How To Destroy Western Civilization Without Spilling Your Latte
Okay, you’re thoroughly sick of Western civilization. What you know of it, that is. Every standard you can’t live up to, every finger ever wagged at you, every twinge of inappropriate guilt — you trace it to Western Civ. Not the class in college — no one’s taking that anyway, or at least not without flipping it all on its head — but the real thing. The civilization. The one that’s sustained us, or we’ve sustained, or whatever, for hundreds and hundreds of years.
But now it’s getting in the way; you imagine that a “free” and “diverse” “global” civilization wouldn’t do such things to you. Nor would it enslave Africans, colonize Indians, or saddle sexual experimenters with fear of hellfire. Instead, it would be … mellow.
It would offer the best of every culture on the earth, with none of the ugly stuff. So hookah bars, but no honor-killings. Hindu yoga centers, but no Untouchables. Lots of porn, but no sexual harassment.
This new, post-Western world you associate with cities like Portland, Oregon, where you can’t afford to live. But you know from watching Portlandia that the place is really cool. You wish that Indianapolis or Buffalo, where you’re still stuck living, were just as cool.
There are some things about the West that you obviously value. Like modern medicine, political order, personal freedom, electronic devices, and openness to change. But you’re pretty sure those things would stick around, even after all the bad parts of Western Civ got taken away. You know, just the way all those foreign cultures will shed their negative aspects but keep all the fun, exotic stuff, once they have settled into Portland. Found a nice apartment, made some friends. Maybe joined an organic co-op.
Keep Western Civilization Secret
The worldview traced above isn’t a satire or a caricature. It is a documentary photograph of the thoughts of millions of Westerners. It’s virtually a brain scan. (Except that brain scans don’t register thoughts, but the person above vaguely thinks that they do. Or will, in a few years, anyway. “Trust science, man!”)
The only reason Western Civilization survived the fall of Rome was Christianity.
How would someone who thinks this way hollow out Western Civilization of all that offends him — without ruining his personal comfort? He could start by letting it die the death of invisibility. Just hide from the next generation what Western civilization even means.
Yes, it’s a heritage of ideas, values, and beliefs. They’re expressed through noble and worthwhile literature, visual arts, drama and music. Those ideas and this art constitute the basis for Western civilization. Without their substance and reality Western civilization cannot exist. But hey, kids don’t know that if you don’t tell them! So let’s just keep it secret. Let it freeze and starve in the dark.
This death by invisibility is now a fact, pretty much everywhere. Western Civilization is hidden from today’s students. The brilliant educator Rob Koons tried to get a course on Great Books established (reinstated, actually) at the University of Texas, Austin. After long effort he was forced to give up. The story at UT has been repeated at colleges and universities across the Western world. Sure some still teach art and architecture, but they teach them as empty shells, drained of the philosophy and theology that gave birth to them and give them meaning.
If you’re over 55 — or you watch old movies — you remember dire warnings of “the end of civilization as we know it.” Used to be that was about the Soviets dropping the Bomb on us, or Goldwater beating them to it. Scary stuff. Turned out it was easier than that: Just put an end to the knowledge of civilization. Expect the same effect in a generation or so, only less obvious, more comfortable, for now at least; no mushroom cloud required.
Teach People That It’s Evil
You could go a step beyond keeping Western Civilization secret. You could teach people just enough about it to prove that it’s uniquely evil. This process is well underway at colleges and universities that scorn “dead white men,” preferring “critical theory” instead. That’s the kind of theory that refuses to see good in any Western ideas, but only racism and sexism among the authors.
Get Rid of Jesus
The only reason Western Civilization survived the fall of Rome was Christianity. All that Classical philosophy and literature would have vanished forever if monks hadn’t thought it important enough to recopy the books by hand. And to do it over and over and over again as the paper decayed. Even the books that got preserved in Islamic countries mostly were recopied by Christian minorities there.
Take away the Christians, and the pagan tribes that overran the West would have used those old scrolls in the privy. Likewise, for most of Western history, thoughts of ethics and the common good have come to the masses through their churches.
Remake Christianity as a social club for nice people where lesbian clergy in Kente vestments lead folk songs and wave rainbow flags. That lasts one generation, tops, then you can take those nice, empty Gothic buildings and turn them into condos.
