Today, I intend to be very plain with my readers. I tire of beating around the bush. And to be frank, that is what I have been doing for quite some time, though this was not my intention.
You see, I have fallen victim to describing in detail the symptoms, and how they might best be treated, with too little regard for the disease itself. This is a common affliction during the twilight of the West. Left and Right alike know that the West is dying; that it is deeply ill. The Right proposes to treat the symptoms, the Left prescribes euthanasia. For them, death is the only cure to any disease.
My ancestor is reputed to have said, when given the opportunity to inspect the ax that was to behead him, “this is sharp medicine; but it is a sure cure for all diseases.” Perhaps the Left has taken this too literally, or perhaps theirs is a cult that worships death. We can only speculate.
Our first instinct as men, when accused of a crime, is to plead our innocence and to offer our proofs. With an impartial jury, this may work if the proofs are good. If the accuser is malicious, however, and merely intends harm regardless of innocence, the pleas will please him. The proofs will be laughed at. He will feel powerful, presented with your own weakness.
Right now, as I type this, debates are raging across social media, and many of them are loaded with accusations of moral violation. These do not even contain the pretense of an impartial jury, as a legal violation might, but the consequences can be just as dire. Your job, your business, your possessions, your relationships, and reputation are all on the line. Are you, perhaps, a racist? Do you hate the poor? Do you stand on a cliff ready to push granny to her doom?
Plead your innocence and your accuser will laugh. Fail to plead, and your guilt is established. It is a Catch-22, a Kafkatrap. The mind recoils from resultant feelings of guilt and shame. This weapon is the most powerful one in the enemy’s arsenal. We have survived by ignoring it, hiding from it, or dismissing it, depending on one’s inclination. Facing the guilt and shame head-on is a daunting task only a few are truly capable of.
How did it come to this? Why is the weapon so effective?
Deep down, many people in the West feel guilty. We live comfortable lives, we have plentiful wealth. Few in the history of man have possessed such plenty. I cannot speak for everyone, but at least for myself, there are times I look at what I have and think that I do not deserve it. Greater minds than I have done things for civilization that I could only dream of doing, and possessed far less.
Our problems are often laughable. Listen to any conversation where people are complaining about this and that. The complaints are small-minded. Perhaps someone is having trouble with love or sex, another complains that his car has broken down, or perhaps his toilet will not work. Another complains of crushing debt from his state-of-the-art smartphone, sitting in his brand-new vehicle. The Internet is slow today, or the air-conditioning unit has broken down again.
With the exception of love and sex, perpetual problems for the race of man, these are not problems in any historical sense of the word, not even for many of the poorest among us. Such things are small, and deep down most of us know that. Problems we face are preferable to the problems of our ancestors, for whom food was difficult to obtain, work was brutal, and life short and filled with pain.
For a time, the West prided itself in having banished many of the ills of our forebears. Indeed, we even traveled to the moon! Some wished, perhaps, to spread our plenty to the rest of the world. We could export our ways, our culture, and our way of thinking to others, so that they might enjoy the same rich rewards.
That did not last long. Before long, Marxist subversion had wormed its way into media, entertainment, and education. Fabian Socialism was the method of subverting the West, for revolutionary Socialism had already failed. For a time, this was probably a deliberate instrument of the Soviets. We won the Cold War in an economic sense, and probably in a military sense as well, though nuclear weapons assured that this was never put to the final test. In a sociological sense, both sides lost, though for us the loss was worse. If the Soviet Union was the head of the Marxist animal, it was lopped off effectively. Like the Hydra, however, the body did not die, and new heads eventually sprang from the seeming-corpse.
Many theories exist for where the weapon was first forged, and by whom. Saul Alinsky is frequently cited, as is the Frankfurt school. The Gramscian Long March may also have contributed. On this matter, let smarter men than I speculate and theorize. The weapon exists, and its effectiveness cannot be denied.
Concepts of Socialism go at least as far back as Aristophanes, yet the method of civilizational guilt as a means of forcing it upon the citizenry is unique and relatively new. Further, it exists only in the West. Chinese do not worry about colonizing Africa, nor do Mohammedans moralize about the Christians and Jews they have subjugated and enslaved. Conquest is rarely regretted on a moral level by anyone but a Westerner. For most, it is a matter of some pride.
When reading the works of Western ancients, this sort of civilizational self-loathing is conspicuously absent. Guilt, where it exists, tends to be personal, or spun as a vendetta of sorts. It is difficult to imagine the Romans, for instance, worrying overmuch about the opinions of the Gauls. So even in the West, this is new.
Why do Westerners hate themselves so? There is no other explanation that fits. The West, at a meta level, feels that it does not deserve what it has, and now questions whether or not it should even continue to exist at all. Survival, most powerful of all human instincts, has been completely subverted, and now inverted.
This is the disease. Rightists will endlessly prattle on that they are not guilty for slavery, or for various wars, conquests, and other events in world history, because they were not alive, nor would countenance such actions if they were. This treats only the symptoms. The disease continues. Deep down, even many Rightists feel the guilt and the shame, and Leftists continue to exploit them. I know this, for the weapon once worked on me, and I see it continually deployed against my fellows.
Something very deep has rooted itself in the West, a civilization-killing disease of the mind, for which no amount of charity, submission, or moralizing is sufficient to extirpate. At no point may a Westerner regard his moral duty as satisfied. No amount of charity is sufficient, no flood of government programs, nor burden of taxation or public penitence will extinguish the disease. Indeed, these only worsen the symptoms.
If the disease is to be named, I can think of no other more suitable than Civilizational Self-Loathing. Pride in the West’s accomplishments was reduced to guilt for the West’s success. And now the guilt has mutated into self-hate. Ceaselessly, we are bombarded with declarations of how evil we are, how our ancestors did terrible wrongs, and how we are responsible for righting the wrongs, for paying a weregild with the death of our own evil civilization. Anything less is a moral evil, we are told. Give up America. Give up existence. Crawl into a hole and die, and give up everything you own, and even then you are still guilty and hateful.
Such bombardment has continued since I was a child. And I suspect even the strongest among us are worn down at some level by it. Once, when speaking with my friend Sarah Hoyt, she explained that Marxist morality, such that it is, has infected all of us to some degree. Even those who display few or no symptoms are often carriers of the disease.
If there is any hope, it is that like any virus, a vaccination might be possible. I am no stranger to people using guilt as an emotional weapon against me. It has occurred for most of my life in greater or lesser fashion due to many personal experiences I have little desire to discuss. As I look back, I am thankful for this at some level. I do not possess the strength of character that some do, but I was vaccinated somewhat against the disease, and that has helped.
Perhaps the next generation will be better inoculated against the disease. The distinct schadenfreude of Donald Trump’s victory of 2016 demonstrates that a wave of “don’t give a fuck,” as we might put it in vulgar terms, has swept the country.
Is it enough to treat the disease, and not merely the symptoms? I cannot say, but I can hope. One thing we can all do, however, is to stop looking back at our history in shame. For every great tragedy in history, there is wondrous discovery. For each moral failing, there is bright accomplishment. We must appreciate the good, and remember the bad so as not to repeat it, and let neither be used as a weapon against us, to make us hate ourselves, or where we came from. America has no reason to feel shame for her history. For if any have tried earnestly to be a just and moral people, though at times failing as all humans do, it is us. And those doing the criticizing have records far worse. If anyone should feel shame and guilt, it is they.
For America, shame? No. Pride, perhaps. But never shame.