Friday, July 07, 2006

40. Denial of reality

This story makes it clear how far the organs of Western culture will go to deny an obvious threat to the very existence of that culture:
“In investigators’ offices, an intricate graph plotting the links between the 17 men and teens charged with being members of a homegrown terrorist cell covers at least one wall. And still, says a source, it is difficult to find a common denominator.” But illustrating the story was a photo of two women in full Islamic dress, their faces entirely covered except for a slit for their eyes.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair joined in the denial, noting proudly that during the press conference following the arrests, “I would remind you that there was not one single reference made by law enforcement to Muslim or Muslim community.”

No reference at all to the fact known by everyone that it is Muslims - and Muslims alone - who are willing, eager and at least somewhat able to kill innocents in the name of destroying Western Culture. For the Unabombers and Timothy McVeighs of the world are not attacking the culture per se, on behalf of a competing - but even more decrepit - culture. They are simple nihilists, as have existed on the fringes of all cultures, even at their heights. No culture has ever thrived, though, when it appeases and simultaneously denies the existence of threats from competing cultures. The lack of self-confidence and simple unmanliness shown by this reaction is definitely a sign of the death of Western culture.
The post from Samizdata containing this:
For myself I'm only surprised the cops did not take careful note of the brand of footware, and take his footprints for the national footprint database, which they have recently acquired the power to do - I kid you not. Or perhaps they did...

inspired my favorite comment of the day:
If we all started wearing Bozo-size shoes when wearing offensive T-shirts we could get the clown in all kinds of trouble.
39. Too many laws

This preposterous story from the Washington Times relates the failure of the bureaucracy responsible for administering the Social Security system to, you know, ADMINISTER the Social Security system:
Privacy concerns prevent the Social Security Administration from notifying an employer that a hired foreign national is not authorized to work in this country, including someone who may be a potential national security risk, says a government audit.

Since 2003, the SSA has issued Social Security numbers, dubbed "non-working," to foreign nationals who need them to collect state or federal benefits, such as public assistance.
But, gee, guess what? Some are using these non-numbers to work and report income to the SSA. To the tune of $4 billion dollars a year. And no doubt expecting to qualify for SS benefits in due time. All illegally.

Can anyone still maintain that our culture knows what it is doing? As in late Rome and Hellenic Greece, laws are ignored and confidence in the right is absent.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

39. The decline of Suspenders, rise of the proletarian belt

Not to be confused with the Bible belt, where I'm sure some men still wear suspenders. At least some people still revere the suspender:
In theory, suspenders should be functionally superior to belts and therefore belts would be expected to be the rarity. Suspenders, provided they don't become detached, can be adjusted just so in order to keep trousers at a desired position. The crease is maintained and there is no piling up of the legs atop one's shoes as can happen wearing a belt that can work its way down an inch or two during the day. This is why men's formal clothes are worn with suspenders and not belts.

I made a related point:
Every stall in men's bathrooms has a survival from the suspender era - the hook on the back of the door. When men wore suits, with suspenders, the hooks were absolutely necessary. Suspenders make it impossible to take your pants down without taking your jacket off. And the hook gave you somewhere to hang your jacket - and your hat. Today's suits have belts, so the hooks are no longer necessary. But they're still there. Perhaps the suspender revival will happen before the hooks are discontinued or rust away from disuse.
and Spengler would agree, I'm sure. Can one even imagine him wearing a belt?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

38. "Humankind" instead of "Man"
Need a man say more? What reason is given for this replacement? What argument is allowed or listened to? A Man's a Man for a' that.
37. oikophobia

