I wasn’t consistently interested in politics until a year or so ago when things started to get a lot more interesting and to give hints of something other than the stale status quo, possibly even of hints of hope. Politics had seemed a hopeless mess, but now what we’re witnessing on a national and international level (for many places) isn’t just about politics; it’s about culture. Sounds like the oft quoted “politics is downstream from culture” really does apply. It is culture, history, people and their stories and times that are fascinating. The reason I care so much now about current events and politics is because it’s about the survival of a culture and people and of what’s left of Western Civilization — or perhaps about its death, hopefully followed by the reemergence of something to replace it.
We are cursed to live in interesting times and to perhaps witness the end of an era and the beginning of a new one, a turning point. These are times that would be griping to read about from a more distant perspective, but difficult to live through. Life, if you’re paying attention, is more interesting than any novel. And more scary.
There have been lots of PC hand wringing, calls of “solidarity!” and “not all Muslims!” hashtags in response to the recent Manchester terror attack. There have also been quite a few not-PC, and thus more true, responses. One by John Paul Meenan focuses right in on the cultural problem.
Yes, we must respond, and this is a ‘war’ of sorts, the first principle of which, as Sun Tzu says, is ‘know thy enemy.’ One aspect of that, in turn, is seeing ourselves as our enemies might see us… There is a method to the madness of ISIS, and they choose their targets with aforethought. To such ‘men’ who have their women dress, if dress is the right word, in what amount to full-body shrouds, one can see how someone like Grande and her troops of teenage imitators would make them froth and foam at the mouth.
Ah, yes, the clash of cultures, which our politicians and their followers, which includes most people, just do not get. At the heart of any society is its religion, whether that religion be supernatural or not, what God or gods they worship, what founds their laws and customs, where they put their time and energy, how they raise their children and govern their families, towns, societies. Islam has a very different idea of how all of this is to be done than what was once the Christian land of ‘Britain,’ but the hollowness of an increasingly agnostic and apathetic British culture, along with the rest of the West, is weak and prone against the onslaught of a resurgent Islam.
When these tragedies strike at the heart of our own culture…, I wonder why? Not in the sense of why Islam spreads its religion and gains converts by violence, for that has been the case since its founding by Mohammed, but, rather, that Islam has already, in a deep and real sense, won the war, without the necessity of such violence…
Furthermore, sheer demographic numbers, by births and immigration, ensure that Britain, along with many other European countries, will be more or less Islamic enclaves within a generation or two, and under such a regime, there will not be many, if any, concerts like Ariana Grande’s. I suppose the a priori violence signifies some level of impatience, so that they might hurry things along, or frustration, or just to prove who’s really in charge. As ISIS has already implied by their social media response, there is more of this to come.
No one knows how many potential terrorists there are in Britain, which has over 3 million Muslims, with more or less untrammeled immigration still continuing. Most of these are law-abiding citizens, one may presume, but some, even if it be a small number, are not only prone to such mayhem but actively planning further bloodshed, and it does not take many to bring a numerically more dominant culture to its knees.
Yes, we must resist, and do what we can by police and military intervention, but how do you stop people who are willing to kill and die in the process, seeing this is a glorious ‘worship offered to God’? How many police officers, gates, cameras, barriers, security? Do we hole up in reinforced walled communities, fearful to go out the door? To face such an enemy requires primarily a resistance that is cultural, which ultimately means religious, something we have by and large lost.
As we reflect and pray, Brits and all the rest of us have a lot of soul searching to do, to ask who we are, what it really means to be ‘British,’ or ‘Canadian’ or ‘American.’ For if we know not who we are, how can we know who is the enemy?
And this is why so many people are searching for identity, why there are so many resurgences of populism, civic nationalism, the alt-right, people focusing on racial identity. Everyone is searching to find their “tribe” and to ensure its survival. On some level, people realize that this is about the survival of a way of life, maybe even the survival of their own lives. Some non-religious people are waking up to the fact that actually Christianity wasn’t such a bad thing and did make the good of Western Civilization possible. When the barbarians are at the gate, maybe it’s time to get religion. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to have to get a lot worse before most Westerners wake up.