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TotalitarianismReports of depraved violence and unspeakable affronts to the dignity of human persons now dominate the twenty-four hour news cycle. From the intentional destruction of a commercial airliner by Russian-backed rebels to widespread beheadings and crucifixions in the Middle East, it appears as if the world is fast becoming a blood-soaked battlefield—a nihilistic wasteland commanded by the whims of brutish dictators, angry mobs, and murderous sects. While the world is appalled at these recent atrocities, and while we share a common sense of outrage, the West remains apathetic to their causes.

A cursory glance at recent world events provides more than ample evidence that the social order under which we have existed for generations is yielding to a new tide of barbarism that threatens to swallow the entire civilized world. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this violence is the significant support it appears to garner among Western youths (a recent poll suggest that in France, ISIS holds a sixteen-percent approval rating). Our purported age of hope is quickly becoming an age of despair, and while a full frontal assault on the civilized world is underway, the battle for the preservation of civilization is not yet lost. Although the restoration of international order may appear an insurmountable task, under the leadership of a confident and secure West, such a revival is not only possible, but likely.

To that end, it is imperative that the West regain its lost sense of moral rectitude and inner-confidence; however, its affirmation of cultural and political prestige need not be accomplished through military or economic coercion, but through the example of a decent, moral society that strives toward the erection of a tolerable social order. This requires critical self-examination of our own social, moral, and intellectual views.

At the outset, the West must confront its own flawed understanding of history. Since St. Augustine’s City of God was written in the fourth century, the West has largely conceived of history as the unfolding revelation of a divine plan animated by the choices of free human agents. Over the past two centuries, this traditional understanding has been eroded by various “end of history” theories, including economic determinism (e.g., socialism and democratic capitalism) and social progressivism. These “historicist” philosophies purport to show that history, by its very nature, moves in a particular direction and reaches its end when certain political or economic preferences are achieved. This is the great intellectual fallacy of the modern West because it inculcates a false sense of the inevitability of the triumph of good, and is a principal source of our inability to respond effectively to disorder both at home and abroad.

In its place, the West must accept a more sophisticated view of history predicated upon the reality of contingency. Once the Western mind submits to the premise that history is not predetermined, it can begin to confront the causes of global chaos. Ideas and actions have consequences, and until Western culture commits itself to a thorough introspection of its own assumptions—both philosophical and historical—countless volumes will one day recount how the most dynamic civilization to ever exist pitifully wallowed in ineptness until it unwittingly acquiesced to the birth of a new dark age.

While the West can assign blame to innumerable external sources for the current world crisis, it must not ignore its own contributions to the growing disorder, as well as its mounting inability to confront evil because of its refusal to abandon its steadfast commitment to historicism and its closely related philosophical error, moral relativism. Advancing the proposition that ideas of right and wrong are relics of an age of intolerance and that moral neutrality is the basis of a civilized culture renders the West powerless to confront even the most egregious evil despite outward expressions of universal outrage.

US TroopsThe renewal of global order will require the West to do more than institute political or economic programs granting aid to poor nations or deploying military forces to police thuggish dictators. The West must painstakingly resuscitate its dying moral voice. It must regain its sense of self-worth and reassert its dedication to the promotion of order, justice, and peace. The West must reaffirm that right and wrong are proper categories of moral judgment, and reject the naïve belief that the arc of history innately bends toward justice. As we enter an age of unsurpassed violence, the West must reconsider its newfound belief that history is always on the side of righteousness, and with Edmund Burke, know that “when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

What is the West to do? How can we meaningfully confront the rising tide of totalitarianism and condemn the violence of others when we ourselves refuse to employ the vocabulary of good and evil, and subscribe to the progressive belief that the passage of time is a panacea? The answer is simple: We cannot. Consequently, if global order is to be restored, the West must be able to convince the world that certain behaviors are existentially wrong, but to do so, it must be able to explain why. This is only possible if the West is confident in the propriety of its message and confident in its moral right to convey that message. The West must again stand for something or it will ultimately stand for nothing. Enervated by a lack of definite purpose and structure, the Western mind has become malleable and defenseless. It is no wonder that extremist groups have had astonishing success in brainwashing Western youths to fight on their behalf.