Hatred of the culture within which one has been brought up is an unmistakable feature of decline. And I do not mean to imply that such hatred does not exist in cultures on the rise or at their zeniths. But in such times self-hatred and the lack of self-confidence it signifies is not tolerated or even glorified the way it is today. This feeling is certainly relevant to 31. on immigration and 27 about the reluctance to punish treason. An obvious marker of the predominance of such feeling is the failure to exhibit such symbols as the national flag. How many homes in Britain or America fly the flag? Or display any symbol, such as the Cross or a picture of the Queen or the President - formerly de rigueur, at least in governmental offices - that would express cultural self-confidence? Nowadays the foreign and the destructive are the only "cool" symbols allowed in most homes. Even taxpayer-funded bureaucracies shy away from any display that might express solidarity with Western culture.
36. He/she and Ms

Of course these are related to 2. and 3., as part of the attack on men and the family. The rewriting of history to portray women as the stupid powerless dupes and victims of men by insisting on the need to remake the language is one of the most arrogant and irrational aspects of the attempt to restructure the culture. The irrationality is not hidden, it is proudly on display, as in the use of a "." after the new abbreviation "Ms." even when there is no ellipsis to be memorialized. Perhaps the most annoying aspect of "Ms." - and I cannot believe it is unintentional - is that the pronunciation approximates that of the sound made by uneducated Southerners when pronouncing the traditional "Mrs.". And this from a group which despises the regional and redneck dialect! No further proof could be needed of the corruption of thought. One is brought close to tears by this pathetic attempt to insist that a change in the language can cause a change in power relationships. And this from the generation that always insisted that those in power would never give up that power without physical violence! The horsemen truly ride.
35. Loud cars

Surely there could be no more certain sign of imminent collapse of a civilization than idiots crusing around in flashy cars booming out loud music that they know 95 per cent of the public hates. This is done simply to annoy and proclaim the idiots' immunity from punishment or even verbal chastisement. Not that I don't try. Add in that this occurs in the early morning on a holiday like July 4th and the signal is clear. I noticed a similar phenomenon in Paris last April, but on a much smaller scale. That is, the cars are all smaller, and there were fewer of them, probably because most of them were burned in the recent rioting. Can anyone still believe that Western culture is on the upswing?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Not doom, just change
I hasten to make clear that my new pessimism about the chances for survival of classic Western culture have nothing to do with the moronic doomsaying characterized by Frank Furedi in spiked as:
fantasies of romantic primitivism

I do not see any prospect that the race of Man will disappear from the Earth, even through lack of breeding (both kinds!). We will struggle on and in some distant future a new culture will arise that will delude its adherents that theirs too will last forever, increasing without end in power, complexity and spirit, until Truth holds sway at last. I'm just saying it's entirely possible that will never happen and it might not be the best thing for Man if it did.
34. Depopulation

An older A/Spengler column that I don't remember reading before goes over the descent into infertility that characterizes declining cultures:
In fact, the main reason societies fail is that they choose not to live. That is a horrifying thought to absorb, and the average reader would much rather delve into the details of obscure ecosystems of the past than reflect upon why half of Eastern Europe will die out by mid-century.

There's some good commentary in there, too, about Jared Diamond's hodgepodge mishmash "Collapse". Why is it people can't see what's right in front of their faces? This one relates to the preservation of species, too (29).
33. Primitive authenticity

I stole this one from another Spengler:
Primitive peoples, it appears, were nasty, brutish, and short, not at all the cuddly children of nature depicted by popular culture and post-colonial
academic studies.

Rousseau is the archetypical villain here. And the acceptance and promotion of his "noble savage" idiocy was among the first indications that it was all over with Western culture. Spengler's on about Nicholas Wade's book "Before the Dawn" here. There's another one I have to read. I really don't have time to work.

