What is the West?
Introduction of the Setting:
The West is at risk of a final setting. This setting will be total and will engulf the entire legacy of what we in the West inherited from times stemming from the end of the Roman Empire up to the Twentieth century. What is it that we have actually inherited you ask? Everything from art, scientific methods, technologies, social sciences, religions, traditions, and generally the unique historical experience that gave birth to it all. But these are only the expressions of the ideal itself which has carried through each and every period of historical development. The unique legacy of the West and its contemporary inheritance is not the only historical experience in existence today. We see the Islamic, Sino, Indian, and various historical legacies which are being lived or recaptured and celebrated by those who have inherited them. The West on the other hand is the only ungrateful inheritor who either does not understand what has fallen into its possession or does not appreciate its true value. If one does not even know what one is or where one has been or belongs then it is easy to see how the temptations of today, material, A-History, and utopia are so powerful in Western society. By “unique” I should not be misunderstood as meaning that the West necessarily stand out from other societies, by unique I mean that where the West is today is based on its own historical development just as all other societies have been shaped by their own unique experiences.
In order to prevent the setting of the product of a unique historical development those who have inherited such a product must be able to identify its value and to do this they must learn what it is; the oracle’s maxim of “know thyself” is not an empty slogan but is the very tool used to properly grasp one’s existence. I don’t mean that every member of a given society must know every last fact of its history or tradition but at the very least members should be able to identify their membership of such a society and recognize and accept the reality of the society’s existence and unique development.
Asking the Right Question:
The West, what is meant by “the West”? It is a question which has an answer for every ideology, social status, and ethnicity. We hear politicians and political commentators all the time use the phrase when discussing issues of international relations for example. When analysing the domestic turmoil of a middle-Eastern or African country it is inevitable that there will be a mention of “Western involvement”
in the conflict or there will be consideration of how this affects “Western interests”. When debating the acceptable form of domestic government or international arrangement notions of “Western values” are raised, attacked, and defended. But when asked to concretely define the West we see the problems start.
To begin with, who are these “Westerners”? The Westerners are usually identified as the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Europe or the European Union in general. But what does the label of “Western” actually mean? Is being Western simply determined by geographical location? Is Western simply reflecting the point on a compass? Is the fact that the United States and Western Europe are somehow placed in a Western orientation to some unofficial dividing line marking the limit between East and West enough to place an identifier on states and governments which fall on either side as being either Eastern or Western? This debate is most divisive when considering the Eastern limits of where Europe is; are the Eastern European countries Western or even European? Which ones? How far East? Or perhaps Western is a kind of historical development based on unique patterns and events present in countries not limited just to their geographical location but to their domestic and international socio-political interactions. For example Europe experienced different political events than other regions of the world. The Western pattern of historical eras does not reflect the historical experiences of other regions. One’s dark age is another’s golden age. One’s antiquity is another’s pre- history. The most useful and meaningful way of understanding the essence of a region may be through the lens of geopolitics. By recognizing that both geographical and political development goes into shaping a state and a state’s relations with others it becomes clear why certain states behave the way they do and how by attempting to force a change in behavior without understanding the essence of the state will only lead to disaster and misery.
To grasp the existence of “the West” we must first acknowledge that historical experience creates cultural and political patterns which in turn form historical patterns. The Natio-Radix or essence of the West therefore can first be described as the Western historical development.
What I desperately wish to avoid is presenting the idea of the West along with other societies as nothing more than some set of cultural practices in the form of foods, clothing, artistic tastes, or political systems. The “Idea” of what the West is cannot be grasped by only looking at its material expression any more than other civilizations and cultures can be truly appreciated only through a superficial glance of how things look. What is needed is a deeper exploration into what makes up the essence of the West; the material expression can only be explained once we understand the events and, just as important, the ideals that went into forming the material expression. We can fool ourselves into believing we have reawakened a tradition by wearing costumes and playing old music. We can even practice religions that had been long forgotten and hope that simply by jumping into that religion it will automatically shape the social and political forces of a state as it once did. Unless we can recapture the actual world views that gave rise to those practices then we will remain dethatched from their true essence. They will remain cultural practices rather than become living culture. A cultural practice displaced from its essence becomes both meaningless and a point of friction in society.
