IT’S becoming hard to believe there was a time when the biggest concern of someone living in the West was what car they wanted to drive and which foreign location they would choose for a holiday. By the late 1990s a complacency if not a decadence had set in that left us uniquely vulnerable to those who would seek to do us harm. Faux liberalism and the betrayal of democracy by the elites provided the ideal conditions for our enemies to mount an attack. That attack came on the morning of September 11, 2001.
As the planes destroyed the Twin Towers, they pierced the collective daydream and hubris of Western society and culture. The end of history, the end of war, disease and poverty through the munificence of the West, all suddenly were uncertain again. After September 11, it was impossible to go back to sleep. The brutality of the ‘real world’, which had always been there, waiting, had returned to assert itself.
The economic good times had provided the Leftists luxury to rewrite the history of Western democracies and engage in an orgy of woke self-criticism that denied the West’s real achievements, even its very legitimacy. University departments competed in the quest to identify where our societies and culture had failed or, worse still, committed crimes. We had become so good at introspection that when an attack did come from an external source – not to mention one that lacked the wealth and global power of our own – our first instinct was to blame ourselves. How could it not be our fault? We’re so rich and powerful and these people are so poor and disenfranchised. This must be a case of the little guy striking back. The natural order of things was simply redressing the balance in favour of justice. After all, surely our success had been built on the subjugation of such people. The conquered subjects of our fallen empires were simply returning to claim their share of the treasure.
That is at least one reason why President Bush’s decision to bomb, then invade, Afghanistan was so deeply controversial, and his aim to nation-build there even more so. But instead of facing up to the real challenges and threats to the West, our intellectuals and commentators found it much easier simply to denounce the Bush/Blair Middle East enterprise, and to demand an end to America’s role as world policeman, while still buying in domestically to their ‘war on terrorism’. Which apparently has nothing to do with Islam. Rather than fearlessly upholding and protecting the genuine values and principles that had benefited not only our societies, but the world as a whole, we’ve witnessed a further retreat into self-flagellation and scorn for our ancestors; any progress undermined by dredging up newly interpreted crimes of the past.
With both religion and patriotism consigned to the antiquated dustbin of history – to believe in such things was seen to be naïve, duped, a manipulated pawn – it became impossible to believe that someone would willingly give their life for things they believed. That couldn’t be the nature of the beast we were facing. Conversely, however, if it was all our fault, we could still claim to have some control and avoid further casualties by simply surrendering before we even got hurt. Faith was our enemy’s strength. Lack of faith was our weakness.
Only a select few would actually listen to what our enemies had to say and give them the courtesy of taking them seriously. Too few to make a difference. The rot had already begun to spread. If we were wrong to think our history had ever been great, and that every truth we held dear was built on a foundation of venality and lies, the only way to make room for the idealised future we desired would be to tear down the past. Such has been the inversion of thinking.
And so we have been doing our enemies’ fighting for them. We have been destroying ourselves from within, taking a sledgehammer to the pillars of history – a sense of fear, entitlement and lack of gratitude the driving force behind each blow. If nothing we stood for was good, there was nothing to protect or fight for.
The future is now our choice. We can reclaim pride in our past and protect our achievements, which most fundamentally are the social and economic benefits that the West’s 2,000-year fight for freedom have conferred. Or we can continue our self-destruction until there is nothing left and we are slaves once more.