Islam Isn’t The Problem, The Post-Modern West Is
In a stopover in Poland on his way to the G20 summit, President Trump made a speech. It was quite good, especially by the president’s often uneven standards. One section in particular stood out: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”
Certainly there is no question that the West is in any immediate danger either economically or militarily. As much as a resurgent Russia and rising China and Islamic terrorism are creating an increasingly volatile world stage no one seriously believes we are in imminent danger of seeing Russian troops dipping their feet in the English channel any time soon, or witnessing a column of Chinese tanks drive up Pennsylvania Avenue. However much we might fret over the division of the spoils, there is no question that the West as an entity is wealthier than ever before.However, often it is when you are at your most powerful and most confident that you are least able to those threats coming up upon you, especially the ones that arise from within. The great one facing the West today is not that it will be somehow unable to defeat those who seek to destroy it but rather that it will simply be unable to summon the willpower to do so.
Simply put, we in the West have become weak. It’s not just our half-hearted efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq (in retrospect it’s become clear those were foolhardy adventures we should have steered clear of altogether). Rather it’s an inherent lack of confidence in ourselves as a civilisation. We no longer truly have a sense of who we are, and many of us no longer have the spirit to preserve ourselves or even the belief that the West is worthy of preservation.
Look no further than the reaction amongst much of the progressive left to President Trump’s Warsaw speech if you wish for evidence; the pundits were practically falling over themselves to denounce it as one giant dog whistle to racists, and white supremacists, and other assorted deplorables. Merely invoking the idea of the West and arguing for the desirability of its continuity is somehow to advocate for white supremacy, while preaching the superiority of Western values is akin to advocating imperialism it would seem. Add on the fact that President Trump dared to observe that strong families are the bedrock of strong societies and noted the centrality of Poland’s Catholic faith to its resistance through history against the many forces that sought to extinguish it and much of the media reached full meltdown mode.
Never mind that President Trump’s words, with their reflection on how civilisation is simply the embodiment of the traditions and culture and history of those which came before us, could just as easily come from the mouth of Edmund Burke as Steve Bannon. A nation is more than a few arbitrary lines drawn upon a map, as progressive cosmopolitans like to smugly observe, but instead a far deeper and older essence and sense of being. Poland’s borders could be erased by Russia’s Tsars, and Hitler’s Reich, and finally the Soviet Union of Stalin, but Poland the nation lived on in the hearts and prayers of its people and that greater essence proved to be something that no degree of oppression and terror could extinguish.
Given this is it any wonder that the Western world seems powerless before the growing menace of radical Islam? Truthfully, Islam itself is not even really the problem. Men follow a strong horse, as Osama Bin Laden once observed; it was only luck that his horse happened to be standing there when the Western one began to weaken. Had good fortune not seen international Marxism implode upon itself but a decade or so before it might have just as easily been a Communist one that came to menace us, or any other ideology that still had a sense of confidence in itself. Nature abhors a void, after all, and eventually something will always come to fill it.
Witness the canned, tired old response we see repeated time and time again whenever the latest ISIS inspired jihadi drives their car into a crowd or blows up a group of tweens at a pop concert. Whether it’s Theresa May or the late Francois Hollande or the Lord Mayor of London the refrain is always the same: love will overcome hate, and this latest atrocity will not change us, and we will not allow anything to destroy our values. What precisely these values are never seems to really be that clearly elaborated on beyond a few vague cliches of tolerance, and diversity, and the occasional nod to feminism or secularism or some other favoured cause of the left.
Values can only be described in such broadly shallow, almost meaningless terms these days because those are the only ones really available from the approved handbook. It really should be no wonder then that even those who are not inflicted with the self-loathing of modern day progressives still feel little urge to rise to the defence of Western civilisation when it is described in such terms. What is it really they are being asked to defend? The ability to go buy some cheap stuff, likely made in a sweat shop in China or Bangladesh, that will likely need to be replaced in short order when it breaks down? The chance to go on holiday? The right to go get blackout drunk and then vomit in the toilet stall of some sleazy club? Shockingly, it seems there are very few people willing to throw themselves on a grenade to preserve the right of others to indulge in empty hedonistic gratification.
The solution is not ethnic cleansing, or forced deportations, or voluntarily repatriation of ethnic minorities, or any of the other strawmen put forth by fearmongers on the left. Instead it is for the people of the West to simply begin recovering their self-confidence in themselves and their civilisation. To remember that we are the entity that produced Mahler and Beethoven, Newton and Galileo, Adam Smith and Thomas Aquinas, and countless other explorers and scientists and merchant adventurers and priests and Kings that built this incredible thing that we have all benefitted from living in. We must stop cowering and cringing and instead stand up for both ourselves and the great civilisation our ancestors built that has now been entrusted to us. There is no other way.