Who are the Inheritors of the West?
The political landscape in Western states can be summarized as a battle between the ideologies created in since the beginning of the era of the Enlightenment. These ideologies are identified as being liberalism, communism, and fascism. The 20th century can be identified as the battlefield between the ideologies for supremacy of political power in the modern era (1). What do these ideologies have in common and what are they actually seeking to control must be understood in order to finally understand the direction Western development is taking. And when using the terms liberal, communist, and fascist (2) I do not mean a specific expression of any one of them only the general ideologies they have and potentially share with the others. To understand what the modern ideologies have in common we must understand what it is each is after. We have first of all to acknowledge that the battle being waged today between the camps of the liberals, communists, and fascists is one of material matters specifically who controls the material power of the current modern system. Each ideology has as its goal the taking of political power in order to manage the available material to fulfil its own vision. While their goals may be different they all, consciously or not, share the same belief that the material world is the meaning of existence and that by managing this material they can fulfil the purpose of man as a material creature.
While these camps wage war with each other one must step back and consider the ideal that is being completely ignored by all sides. The matter of the culture or essence of the people is lost to arguments of material concerns. Issues that have given rise to unique traditions and norms, (history, culture, religion), are only considered from the view point of the final product; what went into forming a certain political tradition or set of values becomes lost. All three political camps find it easy to form their ideologies in A-Historical circumstances which allow for the manipulation of past historical development in order to suit and support political arguments.
The Essence of Society
The element which is either ignored or denied in modernity is the unique Natio-Radix or essence of a society and how it produces unique cultural expressions. The essence of a culture or identity expression can be understood as what drives one towards that particular direction. The essence of something is formed by what went into developing the thing and how that thing related to itself and what is outside it during its development. The essence and its drive towards the final product or outcome is what is needed to be recognized as existing before we can begin to consider questions of matter. For example, if we are to take a group of people in general and attempt to apply certain political policies on them we may very well face a situation where the policy is entirely rejected by some or all or may be accepted by all. To explain why this happens it is necessary to consider how those people perceived the proposed policies. How one perceives policies will be dictated by a number of factors such as personal experience, values, and good old human nature. One’s personal experiences will give us a quick and easy way to weigh a situation we face by providing immediate examples of possible outcomes. The values we hold will provide us with a set of examples which go deeper than personal experience and lead to more powerful reactions. And human nature itself will, knowingly or unknowingly to the individual, lead to people making judgments and decisions on matters before them. Factors of human nature which appeal to individual desire such as rewards as well as factors of crowd psychology will have a tremendous impact on how one receives information and acts upon it. When considering just some of the elements which go into forming the final product, in this case political activity, we can see how taking matter as we see it on the surface, a crowd of people, we miss the essence which we need to appeal to in order to cause the material to drive towards where it expected to go. And above all the factors of consideration mentioned there is the overarching influence of the unique culture the other factors interact in.
Considering the essence of some material at hand one not only has to consider factors directly related to it but other meta factors such as historical experience and the thing’s place in time. To acknowledge a place in time one must also acknowledge that steps were taken before hand to reach this time and that there will be a future position based on the steps one decides to take in the present. The essence of something cannot be understood in an A-Historical setting. All things develop from something.
Interpretations and Systems of History
By history I do not mean the whiggist notion of progressive development. The notion of historical development leading to an end state or final order based on progress is not the view one can use to understand the essence of what forms a civilization. The West for example does not have a single straight historical development based on continual progress or building towards a better state. The history of the
West, like the history of all cultures and civilization, is one of historical cycles.
The historical development of the West has witnessed growth which lead to unimaginable power and prosperity which seemed to be the height of development only to be followed with a period of decline and final collapse giving rise to a new order. Not only is historical development based on cycles of prosperity and decline but also of paradigm shifts in world views and value systems. The West for example had a distinct shift of values with the spread of Christianity which wiped out the entire world of Antiquity and all it had created in the ways of politics, religion, and culture. The founding myths of Antiquity which we today read as entertaining and enjoyable stories were once the core of the entire value system of Antique society. Another example can be seen in the Middle-East with the introduction and spread of Islam. Islam completely replaced the indigenous cultures in these regions by asserting a new world view which made former views incompatible with a new order. The shift in both examples came from the domination of monotheistic based religious views rather than polytheist views. By introducing a new view completely incompatible with the former views held and having the power to enforce, or lacking the power to resist, the new world view paradigm shifts become possible.
