1998: What struck me
In 1998 it struck me that our civilization was dying. Moreover, it was dying by its own hand. Our institutions seemed to be bent on doing everything they could to destroy white society and culture, nor was any deception beneath them in their attempts to put a gloss on what they were doing. This degree of racial masochism would not reverse itself, I thought, nor would it be stopped by anything else. We were going to destroy our civilization come what may.
At the time, few people seemed to see anything amiss. When in conversation people asked me what I thought of this or that development, I would say something vague, such as that we were living in interesting times. I barely even mentioned political correctness for fear of eliciting a groan. Even my girlfriend, who understood what bothered me, didn’t see it as a problem.
2022: A Christian Speaks
Almost 25 years later, Gavin Ashenden, a former Chaplain to the late Queen, stated:
I’m not sure how long our culture and our civilization is going to survive in a recognizably present form. I think people will talk about the second Elizabethan age as bringing down the curtain on everything that we knew up to this point. Between now and 2030 the militant Left is going to try to cripple Christianity — what’s left of it — and has, by 2022, almost done it. . . . Christian teachers taken to jail simply because they refuse to accept the subjectivity of people they’re in a professional relationship with? Christian chaplains reported as terrorist threats because they do nothing more than offer a sensible and intelligent assessment of the different allegiances that our plurifom society brings? That’s now. I reckon in the next eight years it’s going to get a lot worse.
2023: The Penny Drops for More People
Then, six months later, the penny suddenly seemed to drop in many other people’s minds. On May 5, 2023, Konstantin Kissin asked Andrew Klavan whether he thought the West was dying. Within 24 hours, Jared Taylor, referring to the United States, said, “This country is dying.” The same day, I heard someone say that our civilization was collapsing. On May 7, Emma Webb talked about the light of Western civilization going out. Four days later, Melanie Phillips referred to “this great fight for Western civilization that the West is now engaged in.” But in seeing a fight going on, she was being uncharacteristically optimistic. Referring to the cultural revolution, or the long march through the institutions, she had previously said more than once that the West had put up no opposition. On May 18, Calvin Robinson said that if anything was going to be conserved, only Christians could conserve it — but, he added, “I actually think it’s probably too late.” His interviewer agreed, saying that he, too, had “come to the opinion that Western civilization is dead.”
2020: A Verbal Wank
What I found especially revealing, however, was an interview that could have signaled a turning point in some people’s understanding of what was going on that had come out three years earlier.
In July 2020, UnHerd published a video entitled “Philosopher John Gray: this moment is bigger than 1989” where Gray was interviewed by another intellectual, Freddie Sayers. Although they seemed to sense that Western civilization was dead or dying, they didn’t treat it as anything to worry about, as they would presumably have treated something such as seeing that their houses were about to fall down or had already started doing so. They seemed to view our civilization’s impending or ongoing collapse with wise detachment. Yet, you couldn’t really say that they viewed it with wise detachment, since they never got round to saying what they were viewing. They were like great seers who for some reason couldn’t say what they had seen.
The video’s description didn’t say what this moment was that was bigger than 1989. It suggested that “this moment of great change” may be akin to 1989, 1968, 1917, or 1848, but didn’t say what it meant by “this moment of great change.” It further stated that John Gray thought that the revelation of a “world of competing civilizational zones” wrought by “changes across the world and the retreat of the universalist ideal” could be more significant for humankind than any of those previous moments, but did not say what Gray thought these changes were, what he thought the competing zones were, or what he meant by the retreat of the universalist ideal.
The description then went on to say that in the video, Gray touched on parallels between today’s woke movement and medieval millenarianism, and said that he suggested that the world was becoming “more Game of Thrones.” He had apparently put on a “fascinating tour de force, steeped in knowledge and with a sweeping context.” It sounded more as though he had indulged in a verbal wank.
Freddie Sayers asked him in the interview whether he felt that this moment we were in was one of those “big-change” moments, a moment of revolution, or whether he thought we might carry on afterwards as we always had done. He didn’t say what moment we were in, mentioning nothing so specific as our headlong rush to abase ourselves in an attempt to appease Black Lives Matter or our frantic urge to dispose of freedom in the name of protecting ourselves from a virus.
Gray likened the situation in the West today to the collapse of Communism, implying that he saw the West as collapsing — but he, too, mentioned nothing specific. He spent eight minutes waffling on about Europe and globalism before saying that powerful movements were rejecting some of the most valuable elements of liberalism, such as tolerance and free inquiry, but he didn’t say what these powerful movements were. Then he turned to China and Russia. 13 minutes passed before either of them mentioned the lockdowns of the time. Neither of them mentioned Black Lives Matter.
Talking about the Cold War, Gray said that it hadn’t yet sunk in that the liberal West was a civilization and not the germ of universal civilization. Again, his use of the past tense suggested that he thought the West was over, but why did he presuppose this rather than asserting it? Had he ever asserted it, or was it more that now that he saw it, he preferred to act as if he had always known it?
We were learning, he said, that our civilization was only one of many, but he didn’t name the others; still less did he descend to the level of facts, which might have illustrated his thesis, if he had one. He merely stated that he hoped our civilization would survive, contradicting his implication that it was on its way out.
This is how intellectuals avoid unpleasant subjects. Year after year they go on as if everything is fine when any fool can see that it isn’t, and when it finally comes through even to them that it isn’t, they speak as though any fool can see this. The video was a real-time illustration of Schopenhauer’s dictum that all truth passes through three stages, first being ridiculed, then being violently opposed, and finally being accepted as self-evident.
John Gray finally made a dumbfoundingly stupid remark when he said that mass mobility was limited by the virus. It was the virus that imposed the lockdowns, in his opinion, not the government. I say “finally,” but that wasn’t the end of the video. I just couldn’t be bothered to watch any more.
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 Premier Unbelievable, September 9, 2022, “Gavin Ashenden — Why the death of Queen Elizabeth II marks the end of Christendom.”
 The New Culture Forum, May 7, 2023, “Is The West History? Can Western Civilization Survive? Genius of Western Civilization — Episode 6.”
 JNS TV, May 11, 2023, “Melanie Phillips: The Great Fight for the West in an Age of Unreason.”
 UnHerd, July 22, 2020, “Philosopher John Gray: this moment is bigger than 1989.”
 The quote, paraphrased here, is contested, although Schopenhauer apparently did say in The World as Will and Representation that “[t]o truth only a brief celebration of victory is allowed between the two long periods during which it is condemned as paradoxical or disparaged as trivial.”
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