The West cannot afford to lose sight of its own identity by abdicating its core values to a world that eschews moral absolutes and a modern culture that embraces an impoverished view of history. Ultimately, we need not acquiesce to the most recent onslaught of barbarism in the Middle East and eastern Europe, but effective resistance to this blood-dimmed tide will require the West to reclaim its role as history’s custodian—a role that begins with cultural and intellectual renewal at home. The West must regain its nerve, not just for its own sake, but for the benefit of the entire world. “For nowadays, the world is lit by lightning.” It need not be so.

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11 replies to this post
  1. Nations have lives, periods of growth as well as decline, hardly new, I make no claim to originality. What is exceptionable and distressing is not that this occurs, revivals may also occur, but that the core, the essence of a free, vibrant democratic polity appears to have reached a stage of desuetude, and at a time when the West yet again faces the 1400 year old destructive force from Islam. Timing is everything as the saying goes. Where is the confidence, the will and pride to sustain this rabid force?
    Note, I start out with “nations”, I close with the West.

  2. Glen, you just say, over and over, the West must regain its moral voice. Each paragraph says it a different way, but it boils down to the same. And do you say how? No.

    May I please share my own thoughts on the matter?

    You have to fix it the same way you undo a loss to your computer, you reset it to a time when it was NOT broken. We have to reset prior to the loss of our authority–because of course that’s what you must mean, to speak with a unified voice, we must recognize some authority, some body of truth, to which we agree with all our hearts, even to the point of death. Well, the question is, when did we lose that?

    In 1517 when we broke the Church and then ripped it off to provide the first stash of capital, and then mounted a campaign of terror against the Church and against Her claim to Truth even when it led to religious liberty, aka religious whoredom. “Religious liberty” is the loss of authority and the denial of Truth. And after we mounted that campaign of terror, we easily controlled the media sources, and have mounted the Great Lie ever since. Scratch our way through it and we have a unified voice AND a cooperative, not competitive, nor socialist, economy that could save our bacon. It was called medievalism but it’s entirely possible to rename it: the Future. If we are to have one. I

    We just have to restart five hundred years to give you what you are yearning for. That’s not actually so very long in light years, but we haven’t time to waste jumping up and down and screaming, ‘Get it together, People!’ Which I’m afraid, Glen, is what you have here. Don’t listen to flattery. Yes, it sounded good, what there is. I mean, it goes in the right direction–but doesn’t progress. Keep going, tease it out, when did we speak with the Unified Voice you rightly say we need in this dark hour?

    All we have to do is reconvert our people. I’d say they are more receptive to it than they were in 1520, or 1620, or 1720, now that all the lies and bribes have run their course and our people have been completely expropriated of their land and tools.

    As it is, we are expected to fight Islam for Secularism, and uh, no thanks, we’re trying to survive it ourselves.

  3. In a sense, we are blind even when we appear to see clearly.

    It is incorrect to claim, as this article does, that 16% of the French support ISIS because that 16% are in France, but not French.

    Likewise, the most popular name for a newborn inin Belgium is “Mohamed” – but as you might guess this has nothing to do with Belgians having babies.

    Multiculturalism and ignorance about the meaning of citizenship are to blame. The time to fix the problem has passed. The West decided – on numerous occassions – to commit suicide. It is now over.

    • Thank you, Mr. Rieth. I was going to make that point myself.

      Should the muslims decide to behave here in America in similar fashion as in the Rotherham borough in the UK, or in the areas they have taken over in France, the outcome will certainly be a bit different.

      That is one of the reasons the cretins who “occupy” our Left want to deprive us citizens of our firearms.

      Much of the European West has certainly committed suicide, and simply haven’t finished bleeding out yet. There are many – including the current occupants of our White House and Congress – who are doing their best to see America fail as well. However, the continued push by people like Geert Wilders and Victor Orban gives me some hope that perhaps _all_ is not quite lost in Europe.