This historical development of cycles and shifting values was and still is found in every corner of the globe and is not limited to the social, political, or religious aspects of societies. Technology and its role in society too have been dramatically impacted by historical developments. Technologies and systems have been lost and rediscovered in later times. The world of Antiquity with its developed civil society which was able to provide public works and civil engineering was lost for a time along with its techniques and concentration of civil affairs. In Islam after the devastation of barbarian invasions a golden age was fractured and gave rise to radically different interpretations of that world view and its cultural and political expressions on a larger scale.
Shifts in Western history also came in the form of political revolutions based on a shift in accepted thoughts. The age of the enlightenment marked a shift from the concentration of the collective to the gradual focus on the individual. An obsession with forming the individual and allowing the individual to take precedence over the wellbeing of a society is a distinct historical development which has consequences for every aspect of society. This development of “liberalism”, a focus on individual liberties, has led to the outcome which is the West today. While this may be looked upon as a wonderful set of developments since we can now do as we please as long as we don’t “hurt” others, (what constitutes hurting another is something which changes based on ideology, for example the raising of controversial ideas and views), we must keep historical context in mind. The development of liberalism correlated to the rise of European power in the world. As European empires grew and created opportunity and wealth for their own subjects this came with a tremendous cost to those who were exploited in order to feed the empires. If we do not keep history in mind it is easy to take for granted our personal liberties which came at the cost of and are still riding on the fumes of past power which was gained at the expense of others.
While these examples may be tired out Eurocentric views and explanations of events they are none the less proof that the essence of states, cultures, races, religions, and societies have unique characters based on distinct historical developments.
The Development of the West
What makes the West’s historical development stand out from others is that it has reached a point of ideological universality which it believes transcends humanity itself. This sense of universality was first expressed in the form of global empires in which imperial powers took it upon themselves wage “civilizing missions” which would eventually lead to the spread of their own culture and later on their own ideology in the form of liberal internationalism. The process of spreading ideology and culture which the West engaged in took on the form of a religious zealotry. The consequences of this global mission came in the forms of domestic political and social upheavals, brutal and bloody competition and war between the competing empires, and finally anti-colonial resistance and decolonization in the rest of the world. The same zeal to spread its ideology which the West claims to have used their empires for continues to this day in the form of the liberal world order. While no longer called empires the former colonial governments form policies which aim at creating a world order which would likely have them at the helm.
The universalist turn in Western history is the end product of modernity and its development.
This history cannot and should not be denied. It is simply the development the West experienced after entering the age of enlightenment where notions of religion were replaced by ideology and where that notion of ideology became the new religion, (and as has been true for all time religions tend to want to spread). Following the enlightened era modernity allowed the Western powers to expand their horizons with the help of science and technology; it was argued that with rationality as its creed the Western world could deliver the rest of the primitives on Earth from their state or barbarity and finally achieve a government of humanity.
Interpreting the History of the West
The direction the West has taken since the end of the Second World War remains open to interpretation. Depending on one’s ideology one can come to radically different conclusions as to what drove policies of Western powers in relation to world affairs and in the face of decolonization. For example there is the liberal narrative which more or less believes that decolonization was the product of the spread of liberal ideals and the European powers coming to the realization after fighting Fascism and National Socialism that it was no longer morally justifiable to hold overseas empires (3). In order to believe this narrative one would have to ignore the fact that decolonization and the end of the European empires did not come instantly at the end of the war and further more decolonization did not come peacefully in most cases.
The argument that liberalism had spread to the colonies and that the peoples who were colonized had developed a national conscience is only half true. After the First World War there were already nationalist movements in the European empires demanding freedom or at least more rights, the only difference between this period and the period after the Second World War is the power relation of the Europeans and the status they held. The aftermath of each of the two world wars produced two different power structures which allowed in the earlier period the maintaining of colonies while the later period made empire almost impossible and unacceptably costly. The moral and physical exhaustion of the European powers after the Second World War alongside the introduction of a new ideological conflict and new world powers seems to be a better explanation than the simple belief that the West had a liberal epiphany.
