The post-Cold War period saw the publication of two landmark books. The first was Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History. In Fukuyama’s own words: ‘What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.’
The second book was Samuel P Huntington’s The Clash of Civilisations. Huntington, Fukuyama’s former tutor, suggested that warfare had evolved and would in future be between entire cultures instead of just nation-states.
In the early 20th century, wars became conflicts between entire population blocs as megatribes. People demanded not just victory, but the crushing of their opponents. This mentality has now expanded to cultures. Islamists make tribal war on Western civilisation as a whole. They seek the extermination of their ideological foes. Huntington’s work has stood the test of time.
China is modernising at a fantastic rate, condensing by a factor of four or more the three centuries that Britain took to move from a primarily pastoral economy to a modern technological and financial hub. The Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China has no desire to liberalise, and has demonstrated its willingness to use tanks on anyone who suggests that it should. Fukuyama seems disproved.
Liberal democracy remains an ideal political state of being. A free market system does provide the greatest good for everyone. However, these lack a single ideological core that can be used to defend or justify themselves. The whole concept of liberal democracy is that it evolves over time, making use of diverse texts and creating others. Thus Western civilisation has found ways to adapt to change in a way that other ideologies, more rigidly-based around one or two founding texts, have not. Western political thought is subject to fashions in a way that more ideological cultures are not.
If competing, but less free, cultures are regarded as more successful or to have advantage over the West, then some of their ideas, however loathsome, might be absorbed. We are already seeing the imposition of dictatorship in our universities similar to that in China. This has echoes of the past.
The Allied victory for democracy in the First World War was traduced afterwards into a collective failure of all prior political systems and affected intellectual life in Britain and elsewhere. British university students became fully engaged disciples of Marxism, such was the loss of confidence in democracy and capitalism. Some even went further, to become traitors to this country. This tradition continues with the Labour leadership. Jeremy Corbyn is actually a patriot. Unfortunately for us, he is a Russian patriot.
Repressive societies are by their nature able to weather global economic and social storms better than their freer counterparts. They are able to impose policy without debate and to punish dissent, even when it fails. Public discontent can be crushed. Populations regarded as inconvenient by dictatorships can be exterminated.
Policies of repression can become fashionable in the West during economic crises. China’s policies, however malign they are to their population, are providing dramatic increases in employment and growth, providing validation for its methods of repression and propaganda. Russia is now more confident than at any time since the fall of communism. After the chaos of the Yeltsin years, it is more repressive and violent, reversing its 1990s retreat eastwards. The leadership elements of the Labour Party now make great use of the Kremlin-controlled news channel Russia Today to spread their message, while supporting Russian ambitions as part of some compact.
Chinese middle classes support their status quo as they fear any concessions by the state might give the peasantry more power at their expense. In the UK, the middle classes appear to have similar disdain for the working classes, blaming them for voting for Brexit. The Left have made an ideological volte-face over Brexit to harvest middle-class votes in a neat inversion of traditional class warfare. At the same time they employ a synthesis of the Leninist and Stalinist techniques of agitation and propaganda.
There has been a collapse of confidence in Western values caused by the 2008 crash. Western values are also losing the media war. Respect for Parliamentary democracy is falling with every scandal, despite the provable inherent corruption and misogyny of alternative political systems.
There should be a fightback. Western culture, typified by Anglo-Saxon civilisation, was and is the greatest benefactor of humanity. This needs to be stated more strongly and not just assumed. It should not be cheaply denounced as white supremacism, as it is currently, or discarded in the name of inclusivity. It is Western culture that raised the world to its current state of grace. It needs to be shouted from the tallest buildings, portrayed on banners, loudly celebrated. It is not a triumph of capitalism. It is a triumph of the human race as a whole.
We need to look beyond the mires of Brexit negotiations, interest rate rises, political deals, minority governments and confected guilt over colonialism. We have a history and heritage of which we can be proud, which does not require censorship and erasure. The future should be about the hand and voice of freedom, not the jihadist’s blade on the neck, the boot stamping on the face for ever, or some collective ‘punishment’ for the supposed ‘crimes’ of our 19th century ancestors in the Third World. We need more confidence and pride in our culture away from the tyranny of Left-wing sniping over transgender rights and the rest.
We are losing our freedom to an informal dictatorship of contradictory ideas that are anti-life and anti-hope. We need to break these new chains and challenge these oppressors lest we lose our freedom for ever. We need a new Fanfare for the Common Man. If this music sends shivers down your spine, you will understand.