The Sustained Attack by the Left on Western Civilisation
We have all seen in the past few weeks the George Floyd protests, which were immediately co-opted by Black Lives Matter and in some cases turned into riots, vandalism and looting. Or “peaceful protest”, as CNN calls it. Some might dismiss this as a passing thing (there have been riots before), spurred and exacerbated by the frustrations of police-enforced lockdowns. British cynics may point out that three people were recently stabbed to death in England by a Libyan refugee, which is always a good way of persuading useful idiots to retreat back into their bedrooms, huddle over their smartphones and hope the very police they have just been abusing will protect them.
But this latest bout of incoherent, morally corrupt, violent idiocy extends much further. The thinking goes all the way up through government, the public service, universities and schools, businesses, Hollywood and the media, who largely condone and even actively support the riots. And it encompasses much more than statues and other cultural artefacts that portray black people in ways that might now seem offensive. It is part of a concerted, sustained attack on the very pillars of Western Civilisation itself, and I am no longer sure it is strong enough to survive. The UK has long been mortally wounded in this regard, riddled with self-loathing for its colonial past and desperate for redemption. Much of Europe has been similarly enfeebled, traumatised by the Second World War. But if the US now succumbs, all is lost.
Let me be clear. People often think of Western Civilisation as an umbrella term for those cultures that stem from Europe and share a common heritage that includes Ancient Greece, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. And that’s fine as far as it goes, but it sounds like a museum guide’s speech and it doesn’t have much relevance to the present. I believe there are five fundamental aspects of Western Civilisation, which have been hard fought, and all five are under threat today:
- free speech
- the rule of law
- a shared cultural heritage
- reason and scientific method.
This is a blog not a book, and you will already be drenched in the relevant coverage. Here I want to start to draw the threads together to reveal the bigger picture, and the bigger danger. I’ll be brief and let you think about what I’m saying and follow it up yourselves.
Democracy is the foundation stone of Western Civilisation, with its roots in Ancient Athens, yet the Left appears to view it as an irritating impediment to establishing a new world order. Take the rejection of the Brexit vote in the UK, where the Left either maintained that the vote was somehow rigged or that those voting for Brexit were so racist and stupid their votes shouldn’t count. The election of Boris Johnson's Tory party left little doubt about the nation’s real sentiment, but there was little acceptance of the result from Labour supporters. Reluctant, even bitter, respect for and acceptance of the people’s decision is the mark of a true democracy.
Then there are the climate activists, who, like classic Maoists, feel their cause is too important to leave to democracy. As just one example, this is from a Guardian interview with well-known environmentalist James Lovelock:
One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is "modern democracy", he added. "Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while."
That “for a while” is truly chilling.
Extinction Rebellion thoroughly agrees: one of their foundational aims is “Government must create, and be led by the decisions of, a citizens' assembly on climate and ecological justice.” Democratically elected governments must be led by non-democratically elected citizens’ assemblies, it seems, and the UK government has meekly complied. In France, Macron has set up similar citizens’ assemblies.
In the US, the election of Donald Trump has simply been rejected by the Democrat Left. From the baseless, long-running Russian collusion campaign, to the impeachment fiasco just as the looming Covid-19 pandemic should have been addressed, to the relentless ridiculing on Twitter and in the wider media, the Left in America have simply not accepted that Donald Trump is the democratically elected president and have spent the entire four years using every possible tactic to get rid of him. That tired old leftie, Noam Chomsky, has declared, “Trump is the worst criminal in human history”. Such absurd extremism reveals the Democrat terror of losing another election. Indeed, with the election looming and Joe Biden a mumbling incompetent, who will need to be managed like some ongoing version of Weekend at Bernie’s, the Left have gone full-blown hysterical because they don’t want a democratic result.
One might expect this reaction from nations like Fiji, where traditionally the military simply seizes power when an election result or government policy is perceived to be undesirable (in other words, skewed towards ethnic Indian Fijians). Fiji saw coups in 1987 (two, led by Sitiveni Rabuka), 2000 (led by George Speight) and 2006 (under Frank Bainimarama). The US sees itself as the greatest country in the world, a paragon of democratic rule. But going through the process of voting and then rejecting an unwanted result is not democracy, and it threatens Western Civilisation.