This brings us to the second view of the historical development of the West in the last century. The more critical explanation of how the West, Western-Europe in particular, developed after the Second World War is that it was forced to make decisions from a position of weakness. I say weakness not in the sense of economic weakness but in political power and influence. The Western-Europeans went from being the global imperial powers with indisputable power over their subjected peoples to being former colonialists having to compete for influence with two new empires, the United States and the Soviet Union (4). This interpretation is nowhere near as nice sounding as the story of the spread of liberal ideals but it is one which takes a more honest look at the powers at play.
What I mean to get at about the historical development of the West in the last half century is that it is heavily influenced by ideological interpretation. If one takes a step back and considers who is explaining the history and what their motive or ideology is then we can see how the whole of the history of the West can in the end be interpreted in radically different ways. This is the danger the West has brought onto itself as we have entered the current period of post-modernism and historical therapy sessions. The therapeutic sessions of the West which seem to intend to wipe clean Western historical developments up to this point have begun by using the dominant ideology to write and become the undisputed authority of history. The post-modern era is trying to write its own post-modern view of history.
Consequences of post-modernism
We in the West have reached a point where not only the essence of what has made us the West is no longer felt but is also denied as ever having existed in the first place. After coming out of the 20th century in which the Western powers began, either rightly or wrongly, at the height of global power and ended as nothing more than market extensions of the United States the Western countries have effectively lost contact with their historical essence. What the West is suffering from is a kind of collective post- traumatic-stress-disorder; the West cannot comprehend or cope with what happened in the 20th century with the pinnacle and fall from power and how it went about treating all those who got in its way as it fell from grace. What should be clear is that the current state the West is in is a ticking bomb for the rest of the world. While other regions are asserting themselves and reclaiming tradition and values based on historical experience the West seeks to erase its own painful experience of the past century by attempting to create an A-historical order and expecting the world to follow suit. This A-historical order is made possible through an excess of material comfort and the prevention of all social and political controversy. This may explain why the silent agreement of political correctness amongst the ruling elite in the West has been implemented so aggressively, the sooner we break from the past and forget about it the sooner we can move on to a new order free of historical baggage seems to be the view taken. Once we recognize that the current order is nothing more than a therapeutic session to cope with the West’s (rightful) loss of global empire the sooner we can begin again the historical process which is the dialectic of human society.
The alternative to the West not rediscovering its own sense of confidence can only lead to social upheavals in the Western world with the eventual consequence of foreign conflict in order to deflect the political focus elsewhere.
Not only is the world at risk of becoming an easy scapegoat for domestic political pressure but it is also at risk of clashing with the order being forged by Western powers based on the ideology of post-modernism where the only concern for states is international law which promotes global markets. Either way the West develops there is the risk of conflict; either domestic pressure will lead to diversionary wars or the new universalism will lead to a new crusade.
The Current State of the West
The century long social experiment that was the 20th century has ended with the West on the verge of collapse. If not for the centuries of growth and development that came before the 20th century the collapse would have come much sooner and would be more absolute. As the 21th century has already given rise to powerful and confident non-Western states who seemingly have made the decision to assert the culture and order they can it is high time the states that make up the Western world follow suit.
With the collapse of the European empires during the cold war there came the opportunity for other powers to attempt to pick up the economic interests left behind by the imperial administrations. The United States, Soviet Union, and European powers all made a dash to reclaim the economic networks formed over the last centuries. With the end of the cold war we again have entered into another era where economic networks and political vacuums have been left behind allowing for those powers that are strong enough to move in. What is different about the post-cold war era is that everything is seemingly up for grabs including formerly undisputed interests and assets. As the domestic political situation in the West falls deeper into self doubt the West is slowly forfeiting any claims or assertions it once made or could make in the future. What will be the ultimate reality check for the West will be when the assets which allow for the comfortable, materialistic, A-political, and A-historical dry up. When this happens the West will be in a position of weakness and not have the resources to build itself up into a more assertive position.