32. International law, in general. (Higher level than 21. Related to 27. Hey, maybe I should make this a sort of organizational chart of stupid ideas, ranked by internal relatedness and level of stupidity. Hm. Thinking hyperlinks here.)
Can't believe I missed this one

31. Control of national borders. This one is obvious:
In recent times it has been fashionable to talk of the levelling of nations, of the disappearance of different races in the melting-pot of contemporary civilization. I do not agree with this opinion, but its discussion remains another question. Here it is merely fitting to say that the disappearance of nations would have impoverished us no less than if all men had become alike, with one personality and one face. Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colours and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention.
But if Western countries can't prevent people who have zero commitment to their culture from infiltrating the lands where that culture thrived, they have given up on defending that culture. This is exactly what happened to Rome. Again, to be clear, I should say these signs are not exhortations to action. They are merely notes of the movement towards the ultimate destruction of a rationalist, active view of the world. This includes the death of individualism, the end of the true competition of ideas and the disappearance of any possibility of victory over the sempiternal enemies of Man - Nature and mysticism. Heck, even my sentences are getting as complicated as Spengler's. But that should make the German translation easier!

Update: VDARE, as usual, has a trenchant post on the failure to even pretend to defend American culture from the alien tide. Gee, it's almost as though everyone knows Western culture is on the way down and is determined to make their way to its center to bleed it dry before it's gone. I started to think, though, if poor foreigners are desperate to come to America, why are relatively prosperous Americans such as myself eager to leave and live in the wider world? And the only answer that came to mind was "in order to get away from the negative effects of the immigrant tide". Or, more generally, to find the living situation that enables me to live the best life I can while I watch the culture deteriorate. Me and St. Augustine. But he couldn't hop on a jet plane and leave Hippo any time he wanted.
More signs

27. (From a comment on Rush) The decline - heck, the absence - of a desire and commitment to punish treason, not just to a particular nation but to a culture. Again, the failure to defend a culture equals and is caused by apathy toward its loss.

28. Global warming, ozone layer, etc. hysteria. Acceptance of such myths on feeble grounds and without even considering whether they would really make things worse even if they were true. Related to guilt-worship. Note the self-flagellation:
MEPs voted in favour of the “immediate introduction” of a tax on jet fuel for flights within the 25 member states of the EU. The charge would double the cost of millions of budget airline flights.

29. Preservation of species, even the ugly ones. Failure to even ask for or wonder whether there is a reason for such nonsense.

30. Tolerance - in general - and especially for dissenting viewpoints that transcend reason and self-preservation.
More signs

21. The UN. World peace through empowering bloody dictators with a vote on policies meant to assure collective peace.

22. Socialism - sort of goes without saying, but I had to get it down. And of course guilt-trippers have been around forever. What changed was the response by the dominant culture to this dishonest piece of corrupt pathology.

23. Worship of youth and childhood. This leads to the final obscenity - fifty-year-old women in capri pants.

24. Cell phones. Newly predominant. But a true straw in the wind. No one wants to explore the world alone any more.

25. The waltz. Positively demonic.

26. Sweet foods. The decline of pickles is obvious and horrific. (OK, this one's kind of a joke). The rise of hot peppers, though, is a sign that the tastelessness of life is becoming more and more clear to the meanest intelligence. Any stimulant, even if it involves physical pain, is wildly popular.
Untergang des Alles

I am in the process of reading The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler. It is as mind-boggling as advertised. So I thought I'd start making a list of signs that Western culture is becoming a "civilization", that is , declining, becoming a "thing-become" rather than a "becoming":

1. The Cold War (set the seal on the culture's unwillingness to defend itself)

2. The attack on men (who also do not defend themselves)

3. The attack on the family (parallel to 2)

4. Toleration, amounting to idolatry, of homosexuality (related to 2 and 3)

5. Jazz

6. Prohibition of alcohol and drugs, going back to the beginnings of temperance. I know such movements have been around forever, but they became mainstream in the middle of the 1800s.

7. Dieting

8. Allowing women to vote.

9. Allowing anyone to vote.

10. Worship of exercise.

11. Worship of pets.

12. Unearned guilt.

13. Novels, especially detective stories.

14. Democratization of dress.

15. Credit.

16. Non-representational art.

17. Obsession with cleanliness.

18. Obsession with a long life.

19. Obsession with being "happy".

20. Psychoanalysis.

As Dylan said, "he not busy being born is busy dying." Perhaps I can be the chronicler of our death as a culture. More to come, if and when I get around to it.