Is There A Civilization War Going On?


“Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” — Arnold J. Toynbee

From the heart of Europe to North America, nativism, sometimes tinged by white nationalist extremism, is on the rise. In recent elections, parties identified, sometimes correctly, as alt-right have made serious gains in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, pushing even centrist parties in their direction. The election of Donald Trump can also be part of this movement.

Why is this occurring? There are economic causes to be sure, but perhaps the best explanation is cultural, reflecting a sense, not totally incorrect, that western civilization is on the decline, a movement as much self-inflicted as put upon.

French intellectuals first to see the trend

In 1973 a cranky French intellectual, Jean Raspail, published a speculative novel, “The Camp of the Saints,” which depicted a Europe overrun by refugees from the developing world. In 2015 another cranky Frenchman, Michael Houellenbecq, wrote a bestseller, “Submission,” which predicted much the same thing, ending with the installation of an Islamist government in France.

Both novels place the blame for the collapse of the Western liberal state not on the immigrants but on cultural, political and business leaders all too reluctant to stand up for their own civilization. This is reflected in such things as declining respect for free speech, the importance of citizenship, and even the weakening of the family, an institution now rejected as bad for the environment and even less enlightened than singlehood.

Critically, the assault on traditional liberalism has come mostly not from the reactionary bestiary, but elements of the often-cossetted left. It is not rightist fascism that threatens most but its pre-condition, the systematic undermining of liberal society from within.

Read the entire piece at The Orange County Register.

Joel Kotkin is executive editor of He is the Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism. His newest book is The Human City: Urbanism for the rest of us. He is also author of The New Class ConflictThe City: A Global History, and The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. He lives in Orange County, CA.

Photo: JÄNNICK Jérémy [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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The assault on historical statues — including Christopher Columbus, whose holiday recently has been trashed in Los Angeles — reflects a Stalinesque amputation of the past. The jihad is now extending to such pivotal figures as Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, George Washington and the admittedly loathsome Woodrow Wilson. Salon thinks the national anthem should be rethought because it’s yet another “Confederate” symbol. Vice, another voice of the hip-left, suggests we might consider dynamiting Mt. Rushmore while we are at it.--Kotkin

Man would rather will nothingness than not will.--Nietzsche

Kotkin correctly sources the social rot in the progressive/left-liberal undermining of Western history and traditions, yet concludes only that this exposes the Republic to the predations of a Trump or Le Pen. In fact, Trump, even with all of his idiosyncracies, is far less a threat to the Republic, or what's left of it, than Hillary and the Democratic media-political complex that could not wait to rush into Washington en masse on January 20 and occupy every nook and crevice of the federal edifice to continue their project of transforming this country into a technocratically-managed (by themselves) herd. It is 2017, not 1917. It is the left who for the past 50 years have set Americans against each other, rending the social fabric so that they might charge in and stitch it together according to their own precepts. Making men smaller and more governable is desired as progress.--Nietzsche (again).