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THE COLUMN: The Scales Have Fallen. Now What?
Michael Walsh • 31 Oct, 2023 • 5 Min Read
And the turning point has arrived.
You may have noticed that the enemies of the West no longer need to hide their animosity or their purpose. In the wake of my 2015 book, The Devil's Pleasure Palace, I was often asked what, exactly, did the Frankfurt School and its spawn in academe and its fellow travelers in the media desire in the wake of the collapse of Western civilization? What would follow the triumph of "Critical Theory"? A new communist paradise? The teleological resolution of their imaginary "arc of history"? The sunny uplands of "fairness," "equality," and even "equity"? None of those things, I replied. What they want is... nothing.
To assume that our ideological opponents want something is to play the game on their turf. It's a mistake we make constantly. We imagine that words mean the same thing when they use them as when we use them. We have accepted their protestations that they "only" want a new, post-revolutionary Brotherhood of Man when they speak glowingly of the future, when instead they're happy to stop with the destruction of the past two thousand years of history, and call it a job well done. We mistakenly assume that they want the same world that we do, only different, when in fact nihilism is their goal. To put it in contemporary terms, they are Jokers, the kind of men who only want to watch the world burn.
Thanks to a host of recent developments, this finally seems to be sinking through the fog of our post-Greco-Roman Christian reality. Muslim irredentists have butchered thousands of innocents in Israel -- and Muslims and their supporters all over the West march in full-throated support. In London, they have defaced public monuments; in Germany they have ignored orders to disperse; in the United States their radicalized supporters in the universities -- universities that were deliberately radicalized by the Left in this country, and who now are astonished to find themselves on the receiving end of overt anti-Semitism -- show not the slightest signs of shame, but instead exult in their chance to finally be against everything.
As winter approaches, the exhausted bugbear of the Covid hoax isn't playing as it did during the heyday of the pocket tyrant, Anthony Fauci, as the public realizes that the entire charade was a test run to see just how much Americans would take, how eagerly they were willing to rat out each other out, to be spied on, lied to, panicked by their friends, neighbors, and government. The same mouthpieces at the wholly corrupt CDC and other official organs continue to push their "vaccines," but this time the public is saying that it's asparagus, and to hell with it. People are more fearful of dying young and "unexpectedly" after a hot shot of mRNA than they are of the weaponized common cold imported with malice aforethought from China.
The "transgender" movement, too, is losing steam, along with the "diversity" shibboleths. The sexy lingerie manufacturer, Victoria's Secret, has abandoned its attempt to sell fat women (and feminized men) as objects of sexual desire to straight men, a wholly undesired push for "inclusivity" that has economically come a cropper. Gillette's sales of razors and blades tanked after an unfortunate experiment with denouncing "toxic" -- i.e., real -- masculinity, while Bud Light's beer sales famously cratered after its unfortunate liaison with a transsexual model: TheCryingGame of American corporate stupidity. And real women are finally waking up to the fact that men in dresses can cause them serious harm, and that this delusion must be stopped in the fields of competitive women's sports.
On the home front, America consumers now find themselves inured to near-instantaneous rise in the prices of every consumer good; the "fortified" 2020 presidential election may have at least temporarily slain the Trump bogeyman, but the effective doubling of prices on just about everything now has people understanding that voting has consequences beyond simply feeling that you're on the "right side of history," especially when history takes no sides. As I warned in Devil:
Progressives like to throw around the phrases “the arc of history” and “the wrong side of history.” Martin Luther King Jr., quoting the abolitionist Theodore Parker, formulated it this way: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But when you stop to think about this, it’s simply a wishful assertion with no particular historical evidence to back it up. Such sloganeering emerges naturally from the Hegelian-Marxist conception of capital-H History. The only teleology they can allow has to do with abstract, ostensibly “moral” pronouncements of a chimerical, ever-receding horizon of perfect “justice.” The moral universe must not and will not ever admit of amelioration in our lifetimes, or indeed any lifetimes, they insist. It is a Faustian quest, at once admirable and yet a fool’s errand; no means will ever suffice to achieve the end.
In other words, reality bites. As the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy; the American public is now becoming aware of just how potent a danger to the nation-as-founded these people are. Borders, once secure, have been effectively erased; the big cities have become sinkholes of corruption and despair, their public spaces ruined by a besought influx of cultural aliens. Public monuments to historical personages have been torn down, sites renamed, verities trashed; if you can accept the notion that sex is arbitrarily "assigned" at birth, you can accept anything. Chesterton's fence lies in splinters.
Americans -- and many Europeans, who are also now coming to their senses -- are realizing that they've been had. Swedes and even Germans are now openly bruiting the idea of expelling the hordes of Middle Easterners who arrived at their governments' behest, even as Mutti Merkels Kinder have come home to roost. Their native kindly inclinations have been deployed against them, causing them to doubt to the evidence of their own senses, to stand by idly as the tenets of their faith have been distorted, even by their nominal protectors; Pope Pancho, we Catholics are looking at you.
The current revanchist wrangling over the once- and perhaps future-Trump presidency obscures the roiling cultural counter-reformation now underway, a reaction that may well yet be strangled in its cradle by the Democrats and the media. As Col. Kurtz's notes in his great speech at the end of Apocalypse Now, "it's judgment that defeats us."
So the choice is stark, the danger clear and present, the time is now: do the men of the West rise once again to stop the barbarians at -- and already within -- the gates, or do they surrender to the resentful losers of cultural Marxism and their burning desire to set the world aflame and live in the ruins? How do we save the cultural legacy that extended, until recently, from Greece and Rome through the democratic victory of the Second World War?
Exhausted and effeminate (to use Gibbon's scornful characterization), Rome eventually collapsed, split apart, and was reborn in the West as the nation-states of Europe, whereas in the East it succumbed to luxury, replaced war with bribery and negotiation, and eventually fell to a leaner and hungrier Islam that had only contempt for the effete Byzantines. Which is why Constantinople, founded as a Christian capital, is today called Istanbul.
In 1919, Georg Lukács -- one of the founding fathers of the Frankfurt School -- wondered aloud: "Who will save us from Western civilization?" Today, we must ask: "Who will save it?" Further thoughts on this to come and, of course, suggestions welcomed.
Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints, and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace and its sequel, The Fiery Angel. Last Stands, a study of military history from the Greeks to the present, was published by St. Martin's Press in December 2019. He is also the editor of Against the Great Reset: 18 Theses Contra the New World Order, published on Oct. 18, 2022. Follow him on Twitter: @theAmanuensis