Post-modernism and A-History
A vital error made by most in the public when considering questions of history is applying contemporary views to past events. In other words it is common to take the past out of context. As I mentioned above throughout history there have occurred shifts in world views which shaped how people perceived events in their own times and before them. We too live inside an accepted world view which most use to shed light on the now and the past. When we forget that we are viewing events from a fixed point of view with its own point in history then we quickly lose context and meaning of things and this can only lead to misunderstanding the events being viewed and how we have developed as a society. When I say that we misunderstand ourselves I mean that we forget that we too live in our own historical context which was itself shaped by what came before. The present cannot be A-historical because it is only a single point in history and the historical process. To believe that we are completely separate from what came before us is going to severely limit what we can do going forward. If we cannot accept that results only come about through processes then we will move forward expecting what is impossible because we are not taking part in the process to bring it about. Without understanding the gradual development of something we fool ourselves into believing that what happens in history happened instantly and with no mind given to what came before.
Highlighting historical context is sometimes looked upon as justifying past atrocities or policies of oppression. It may be said that just because the event happened in a given time period does not make it right or wrong. But this way of viewing historical events is too simplistic because it ignores the actual process of historical development. We have to accept that all events come about through dialectical processes and developments. By dialectical development I mean that forces act and react to events and other forces and this creates new forms of the forces and new forces. Any given historical event has for itself a justification of existence based on previous developments. By the word justification I do not mean the popular definition basing it on liberal morality but in a Platonic sense (5) based on the interrelationship between the elements which went into making the event. If we simply apply contemporary ideological morality to all questions of history and view all past events through the lens of social justice or progressivism then we lose the connections we have with ancestors and eventually all understanding of historical development and will in fact prevent our society from developing and continuing to exist.
Another historical misunderstanding that arises from applying ideology to history is that we end up with a historical narrative which serves the purpose of justifying the dominant historical ideology.
If we consider the history of the 20th century we are tempted to explore how the events which happened could have been avoided if only a viable global liberal order, similar to the one today, existed then. We completely ignore the century which preceded the last and how its events led to the order which existed at the beginning of the 20th century. We further fail to grasp what order existed at the start of the previous century and how that order shaped the understanding at the time. At the beginning of the 20th century Europe dominated the globe. Even the United States was more or less forced to accept that the European powers had priority over it and dominance in global affairs. Now if we follow the years along we can see how powerful empires took steps which would ultimately lead to each overstepping the claims of the other leading all to stumble. We can fool ourselves in thinking that if only those empires did not exist and that if there was some sort of global order of states which mediated international disputes then both the wars could have been avoided. One who holds such thoughts should ask himself what would happen if he made the same statement to people living before or during those past events. It is easy to imagine that those in power in the former British empire would have been dumbfounded as to why they should give up their empire; to what purpose it might be asked. It may have been argued that if the European powers did not rule the world through empires then who would maintain stability and order? We have to remember that at the time Europe was truly the power center of the world. Later questions of decolonization, international bodies, and rights based political orders only became realistic to discuss once world power was shifted away from the empires of Europe.
No blame should be placed on past powers from doing what they wanted or could actually do. The quote from Thucydides that “the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept” (6) is as true now as when it was first written. While the faint of heart may not accept that such a world view is even possible and while moralist may make every possible argument available to show why such a view is unjust it does not deny the fact that such is the way of politics. The orders of the past were formed because power shifted from one place to another and all those who were present then had to shift with the winds. As is true today, states are forced to comply with the rules set out by those strong enough to enforce what they want. Even when it is cloaked in international law power is still at play, those who can enforce their laws and those who can build orders.
The most important thing to keep in mind when considering historical events and those who were making decisions at the time is that they did not know what we know now, they did not know the outcome before it happened. It is the easiest thing in the world to say what should or should not be done if we know what the outcome is. But by not knowing the outcome but still maintaining the understanding that the decisions made will create one is where we in contemporary times fall short of those who came before us. We have become so entirely enthralled in the moment that we absolutely refuse to consider that our decisions will have consequences for ourselves and the generations to come. It is not enough for someone to play the mind game “where will you be in so-many years”, we should be asking what will things mean in so-many years or where are we actually going in time? And to follow the question of where we are going we have to further consider where the destination needs to be in order to preserve what has been deemed the acceptable current order. With this second point in mind it should become clear that whatever order we find ourselves in is only possible if certain forces make it so. When these forces shift so does the order. As those who found themselves in the beginning of the 20th century at the very height of power most today forget that the same phenomenon which caused those powers to fall will happen again. As history marches forward orders rise and fall. And this should be the reason that we do not make the biggest and most unforgivable mistake any society can make which is attempting to leave history.
