June 7, 2016
Posted by Tantumblogo
Not sure I’ve ever heard of this writer before, but in what I would call scholarly prose, he accurately diagnoses the ills of Western Civilization and their increasingly inevitable effect. To put it bluntly, we be hosed. The source of our hosing? Leftism, of course, the same leftism that pretends it is bringing a human paradise is in reality creating what all human institutions deliberately disconnected from God bring: hell on earth (my [i.e., Tantumblogo’s] emphasis [in bold] and comments [in brackets]) –
Nothing is too big to fail, including civilizations, and ours is no exception. The decline of the West is historically inevitable, subject to the universal principle of entropy that functions on every plane of natural existence, including the cultural. The agencies by which it works on this level are readily isolated: the endemic vices and pathologies of human nature (greed, resentment, hatred, envy, sloth); the tendency to take for granted the benefits, rights and privileges that have been painfully won in the past and gradually squandered in the present; the eclipse of historical memory and the concomitant exhaustion of mental vigilance. Whether decline can be retarded is, of course, an open question, but one thing is certain: pushback is futile absent the recognition of the symptoms of decay. [A great deal to unpack in one brief paragraph. I would summarize the collapse of our civilization by quoting Solzhenitsyn, who described the hell that was the Soviet Union by saying: “Men have forgotten about God.” The entire collapse of Western Civilization can be summarized in the same words. We also see in the above the futility of a conservatism grounded in the same radical assumptions that inform the entire endarkenment ethos, ideas like religious liberty and society built much more on freedoms and privileges than duties and responsibilities]
Perhaps the most evident sign of civilizational devolution is the inability or unwillingness to acknowledge reality, to come to terms with things as they are, and to oppose the suppression of objectivity and its substitution by fantasy, illusion and wish-fulfillment………But when thought and action come to be governed by the anarchic principle that what is, is not and what is not, is, a process of social, political and epistemological disintegration invariably sets in. This is the condition in which the West finds itself today. [Which rejection of reason started with the protestant revolution, which was an attack on scholastic reason and the Faith from which it flowed]
At every turn, the real is conceptually abolished by a cult-like mindset that vitiates the social and cultural life of a people by performing, as David Mamet points out inThe Secret Knowledge, an act of sacrifice on the altar of superstition and willed ignorance. The new observances, he writes, “must absolutely repudiate the old,” a form of disavowal especially typical of the Left which is in the process “of sacrificing production, exploitation of natural resources and an increasing standard of living” in order to propitiate its gods and ensure the preservation of a global hallucination, a pervasive climate of doxa. [And we can see a bit of endarkenment informed liberal “conservatism” creep in here, pretending that economic productivity is a good in itself, which disordered view helped generate the movement of reaction engendered in socialism/communism. He misses, or chooses to ignore, the metaphysical aspect of this movement against reason, and the extremism in carrying this evidently self-destructive project forward: leftism is, at its core, a competing and inveterately hostile religion to Christianity, which it has warred against since its inception. Indeed, leftism is nothing more than the putting into practice of a world-view based on rejection of Christianity at its most fundamental level, positing an earthly paradise against the true one we are promised if we die in the state of Grace.]
It is as if the Soviet pseudo-scientist Trofim Lysenko has risen from the grave and, by a mordant historical irony, infected not the burgeoning Russian empire but a weak and decadent West that has succumbed to a sterile and perilous sort of intellectual vernalization—a term glibly misused by Lysenko to describe the process, mistakenly thought heritable, of forcing winter cereals to behave like spring cereals. As plant biologist Richard Amasino writes, Lysenko’s belief that vernalized transformations could be inherited “fit the Marxist ideology that…a Marxist society could produce heritable changes in attitude, and, thus, if the proper environment was provided, future generations would consist of improved citizens. Lysenko’s efforts,” he continues, “to obtain or fabricate results that supported a political ideology…had disastrous consequences for Russian genetics.” Where the speculative and the real are in flagrant contradiction, the results are almost always catastrophic. [Indeed, Lysenko’s theories not only led to disastrous famines, but also immeasurably advanced the environmental destruction that always accompanies socialist states. Thus, the Aral Sea is now dry, because Soviet agriculturalists thought they could get cotton to grow in the barren Asian steppes, diverting water from the sea for the purpose. Socialist Libya under Gaddafi tried the same, draining ancient oases in the Sahara to try to grow cotton.]
