The bad effects of mass immigration and multicultural dreams have been heralded many times and I see no reason to swell things with my own announcement. The stern silencing of those who question the prevailing orthodoxy has also been adequately noted. The question, then, that bedevils me is why native populations everywhere seize the subordination thrust upon them like a prized possession? Why do they bear the coming displacement and annihilation like rejoicing song- masters?
I do not believe our governing elites, flanked by legions of eager social workers and angry educators, pushed the agenda of self-hatred on an otherwise reverent people. I do not believe nations otherwise prodigiously alive would stand being overrun by hostile foreign hordes merely for fear of being called racist. I do not believe the cheerful willingness to accept reverse colonization comes from an unquenchable longing to do right.
A deeper inner ailment festers in Christendom. But when did all this self-hatred start?
One can, of course, find strains of political dissent as far back as one likes. And a more widespread disaffection with the existing order is evidenced, say, in the revolutions of 1848 that sprang over Europe. But the wholesale rejection of Western Civilization did not happen until the period immediately following the First World War. Of this we may be certain.
Prior to the First World War, apart from a scattering of cosmopolitan intellectuals and other sophisticates, the great body of people received their nourishing juices from the soil and from the ancient ways. Conservatism and respect for age was second nature. Stephan Zweig, in his book The World of Yesterday, describes better than anyone how this world felt like. He mentions, for instance, how young doctors and scientists sought to look older and graver, growing severe beards and carrying walking sticks, sometimes even accomplishing sunken cheeks. He describes, in a way now hard to conceive, the childlike love Austrians felt for Franz Joseph, gentle and good. He talks of the blessed comfort all felt, living under a thousand-year-old dynasty, seemingly eternal. Though the Austrians are a particularly lighthearted and conservative nation, always ready to indulge the dignitaries of a hierarchy, one imagines similar sentiments animating most Europe before the war.
After the war, people began to wonder if maybe the teachers, the newspapers and the army had not played a very murderous hoax on them? In Germany, the illustrious Kaiser made a pitiful dash out of the country, followed by that hero Ludendorff. But Germans, being German, could not quite bring themselves to blame the Kaiser and the glorious General Staff, so they set their best energies to earnestly pointing at the lurid intrigues of Jews and anarchists. (I know everyone already knows all this, but bear with me).
In the rest of Europe, finger-pointing turned inward, as a preoccupation with doubt became commonplace. And cultural life now is packed with echoes from those days. This even includes yoga, believe it or not. After the war, the young had totally had it with the ceremonious pleasures and sparkling rituals of their parents. They were done with the infantile credulity and reverence that allowed the bloodbath to happen. Everything had to change. Infantile skepticism, and the supposedly postmodern suspicion that clarity in the arts is a vehicle for bloodthirsty enthusiasm, had their glorious beginnings here. The unconventional became the convention.
Now, what conservatives must admit, if we hope to regain an enduring order worthy of allegiance, is that the old order undid a whole generation of young men. The authoritative guidance from the crumbling castles ended in a murderous swamp. Millions had been shafted into blood and foulness. There were grounds for the young to lose faith, damn it!
Today’s conservative politicians make only spineless attempts to discern the causes of our common disorder, when they are not chasing after fresh news. In place of a vision of the true good, we are given a consistent conventionality, next to which radical self-hatred seems joyfully liberating. Their superficial spiritual discipline is duller than the secular city of the progressives and about as effective as a one-armed librarian. Their trumpeting of enthusiastic patriotism, when a real community of souls is lacking, just bores everyone. Little wonder the young roll their eyes at the destruction of their culture by invading migrants.
Maybe a purposeful political order needs a little something not purely of this world, no?
In all fairness, we cannot totally blame our conservative leaders that West Indians kids love Jamaica, while our kids think Dante and Cervantes and their progeny a bunch of hate-mongers. But I do think there has been a failure to make our culture loveable and a failure of vision. Beauty, even more than its sister transcendentals – truth and goodness – is what makes a culture appealing, and beauty is the last thing a practicing politician dares approach. Beauty is disinterested, but in its absence, you can’t imagine anything even close to the truth.
We need our heads a little more in the clouds. We cannot hope that appreciation of our civilization comes only by teaching the remote past. It will not come, even if our past artistic giants are shown as living forces, relevant to our time. No! People need something new and worthy now, and we must make haste. Trust must be regained, personal aims subordinated. We must be more than the essence of normality or our young will prefer to walk barefoot. The fault is not our Marxist social workers or political class or gray buildings. The fault is not a world of interests and avarice either.
Rather, it is our failure to realize that paradise must be regained creatively. There must be something festive on the menu. This means being more than creatures of the hour. Conservatism must urge the young with burning eternal demands, antidotes to the pitiful proclamations of the leveling left. Conservatism must offer the world as sacrament, an inner life that deepens experience.
Yes, I know this sounds like unmitigated utopian nonsense, and that there’s no use sharing treasure with swine, and all that. But how much less propitious, say, the world the early Christians entered? Yet by exemplary bravery and the supreme validity of the martyr the pagans were conquered. So, is our youth truly hopeless, truly the victim of leftwing agitators? Or are our own interior chambers not up to it?
Let us then do as we ought and let the political establishment bully the bored and barren air with both jaws at once.
Mark Mantel is a lawyer in Richmond Virginia
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Sir, the problem with the exemplary bravery and the supreme validity of the martyr in conquering the ‘pagans’ is that a sister faith of Christianity, originating in the Middle East, also believes in exactly the same thing, with much of the results that are clear to the eye these days.
Religion is a useful arbiter of values, but it were an enlightened few generations which led to the cultural renaissance in England and Northern Europe during the 1700s and the 1800s. The current state of ‘decline’ of society is blamed equally by the Christians as well as Muslims on secularising influences; they then proceed to issue similar remedies. Europe and much of the West is fine with the religiosity as already exists – it is spiritual and a respite for people. In the Middle East, it does far more than what religion is supposed to do.
Even the breakdown in ideas of beauty and class has to do with a lack of examples out there today. Pop culture as it is, is loud and grabs attention. But it was all part and parcel of a movement, a cultural movement, which sought to equate classes and remove differences. Values such as persistence, perseverance and resilience to attain difficult objectives are no longer considered of value. It can change. It needs individual examples.
I am Indian, and I long for the day when master artisans would come by in the hundreds, attempting to continue the traditions which led to the creation of the amazing temple structures of much of India and Indo-China. These skills take years to master, and attainment of mastery is a reward in and of itself.
Because beauty is no longer promoted in the West, ugliness has filled the vacuum. People cover themselves in tattoos and piercings, they say the F word every 5 seconds, they deliberately choose to wear ugly clothes even thought they can afford to buy nice-looking ones, etc. Any attempt to do things in a non-ugly way is often greeted with verbal abuse, cynicism and ridicule. People today want to be viewed as “real”, “honest” and “genuine” and they’ve been led to believe that the best way to achieve this is by behaving in ugly ways.