and hope in an African hut than in their deceit ridden palaces. If that was the view from the top, then it was the view from hell. Cynicism on this scale is hard to hide from the public. What they glimpsed, dismayed. The elite seemed convinced there was no God or worker’s paradise, no balm in Gilead, no justice on earth. But as to the devil — he most definitely existed.
The Epstein scandal was one of many recent events that suggested the custodians had betrayed their stewardship. If culture is the mind of a civilization, no society can long survive the corruption of its own legacy and symbols. The photo of Ghislaine Maxwell and Kevin Spacey seated on the thrones of England as guests of Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton respectively seemed to do just that.
The barbarians were at the altars. Some would argue the discovery of cultural aliens in high places came about only because the Woke exposed them. But as Michael James Coudrey pointed out, many high-status sex offenders have been prosecuted during the current un-Woke administration and the exposure of so many villains may have less to do with the relative morality of bureaucrats than the breakup of the defensive box formation the elites formerly sheltered in.
Like characters in a science fiction movie who discover special glasses that show the aliens among them, the public sees them now. The same insights that fueled the populist rebellion also weakened the mutually protective networks that prevented their previous detection. When the old boy system failed, it did with such suddenness that many tycoons, media personalities, politicians from both parties, artists, academicians and even royalty were taken by surprise.
For much of the public, the shock was no less. To many, it seemed as if it were already too late. The game was afoot not only in high places but among gangs in the street. The old verities were condemned as supremacism. Criticism was now violence while physical destruction like arson was to be indulged as mere damage to property. Worst of all there was nothing to appeal to. God had been banished, symbols and statues pulled down till there was one remaining yardstick left to invoke: the inappropriate. That only survived because it meant nothing and was therefore harmless.
For a while, the mantra “trust the science” was pressed into service as an expedient. But as Reason pointed out, that too collapsed under abuse and political mistrust.
Americans’ unwillingness to be governed any further by officials who responded to the pandemic with a series of botched policy initiatives, personal exemptions, and seemingly arbitrary commands to the public is understandable. Why would you take orders from people who seem to have no idea what they’re doing and clearly don’t intend to follow the rules themselves?
If there is some easy way to bind up the rift it is not obvious. Yet from that nothing-in-common, the small man must find a way to rebuild culture and civilization since mere strength is never enough. The task is to make whole what is in pieces; find what Epstein and his glittering coterie could not: hope amid despair, forgiveness despite the claims of justice, redemption amid the unpardonable and the embers of optimism among the ashes. If it sounds hopeless, that is what civilization is said to be. What could not be built on private islands or marble edifices may yet rise in the ordinary heart of man.
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The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus, by Lee Strobel. Is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God? Former atheist and Chicago Tribune journalist Strobel takes an investigative look at the evidence from the fields of science, philosophy, and history.
Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America, by Garry Wills. By examining both the address and Lincoln in their historical moment and cultural frame, Wills breathes new life into Lincoln’s words and reveals much about a president so mythologized but often misunderstood. He shows how Lincoln came to change the world, how his words had to and did complete the work of the guns, and how Lincoln wove a spell that has not yet been broken.
The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity, by Douglas Murray. The book examines the twenty-first century’s most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race, and reveals the astonishing new culture wars playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and ‘intersectionality’.
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Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with your friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.
Open Curtains by George Spix and Richard Fernandez. Technology represents both unlimited promise and menace. Which transpires depends on whether people can claim ownership over their knowledge or whether human informational capital continues to suffer the Tragedy of the Commons.
The War of the Words, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea, how China is restarting history in the Pacific.