A Place in Time
The more we attempt to escape history the more we will suffer at the hands of historical forces. Bringing the discussion back to the question of grasping the concept of a Western world we can see how important the development of historical events has been in forming our understanding of what the West actually is. The West today can be identified as the product of its unique historical development; no matter what we may call just or unjust, relevant or irrelevant everything that has happened goes into shaping the character and experience of the West. By denying our place in history we ultimately deny the role our predecessors played in forming us and furthermore we fail those who came before in not becoming ourselves historical actors who are part of the same historical development and patterns. While it may be therapeutic for some to attempt to deny that we are the product of a unique historical development stretching back to Antiquity up to the modern day, and while some may want to stand on their pedestals of liberal morality and proclaim that they have the definitive answers as to where we are going I for one cannot help but feel that we have seen this play before. The essence of the West remains the same while its expression is subject to the forces of history. By denying both its essence and its expressions we become doubly lost and when the sun of history sets on the West we will wish that we still had some of those guiding rays to give us even a small amount of light. But perhaps this is simply another historical era where the essence of the West is expressing itself based on the historical forces in the case of non-Western states standing up for themselves and displaying their confidence in their own views and essence.
What must be made clear is that there are no definite boundaries of where the West begins and ends. It is argued that the West is only Western Europe and North America. It has been argued that North America is distinct from Europe and is instead a part of Atlantic culture along with Britain. There are questions over how far the Eastern borders of the West naturally expand to. These questions ignore one important matter when considering similarities of regions and that is historical pattern based on experience. Historical patterns are events that are experienced and shared across regions that have some connections to each other which make events relevant to a number of societies. For example the Western experiences of the Napoleonic Wars are not similarly viewed across the whole of Europe but are shared as an important set of events which shaped how those societies developed. The first and second World Wars too are uniquely Western events which are part of its historical development.
Then and Now
Finally the historical experiences of societies must undergo the important process which is relating the contemporary to the past. How a society views its past and sees itself in the light of historical development will ultimately dictate where that society goes from there. As with past paradigm shifts the
West is at risk of making a historical break at a time when the rest of the world it embracing history and celebrating what each and every culture has achieved and experienced. The West however is attempting an artificial breaking with history by creating polities and making decisions to surgically remove its historical experiences and therefore alter its historical development.
What does this all mean for the future of Western identity? Westerners who are conscious of the existence of cultural essence and the Natio-Radix of states are called upon by history to play the role of defenders of what has been and forgers of what will be. By first recognizing that the new paradigm is one based on culture, history, and identity one takes the important initial step in bringing the West into the new order and placing it alongside those other great cultural powers with each its own proud and unique historical experiences. Once the West throws off the ideological baggage of the 20th century and finally gets over the trauma of that period and once we open our eyes and see where the rest of the world is then we too can join the others in embracing traditional ways before the era of social engineering. However we must not fool ourselves into thinking that by simply putting on the costumes of tradition that we have recaptured the essence of history, and we must also acknowledge that a final throwing off of the last century and its order will come with a price, that price being material existence and comfort. The product of the liberal world order is in the end material consumption. Just as the other two 20th century ideologies, communism and fascism, were concerned with the struggle over the immediate material world liberalism too is nothing more than managing of material existence. The future order must be one of spirit and essence which culminates in material expression it cannot be only material with the expectation of spirit forming later.
Conclusion or Beginning?
