What makes Western Civilization so great? Why prefer to live there over some middle-eastern theocracy? When the people who called down this eventuality talk about how much they love The West, what drives their passion?
The only good answer I’ve heard is liberal values. A respect for the individual, a sense of live-and-let-live. Oh, make no mistake, I’ve heard no end of stupid, terrible answers. I’m sure I’ll hear more idiocy in my lifetime, so I’ll leave that be. The good answer is that liberalism is just right. That according moral status to any level of organisation other than individual people just doesn’t make sense.
Democracy, I’m also pretty keen on, but only because of its stellar track record of preserving liberalism. Sure, it’s had its stumbles and falls over the centuries, but it makes all other systems look like they’re not even trying, which to be fair they often aren’t.
So here we are. A lot of people badly want to defend Western Civilization, the best civilization, the place where people want to live more than any other, by tearing down the free press, placing even more controls on freedom of movement, imposing restrictive trade laws, and generally abandoning the project of liberalism. And then they try to justify this as a necessary sacrifice, a cost of protecting the best civilization.
The only path to this outcome is people caring about liberalism less than the things they will sacrifice it to protect. I mentioned terrible answers above. “White people are smarter.” “Christianity is the best/one true religion.” “Capitalism is inherently righteous.” “Feudalism was the perfect governance and any leftover greatness is a reflection of that.”
“Everything was perfect, long ago and far away. The world has degenerated. The great golden age of man is failing but can be reclaimed by undoing the present and loving the past.”
When I first started writing this blog, I wanted to try and be. Well, not politically neutral, exactly, that’s impossible, but. Even-handed. Reasonable. I guess that was hopeless. I can’t see any merit in the point of view above. Any. I can at least comprehend the merit of certain positions reactionaries hold, like a love of masculine virtue or honest effort, even if I don’t agree. But the notion that these virtues are lost in the present, or that going back would help recover them, is just. Wrong. Oblivious. Stupid.
And it seems obvious to me now, that the regression-fetish is what comes first. That nostalgia is the starting-point for it all.
My opinion remains, then, what it always was.
I despise nostalgia.
Edit: And I’m not particularly interested in hearing how he’ll actually just be a conservative but otherwise unremarkable president constrained by the system and not really causing all that much harm. If you really believed that, you’d be the one making miserable posts on your blog.