The West is now busy at work across the entire field of social, cultural and political life promoting its own version of Lysenkoism, a misconceived exercise of supposedly vernalizing reality by transforming fact into fantasy and truth into lie for the purpose of creating the perfect society and the redeemed human being, transferable across the generations. Its assumptions about the world are guided not by common sense or genuine science but by the precepts of ideology and political desire.[In other words, by the precepts of religion]
Examples abound of the ubiquitous tendency to replace ontology with myth, the determinate with the fluid and the objective with the delusionary. A modest inventory of such noxious miscontruals would include:
Biological sexual differentiation must yield to voluntary gender identity.
A cooling climate is obviously warming.
The demonstrable failure of socialism wherever it has been tried is proof that it has not been properly implemented.
Democratic Israel is an apartheid state.
Islam with its record of unstinting bloodshed is a religion of peace.
Illegal immigrants are undocumented workers.
Terrorism is workplace violence.
A child in the womb is a mass of insensible protoplasm.
The killing of the old and the ill is merciful, even when the recipient of such tender concern is not consulted.
There is no such thing as truth, an axiom regarded as true. [This is the very key of leftism today, which is so dominated by the modernist, relativist thought from which it stems. Note the impossible contradiction in the above: the one truth that MUST be accepted is that there is no unchanging truth. In a tragedy beyond reckoning, such thinking has found its way deeply into the Church, which is how we got both Vatican II and the phenomenon known as Francis]
Green energy is a social and economic good irrespective of crony profiteering, exorbitant cost, wildlife devastation, and unworkability in its present state. [Let alone the grotesquery of vast fields of giant windmills, the sight of which would have left previous, more sensible generations of naturalists like J. Frank Dobie aghast]
Storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis and mortality itself are natural phenomena, but Nature, which cares nothing for human life, is nonetheless sacred, vulnerable and at the mercy of human indifference. [Certainly, to some degree. I am not one who believes man should deliberately war against nature. But note the transference of God-like powers to men in the leftist assumption that man can and is inflicting irreparable harm on nature as if by accident. Of course, these concerns have always been politically motivated]
Women are disadvantaged in the workforce, academia and society at large despite the fact that high-end hiring practices, legal judgments, custody protocols and university appointments, as well as student enrollment, wholly favor women to the detriment of men……..
……..When a civilization, or its cultural and intellectual curators who wield the instruments of power and authority, re-interprets reality as merely discretionary, decline and eventual extinction are guaranteed, and the Angel of History will preside over the ruins. When pretending becomes believing, and believing becomes mandatory, and calling out the naked emperor is punishable by law or fine or ostracism or loss of employment or worse, and when the scale of such abuses becomes effectively global, the “lifeworld,” or communal nature of daily life, as we have known it has ceased to exist…….
…….perhaps in the long run the only way to beat the cultural odds is to let the culture crash of its own accord, as it most likely will, and hope against hope that a viable replacement, a new and better form of civilized life, will rise Phoenix-like from the ashes. A melancholy calculation indeed.
Do go read, as they say, the whole thing. I copied a lot, but there is more gold in the bits I left out.
That last paragraph really resonated with me. The entire piece is brilliant, but I found the last paragraph to be a very fine summary of the feeling I think many (most, almost all?) traditional Catholics (and other deeply observant Christians) have when viewing the carnage that is the world around them.
I must admit to being fairly cold to the idea of not just silently hoping for the demise of this, ahem, culture, but even taking steps to hasten it along (I should make clear, the author does not endorse such hastening, he argues that we must continue to fight). That coldness stems from several factors: my combative nature, my concern for my children and their children, and the study of history. Cultural collapse is not a pretty thing. The vast majority of us would be long dead before any kind of replacement emerged, and given the near total lack of real, Christian faith in the world today, the seed-bed for a well-ordered, holy culture is not present. The replacement could be much worse.
It took Christendom 500 years to (even begin to) recover from the twin disasters of the collapse of the Roman Empire, and the islamic and barbarian invasions. Even worse, because our technology has climbed so high, and our technological system to complex and delicate, chances are that if this culture collapses, it will do so far more quickly, violently, deeply, and horrifically than any that have gone before. Practical knowledge of how to live in a non-technologically aided society is all but gone. Even most farmers would have a terrible time raising even subsistence-level crops without advanced machinery. Who has draft horses anymore? Who has a plow? Who has a hand reaper? Most people would be completely, utterly lost. The carnage would be unbelievable.
But I fear it is inevitable at this point. May God have mercy on us all. I tend to think if this civilization does collapse, it’s because we’re in the parousia, the end of the world. In which case we’ve just got to suffer through as best we can, anyway.