Why have I put my thoughts down in such a way, what am I trying to do? My intention is to highlight a likely outcome of a world where there liberal world order based on materialism and its consequences if the West in particular goes further in its pursuit of mental cleansing of history. There are two authors from the 20th century who laid out possible scenarios of the future development of materialism. George Orwell in his Nineteen-Eighty-Four (7) outlined a world based on the conquest of material man followed by the conquest over mind. Aldous Huxley in Brave New World (8) explored a world based solely on material pleasure and the managing of society solely for the flesh. Now both of these books are dystopian in their views of the future and they seemingly come to two different visions but the message in each book is the same in that the political ideologies of the 20th century are ultimately concerned with the conquest of material. The conquest of material can be in two forms through reward or punishment. One book is based on pain while the other on pleasure, one on grinding flesh down the other on manufacturing it. Both are the destiny of the liberal world order. We have to ask ourselves that while the world set out by Orwell may seem to be the worse of the two visions we have to admit that Huxley’s future is just as repugnant. Nietzsche’s vision of heaven as a world run like a hospital where there is bed care ever after and constant care for all deemed “sick” (9) is in line with the two 20th century authors. Is this where we want to end up? Is this the destiny of mankind, dehumanized and treated as a patient? Is the future going to be a constant undergoing of some “treatment” for the “disorders” of everyday life? Instant care and gratification with no effort required. Are we all actually just sick?
Both worlds are ones where a micromanaging bourgeois bureaucracy maintains eternal control over an artificial state. The masses are managed in their everyday affairs; when needed to fight they are soldiers, when needed to work they are employees, when not needed they are pacified.
A New Path
There is another vision of where the West goes from here. It is a vision of where the material desires of the day have been denied and let go of. By demoting the importance of material comforts the West frees itself from hostile engagements in the world caused by enterprises to capture and secure resources to feed consumer culture. If materialism was finally transcended then not only the West but the other cultural and spiritual cores of the world would have less reason to come to unnecessary conflict. I am not trying to fool anyone into thinking that a utopian era is possible, I only want to point out that questions over basic sustenance and trade for a society falls into the realm of diplomacy while materialism and consumerism are ideological missions which do not allow for diplomacy and only leads to conquest and crusades in order to spread the ideology. One of the most short-sighted aspects of global liberalism is that it insists that it is inevitable and irresistible without having to outright wage global conquest.
The liberal world order has been spread through a number of military operations which were expected to send ripples of liberalism but instead created a global atmosphere of fear, hostility, and suspicion. The societies near to where the liberal armies launched their operations became aware that their security is vital to resisting a new system being implemented on them.
The central focus of a liberal government is, culture, religion, economics, and seemingly history itself is the atomized individual. The individual is regarded as the central figure whose interests are enshrined in individual rights which come at the expense of social cohesion. This world view may be good for markets and sales but as a basis for society it prevents the fostering of organic feelings of belonging based on common bonds and shared historical experiences.
We have entered an important period in the historical development of the West. We have come to the threshold point where the future trajectory of the development of the West is in question. The way in which the West crosses this threshold will greatly impact the very essence of the West both domestically and in relation to the world. The West can either continue on with its attempted breaking from history or it can embrace its historical development and admit to being a product of its unique historical development. The former choice will lead to more of what we see around us in the West the latter will at the very least bring the West into a position alongside the rest of the world which can allow for diplomacy and dialogue between peoples. If the West fails to overcome the trauma of the 20th century and the self- doubt that it has led to then it will become trapped in a state of trauma that will only lead to further global trauma. The West must boldly face the fact that it is the product of its own unique historical development which comes with its own warts just as all other historical developments do.
To answer the title question, “What is the West”, I answer that the West is its history and historical experience. And it is infinitely irresponsible and unforgivable to allow one generation to divert so far from historical experience as to threaten the essence of a culture; those generations who do the most damage to society die off before the consequences of their actions are felt, so it is up to the next generation(s) to ensure the spirit of a civilization and its history if kept alive.
1) Dugin, A. (2012). The Fourth Political Theory. London: Arktos Media LTD. Pg. 15-16
2) Dugin, A. (2012). The Fourth Political Theory. London: Arktos Media LTD. Pg. 15-16
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4) Aron, R. (1985). Clausewitz, Philosopher of War. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, pg. 348
5) Plato, (2000). The Republic. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, pg. 112
6) Thucydides, (1972). History of the Peloponnesian War. London: Penguin Books, pg. 402
7) Orwell, G. (1990). Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Penguin Bookspage13image25136
8) Huxley, A. (1994). Brave New World. Hammersmith, London: Flamingo
9) Nietzsche, F. (1998). On the Genealogy of Morality. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Inc., pg. 87-90