In a post on the hypocrisy of the “self-”critical left, Diane left a note on the ominous signs that the West was committing suicide. I didn’t answer it at the time, but I’d like to address it now.
I just started Ibn Warraq’s “Defending the West” last night. It promises to be a slow but highly rewarding read. And a couple of days ago I finished Shelby Steele’s “White Guilt.” Is it my imagination, or are there increasing numbers of books out there by serious and credible people challenging the “progressive” anti-Western, anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-Zionist orthodoxies?
Or am I allowing myself to be lulled into a false sense of security/hope by completely tuning out the MSM?
oao would have us think the end is near. Say it ain’t so, RL. You’re the milleniallism scholar. The end is never near, right?
You may think — as do I — that Ibn Warraq and Shelby Steele are “serious and credible people,” but, like Khaled abu Toameh, these folks tend to be dismissed by the progressive camp. On the other hand, unlike oao, with whose analysis in detail I often agree, but with whose overall conclusions about the utter collapse of Western educational systems and the doomed state of the West I disagree, I think the future remains undetermined, and in fact, we still have great power and resources if only we’d use them. (And that’s not military power, I’m talking about.)
On the contrary, this battle is far from over. And although every day and week that we delay in dealing with it (e.g., Iranian nuclear power) seriously, the eventual costs are all the higher. I don’t think that Europe, for example, will start fighting back until some significant area — a city like Malmo or Rotterdam — gets turned into a toxic Sharia-zone.
On the other hand, I think that events like the debacle of Durban II are hopeful signs, not only the defection of so many key Western nations, but the walk-out of Ahmadinejad’s rant, to the accompanying cheers of the peanut gallery. On the other hand, having a schizophrenic president, who takes away with one hand what he gives with the other, doesn’t help.
While it’s true that “the end” has yet to happen, immense catastrophes have — like the collapse of the Roman Empire, or the “apocalyptic” World War II (which made the unimaginable World War I look like small potatoes, and which the Germans would have won had the US not entered). So I take no comfort in the fact that the apocalypse hasn’t yet happen.
Indeed, unlike in the past, where only God could bring about the end, now — even as we no longer believe in God — we now have the power to destroy human life on earth. So especially for atheists, who think that the reason the End hasn’t come has nothing to do with God’s involvement, the present offers the first serious threat of annihilation.
On the other hand, I have a perhaps irrationally optimistic sense of the resilience of the West. In particular I don’t think that most “liberals” are intentionally suicidal (unlike the radicals), and I do think they can and will wake up.
The issue is still how long it will take and how high the eventual cost. But we can wake up too late. At least a new dark age will reduce our carbon footprint.