The greatest civilization, if lost will never come again 1

Ours is the civilization that built the modern world. 

We built it, and, if we do not maintain it, and defend it, then, as Donald Trump says, it will never come again.

So Mark Steyn writes.

President Trump’s speech in Warsaw was a remarkable statement from a western leader in the 21st century – which is why the enforcers of our public discourse have gone bananas over it and denounced it as “blood and soil” “nativism” (The New Republic), “racial and religious paranoia” (The Atlantic), and “tinpot dictator sh*t” (some comedian having a meltdown on Twitter). … This was the offending passage:

There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.

We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.

We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.

We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves.

And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.

I’m not certain we do put “faith and family” ahead of “government and bureaucracy”, …

And we atheists, of course, do not think that “faith” is a positive good …

… not in Germany or even Ireland, but we did once upon a time. Nor am I sure we still “write symphonies”, or at any rate good ones. But Trump’s right: “The world has never known anything like our community of nations” – and great symphonies are a part of that. I’m not sure what’s “nativist” or “racial” about such a statement of the obvious, but I note it’s confirmed by the traffic, which is all one way: There are plenty of Somalis who’ve moved to Minnesota, but you can count on one hand Minnesotans who’ve moved to Somalia.

As an old-school imperialist

For which we praise Mr. Steyn  …

…  I make exceptions for sundry places from Barbados to Singapore, which I regard as part of the community of the greater west, and for India, which is somewhat more ambiguously so, but let’s face it, 90 per cent of everything in the country that works derives from England.

But otherwise Trump’s statement that “the world has never known anything like our community of nations” ought to be unexceptional. It’s certainly more robust than Theresa May’s and David Cameron’s vague appeals to “our values” or “our way of life”, which can never quite be spelled out – shopping, telly, pop songs, a bit of Shakespeare if you have to mention a dead bloke, whatever… For his part, The Atlantic‘s Peter Beinart preferred the way Trump’s predecessor expressed it:

To grasp how different that rhetoric was from Trump’s, look at how the last Republican President, George W. Bush, spoke when he visited Poland. In his first presidential visit, in 2001, Bush never referred to “the West”.  He did tell Poles that “We share a civilization”.  But in the next sentence he insisted that “Its values are universal”. 

I wish that were true. It would be easier if it were. But it’s not. These values are not “universal”: They arise from a relatively narrow political and cultural tradition, and insofar as they took root elsewhere across the globe it was as part of (stand well back, Peter Beinart!) the west’s – gulp – “civilizing mission”.

Alas, left to fend for themselves, those supposedly universal values have minimal purchase on millions upon millions of people around the planet – including those who live in the heart of the west.

Yes. Millions of the children of the capitalist West, endowed with liberty, prosperity, tolerance, security, opportunity, good health, education, entertainment, luxury, hate the civilization that nurtures them, rebel against it, and call for its destruction. In Europe and America they are gathering in their tens and even hundreds of thousands to riot. They are smashing, burning, maiming, killing.  

They call the countries that allow them to do this in the name of freedom and tolerance, “fascist” and “oppressive”.

Equipped with their iPhones, which only Western freedom, capitalism and prosperity could have given them, they try to pull the house they live in down upon their heads.

And behind them, safe in their castles, mysteriously untouched by the law, are deeply evil people who pay the thugs who lead them:

Mark Steyn continues:

Bush’s bromide is easier to swallow because it’s a delusion – as we should surely know by now, after a decade and a half of encouraging Pushtun warlords to adopt Take Your Child Bride To Work Day. In contrast to Bush’s happy talk, Trump concluded his laundry list of western achievement on a sobering note:

What we have, what we inherited from our — and you know this better than anybody, and you see it today with this incredible group of people — what we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again. So we cannot fail.

That, I think, is also true. Were a catastrophe to befall our world – an EMP strike or a widespread nuclear exchange, a sudden devastating virus or a zombie apocalypse – we could not rebuild the modern world in anything like the time-frame in which we originally constructed it. The technological reason is obvious: The industrial revolution was powered by comparatively easily extractable coal and oil. We extracted it and used it to develop the skills to get at the less easily extractable stuff. A global calamity would put us back to Square One, but with resources we could only reach at Square Twelve. That goes for more basic human resources, too: We have lost a lot of the skills of our ancestors, because we assumed they were no longer required. And in a less quantifiable way it applies to artistic achievement, too. So, in a fairly routine stop on a foreign tour, Trump has introduced a rather profound warning:

What we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again.

It will never come again. Is there a “racial and religious paranoia” to this? Even the Globalist Kingpin himself, Klaus Schwab, founder of Davos, sees it as basic demographic arithmetic:

“Look how many countries in Africa, for example, depend on the income from oil exports,” Schwab said in an interview ahead of the WEF’s 46th annual meeting, in the Swiss resort of Davos. “Now imagine one billion inhabitants, imagine they all move north.”

As I commented at the time:

A billion man march, eh? The population of the developed world – North America, the European Union, Japan, Oz, NZ – is about a billion. Of the remaining six billion people around the planet, is it really so absurd to think that one-sixth of them would “move north” if they could? Or if they chanced to see a YouTube video of “refugees” in Sweden and Germany demonstrating how easy it is?

The population of Africa is projected to grow from one to four billion in the course of this century – to about two-fifths of the planet’s people. Is it remotely likely that 40 per cent of humanity will choose to stay in the most dysfunctional continent on earth when it can’t support a population a quarter that size?

And if a billion people move to the west what chance those “universal values”? Even the crappy Cameronian ones like lousy pop concerts, which in Sweden are already being canceled and boycotted because of the, um, lively interaction between vibrantly diverse non-universal values. As Trump continued:

We have to remember that our defense is not just a commitment of money, it is a commitment of will. Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have.

Indeed. In Sweden, the most “enlightened” and “progressive” social democracy on earth, under a self-proclaimed “feminist government”, cannot muster the will to defend the right of its women to enjoy an evening of music in the park unmolested. It’s a small pleasure, but illustrative, as Trump grasped, of an existential question:

The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it? …

Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield — it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls. Today, the ties that unite our civilization are no less vital, and demand no less defense, than that bare shred of land on which the hope of Poland once totally rested. Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory. …

I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph

As I said, a remarkable speech. …

I am nowhere near as confident of that answer. But he raised the question at a time when no other western leader will. It is a measure of our decay and decadence that the question is necessary, but in an age of cultural relativism a statement of the obvious is daring and courageous: Ours is the civilization that built the modern world – as even the west’s cultural relativists implicitly accept, if only because they have no desire to emigrate and try to make a living as a cultural relativist in Yemen or Niger. We built it, and, if we do not maintain it, and defend it, then, as Donald Trump says, it will never come again.

It will never come again.

  • liz

    Its very encouraging to finally hear this declared to the world, but is it possible to maintain and defend a civilization that’s already become so compromised?
    Have too many of our own people become such mindless slaves of the Left – who have singlehandedly ruined everything good in the world – that it is now impossible to rid ourselves of the Leftist cancer?
    Our own tolerance has been our undoing. The now infamous
    McCarthy tried to defend us from Communism by rooting it’s operatives out and exposing them, and what was the result? His name became synonymous with “intolerance”, and the communists just dug in deeper.
    The same thing is being played out now with Islam, the Left’s tool. Say one word against Islam and you’re immediately labeled intolerant and “Islamophobic”. But as Popper said – “If we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”