      Please accept my apologies as an American citizen for the betrayal of Poland by our government. Although too many Americans are ignorant of our own history, Poland has always been a worthy ally of our country.

  4. Or – to quote the only real and patriotic European Statesman alive in Europe today, Prime Minister Victor Orban of Hungary:

    “Western Europe is so busy trying to solve its’ immigration problems that Western Europe has forgotten to take care of white working class Europeans”

    I really think people should look to Hungary if they want to see how to run a nation-state and how to restore Europe to greatness.

    If Premier Orban manages to pull off what he is aiming at (and given his re-election and 75% majority there is a good chance) – we are one step closer to being saved.

    I only wish Polish conservatives would get their act together and and act in the spirit of the old saying

    Lengyel-magyar két jó barát
    Együtt harcol s issza borát
    Vitéz s bátor mindkettője
    Áldás szálljon mindkettőre

    Poles and Hungarians are brothers!
    Whether in Swordsmanship or in Drinking!
    Both are Men, both are Agile
    May God bless both!

  5. @Peter, you are so right! Here in Chicago, believe it or not, we are praying the rosary that ‘Poland follow Hungary.’ I have a petition to sign on my blog in support of Hungary but you’ve doubtless already seen it, and some other info on attending traditional mass in Hungary, just scroll down. Oh, I want to visit so much and show them some love!

  6. Madame,

    That is wonderful news and very uplifting. Thank you to everyone in Chicago! Prayer has always done more for Poland than the Polish government, so don’t stop.

    I invite you and your colleagues (and everyone else) to read Prime Minister Orban’s recent important speech, which I have translated into english and titled

    “The Golden Rule Rule of Christian Life as the Political Limit to Liberal Notions of Freedom”:–the-golden-rule-of-christian-life-as-the-political-limit-to-liberal-notions-of-freedom-98#.VA6BOOAYZPE

    • Mr. Reith, may I invite you over to my blog? Would you please leave a comment, if you would be so kind on the Hungary article, so that I might contact you? I wish to ask a favor!

      Thank you,

  7. In the first paragraph of his essay, the author states that it was Russia that shot down the Malaysian Airline plane over Ukraine this past spring. There is no conclusive evidence that it was Russia and none has been put forth.

  8. Mr. T,

    Thank you for your apology, but as An American citizen myself, I am in no position to accept apologies from my people to my people.

    As a Polish citizen, I will say I think America has nothing to apologize for. Americans should not allow themselves to be victims of emotional blackmail.

    Irrespective of what one thinks of the idea to install the Missile Defense System in Poland (I was against it back in 2008), the reason it was not installed is not because President Bush waivered, but because Minister Sikorski was stalling the negotiations and torpedoed them to serve his own political ambitions, as Mr. Waszczykowski, the chief Polish negotiator has said on numerous occasions. President Obama has nothing to do with the lack of a Missile Defense System in Poland – it is the fault of the Polish government acting against its’ own President during the twilight of the Bush administration.

    It was neither President Bush nor vice President Cheney who betrayed Poland, but Mr. Sikorski and the Polish government. They were primarily focused not on Polish national security, but on undermining their own President for numerous internal reasons. Had Mr. Sikorski and Mr. Tusk really wanted a missile defense system, they would have accepted the American offer instead of torpedoing it under the pretense that Poland “deserves more”, when really – it was a game to isolate President Kaczynski.

    To this end, they colluded on numerous occassions with Vladimir Putin, and their efforts ended with the death of the President and the conservative leadership in Poland. Now, they cry that Mr. Putin threatens them and America should come rescue them.

    Well boo-hoo.Tough.

    I am all in favor (as anyone can see) of coming to terms with Russia, but what the Polish government did was cooperate with Putin against the Polish President – that is not diplomacy: it’s treason. It is natural for Mr. Putin that he was willing to oblige this ploy to isolate and marginalize the Polish President (why should the Russians not hang Poland if the Poles are giving them the rope?) Poles have made their bed: let them sleep in it.