So if you want to shake the Etch-A-Sketch and start from scratch, you need to root out Christianity. At least, in its historic form, as a creed that teaches a long series of solid affirmations about historical facts and doctrinal truths. Try to make it instead a social club for nice people where lesbian clergy in Kente vestments lead folk songs and wave rainbow flags. That lasts one generation, tops, then you can take those nice, empty Gothic buildings and turn them into condos.
One great way to make this happen? Publicly humiliate and treat as thought criminals anyone who clings to the old Christian truths. Prevent them from working in public life. (See Mike Pompeo.) Boycott or ban their companies. (See Chick-Fil-A.) Just throw them in jail for being bigots. (See all those Christian florists and wedding planners.) Nobody wants to deal with that kind of trouble. Right?
Dig Up Some Other Basis for Morality
Savvy people will see that you can’t do without morality altogether. That might lead to racism. Or one of the other few things that people still admit fall under the category of “evil.” (Others include cruelty to animals, and “intolerance” of virtually any sexual behavior whatsoever.) So you need to offer them some kind of substitute. You know, like “Vegan Chicken” or gluten-free bread.
That’s where that (admittedly, 100% Western) thing called the “Enlightenment” comes in handy. Pretend (as the leaders of the Enlightenment such as Voltaire and Diderot actually did) that Europe lived in miserable “darkness” from 476 until, say, 1650. Then Descartes said, “Let there be light,” and lo, there was light.
None of this is remotely true, of course, but it’s handy that this is how history’s mostly taught already. Philosophy departments at Ivy League schools still skip from Plotinus to Descartes, leaving the murk in the middle for the muddle-heads in “Religious Studies.” Thankfully, some Christian schools (or at any rate, Jesuit ones) have begun to slavishly follow suit.
Pretend that pre-Christian values were higher and better. Skip lightly over all the slavery, genocide, misogyny, and the total neglect of the poor. (Christians opened the first schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, et cetera.) Such facts will just confuse kids. Teach them that Europe was one big fun, sexy Spring Break until those prune-faced apostles showed up to spoil the fun. You’ll be amazed how willing 18-year-olds are willing to believe it.
Free People from the Family
Marx and Engels were post-Western enough to know that the traditional family was as big an obstacle as religion or private property to tearing down the civilization they hated. And replacing it with a brand new one, made from a brand new human nature. Luckily for you, the attack on the family and community is already well under way.
So get people to shack up instead of marrying. To divorce instead of sticking it out through rough patches. Blow up the load-bearing walls of marriage that mark it off from any other sexual connection. Let men marry each other, or women do the same. Then figure out ways to accommodate “throuples” and other polyamorous arrangements. Treat them as legal and moral equivalents of marriage. Punish anyone who doesn’t agree. With jail time, if possible!
Pretty soon there’s nothing left of the Western Civilization that was bothering you.
Don’t Have Any Kids
The “end of civilization as we know it”? It’s already happened.
Of course, it’s a big question whether you’ll still have all the side-effects of social order and moral behavior that make life anything other than nasty, brutish, and short. There is the real possibility that Portland can’t last more than a lifetime. Not without turning into something more like Baghdad or Sarajevo. That’s what those stuck-up, sourpuss conservatives are always warning us. They talk about “eating the seed corn” and “burning up social capital,” and you can’t prove that they’re wrong.
It might well happen that once you get rid of all the structural elements of Western Civilization, the amenities will crap out too. Maybe those foreign cultures that showed up will also turn out to have carried over some of their bad stuff. Maybe mobs of Muslim men will harass the cool young women you’d like to hang with. (They don’t dress “modestly.”) Maybe the next generation that grows up with vague, ungrounded moral codes will turn out a lot of criminals, extremists, or just plain bums.
The “end of civilization as we know it”? It’s already happened. But you can deal with the long-term side-effects. Let the universe die with you — and the civilization you’ve succeeded in killing off. Just don’t have any kids. Don’t leave behind any hostages to the world that you’ve created. You can boast about your decision, and shame those with large families. Just talk about “carbon footprints” and “biodiversity.” Then you can kick back and chill. Grab a pile of that seed corn, and pop it in the microwave. Here’s some organic asiago cheese we picked up at Whole Foods.