I surely don’t need to say much about the attack on free speech, because it is so prevalent and blatant. The notion of “hate speech” has been weaponised to shoot down anything at all the Left disagrees with. Because, let’s face it, anything they think and say must be right. It is analogous to the heresy laws of sixteenth century Europe, where one could be burned at the stake for questioning religious dogma. There is no physical burning now, but people are ridiculed, deplatformed, demonetised and lose their job and social status.
Crucially, there is no mechanism for redress. Obama forged the way for career-ending accusations on university campuses with his Title IX policy relating to sexual assault, but at least there was some process, even if outside the legal system. But Twitter lynch mobs don’t allow for any process at all. The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution provides that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to be confronted with the witnesses against him," but this is a catch-22. The “sin” committed by the victim of the Twitter mob has not done anything criminally wrong, so the Sixth Amendment doesn’t apply, yet they are often ruined as comprehensively as if they had been convicted of a serious crime. It is little surprise that Donald Trump is at war with Twitter, and other Tech giants, over their anti-conservative bias and high-handed censorship of their “platforms”. In the UK, Toby Young, a journalist, last year formed the Free Speech Union to support individuals who have been victimised for “saying the wrong thing”. A society that values free speech shouldn’t need a free speech society.
The rule of law, which one would have thought would be the last pillar to go, is now under attack. Because one policeman in the US killed a black man and was filmed doing it (note that none of those filming sought to intervene), people around the world have launched protests and chanted “Fuck the police!” (a phrase used in the Rodney King riots). Mobs have vandalised public property, and the police have frequently stood back, powerless, helpless, which only inflamed the mobs. Calls to defund the police and replace them with various forms of social services forces have been heard for decades, but since these events they have been taken seriously in various US states.
The idea that rioting, arson, looting and abuse somehow makes a case for replacing the police force is surreal. As in any revolution there are those with noble motives, but as in any revolution there are those who simply seek power, and will crush anyone who questions the new world order. The French Revolution began with high ideals and ended in The Terror, with persecution and mass executions. Like democracy, the policing system has its flaws, needs constant monitoring and even reform, but to think that the US, UK or any country might function as some extended form of CHAZ or CHOP is absurd. One expects teenagers to demand such things: it’s fun. But one doesn’t expect any jurisdiction to take these demands seriously. The fact that they are being seriously discussed shows how under threat the rule of law is.
The concept of a shared cultural heritage, especially as embodied in statues, may be one of the most despised aspects of Western Civilisation, not least because it is equated with White culture. But that’s because the concept of multiculturalism has promoted the idea that culture is crucially important for ethnic minorities − for their sense of identity − but is to be despised in White, Western culture, which is seen as some form of powerful meta-culture that oppresses others and shares a collective guilt for past sins. There is no Western culture to be proud of, they cry, only a history of shame and guilt. This is why the Left wants to abolish history, as ISIS attempted to do when they demolished the ancient Lion of Al-lāt statue, in Palmyra, in 2015. As is clear from the destruction of statues that have nothing to do with slavery or racism, the Left want to establish a Year Zero, a beginning of history, and the introduction of a brave new world. They want to abolish Western culture and history.
Finally, there is the attack on reason and scientific method. This is the aspect that makes me saddest, because the Enlightenment was a monumental achievement in human history. The medical care that people received through the pandemic, the cellphones used to film and organise the protests, space flight, pop-up toasters – the whole of modern life is based on scientific research and its application to technological innovation. Yet people take this all as given, just how the world is, to be used but despised, not seen as an achievement to be marvelled at. Science is weaponised when it suits, as in "The science is settled" in relation to climate change, and otherwise ignored, new research rejected.
Reason − the idea that you should think about your actions, research the basis of your claims, and listen to other viewpoints – has been rejected wholesale in a social-media-dominated world. Ad hominem argument of the form, “Oh, well you would say that because you’re just…” used to be a sign that a person had lost the argument, become angry and wanted the petulant last word. Now identity politics has ensured it is the opening gambit. The “genetic fallacy” was once used to describe the false idea that the validity of an argument is somehow related to who proposes it. Now identity politics has enshrined the fallacy as accepted doctrine.
If the West rejects democracy, free speech, the rule of law, a shared cultural heritage and reason, then Western Civilisation has truly been lost.