    They betrayed their President, got him killed, and now they piss their pants (to use a rather strong metaphor) that Poland is threatened by Mr. Putin.

    What does America have to apologize for? Why does America have to clean up this mess? Why would any self-respecting Pole WANT America to clean up this mess?

    Wouldn’t it be nice for Poland to just once – just one time since 1920 – to demonstrate that it has the political wisdom and skill to get itself out of trouble, to settle accounts with its’ own neighbors, to bring peace to its’ own region rather than whining and whining about how it was “betrayed” by everybody?

    Poland’s political leaders need to grow up and get their act together and think about the good of their own country rather than expecting Americans to think about it for them.

    I write this despite my policy disagreements with Mr. Waszczykowski and the majority conservative party in Poland (who are certainly far more anti-Russian and pro-Ukrainian than I am) because when considering the facts of recent history; independent of what one wanted to happen – we must be clear about what did happen.

    Now, someone may come along and say “how can you trust the Polish conservatives’ account over Mr. Sikorski?” or “isn’t this just the partisan view of one political party?”

    Yes – it is.

    And in politics, you have to decide whose word you trust against who sometimes.

    I trust the words of President Kaczynski, the son of a National Army veteran who spent his entire life working against communism in Solidarity, and the patriots who spent 15 years working to get him elected, many of whom spent their whole lives in the national anti-communist opposition and have rich patriotic family traditions. Mr. Kaczynski was the first truly free and independent President of Poland since 1939 and despite what I – or anyone – might have agreed or disagreed with him about regarding policy – I do not think any honest person could disagree with the fact that his Presidency was a watershed moment in Polish history, much like the election of Ronald Reagan in America. I trust President Kaczynski, Minister Macierewicz and Minister Waszczykowski more than I trust little boys whose claim to fame was running around Afghanistan with a camera or their grown up patrons who thought that the communist era Military Information Services were worth saving.

    I trust them because everybody who counted in Solidarity trusted them and never stoped trusting them.

    I disagree with their views on what proper foreign policy is because I think Poland should be independent of East and West and build good relations with all and because I prefer Victor Orban’s inclination to look at the world as it is now, not through rose colored lenses from the Reagan era- but – if the President and his government had been working to get Missile Defense into Poland, and the only reason Mr. Tusk and Mr. Sikorski opposed them was to diminish the President and set him up for failure in the 2010 elections – going so far in their opposition as working hand in hand with Mr. Putin to lead to the death of the President and his entourage – well – that’s treason. It’s not Mr. Putin’s fault, it’s not Mr. Obama’s fault, it’s not Mr. Bush’s fault. Poland is responsible for Poland. The Polish government is responsible for the safety of the Polish President.

    Two Presidents are dead (because not only Mr. Kaczynski, but the last President of the London exile government also died on that plane) and the conservative party has lost many of its’ most important members and is shattered – it was made ineffective over the past 7 years due to this, for lack of a better term, coup d’etat.

    But the fact is that the responsibility for this situation rests on the shoulders of the coup leaders in Poland; not on the shoulders of Americans.

    They bought – hook line and sinker – the idea that working with Mr. Putin against their own President was a good idea: now they will choke on that idea.

    America should stay out of it and let them choke. This whole crisis is God’s justice for their cowardly treason against President Kaczynski.

    Poles will take care of the rest when the time comes for new elections. And if Poles fail to govern themselves – tough luck. It’s not America’s duty to hold the hands of every nation on Earth that lacks the capacity for responsible self-government and engages in fratricide. Particularly not of countries which claim to have, as Poland does, a thousand year history of rich traditions of self-government which it could harness – if it so chose.

    And so really sir, America has NOTHING to apologize for. President Bush did more for Poland than any President since Woodrow Wilson.

    The Poles have no one to blame but themselves – and Poles ought to be eternally greatful to America for what America did for Poland, both under Presidents Reagan and Bush.

    Now – Poland must show the world that it can get itself out of trouble – by doing so, it will earn its rightful place in Europe as a great nation. If it cannot do so without whining for American aid then Poland does not deserve a state of its’ own.

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