This 1962 Novel Predicted Western Collapse and Islam’s Takeover

The Wanting Seed should be required reading for every college "freshperson." It's only fair warning.

By John Zmirak Published on May 25, 2017

Following the news, I get more and more outraged. Not at God. Nor at Islam. Not even at my fellow man. The person I really resent is whatever satirical novelist is scripting our daily events from Hell. Or Purgatory, at best. No writer in Heaven would be cruel enough to inflict all this on us. Or would he? Perhaps to teach us a lesson. …

Love Among the Ruins

Is it you, Evelyn Waugh? You predicted our transgender madness, the euthanasia craze, and the toxic, infantilizing effects of the welfare state in Love Among the Ruins. Now are you pulling strings to make it all come true? Is this payback for that lousy movie adaptation of Brideshead Revisited? Enough, already.

That Hideous Strength

Or you, C.S. Lewis? Yes, you laid out to the letter what would become of our sexual culture in That Hideous Strength. You imagined a race that inhabited the Moon, who lost all interest in actual intercourse, and instead began to mate with technological images of each other. That’s how deep their disgust for God’s physical creation had become. Now married couples are shunning each other, while porn websites flourish. So yes, okay, you were right. But lay off already!

The same glum, childless hedonists who warn that the slightest upsurge in Christian practice could lead to the Inquisition fall over themselves to welcome Dark Ages-haunted theocrats.

The Camp of the Saints

I would ask Jean Raspail, who wrote The Camp of the Saints, to accept that we’ve learned our lesson. Yes, you were dead-on right that self-loathing Europe would die not with a bang but a simper. The same glum hedonists who won’t have any children and warn that the slightest upsurge in Christian practice could lead to the Inquisition: they’re falling over themselves to show how “open” and “welcoming” they can be to Dark Ages-haunted theocrats, who have families of six and seven kids at taxpayer expense. I expect no mercy from you, Raspail. The French are an unforgiving race.

The Wanting Seed

But really I’m angriest at Anthony Burgess (most famous for A Clockwork Orange — far from his best book). If there is a single culprit, one writer who sketched out what would happen to us today, it’s you, Anthony. In The Wanting Seed you laid out a compelling theory of history: That the back and forth of ideologies and religions in the West acts like a see-saw. We always are either at or on the way to one extreme or the other. We oscillate between two theories of man.

Man Is Perfectible

One theory is that we can engineer man to be better, and make earthly life close to perfect. All we need to do is follow secular reason, impose more controls, and allow our enlightened elites to shepherd us forward to Eden. You dubbed this “Pelagianism,” after the English heretic who believed that God’s grace is optional and Jesus was just a really, really uplifting example. You linked it with socialism, Malthusianism, science-worship, and population control.

A society in its grips, you cannily predicted, will try to suppress the family, and hold up as heroes not just homosexuals, but actual eunuchs. Did you see Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner offering President Trump advice in some crystal ball you consulted?

Man Is Unfixable

The other extreme is that man’s animal instincts and inborn evil are fundamental to his being. They will always overwhelm attempts to perfect human society. War, hierarchy, cruelty, and other historic evils: baked into the cake. There is no sense in trying to wipe them out, or even limit them. Instead we should harness and use them, and try to make sure that our group holds the whip hand instead of other people’s. Unfairly, I think, you labeled this “Augustinianism.”

The other extreme theory is that war, hierarchy, cruelty, and other historic evils are baked into the cake. There is no sense in trying to wipe them out, or even limit them.

In the novel, you pictured the Malthusian/Eunuch state collapsing all right — as indeed it is, before our eyes. You imagined a resurgence of fundamentalism, militarism, bloodlust, and primitive tribal hatred. On all that you were dead right. But you pictured it happening among Westerners, even Anglicans! What your visions didn’t tell you, at least in this novel, is that its agents would be Islamic. That they would be newcomers welcomed in by the pallid, Malthusian optimists. To give you credit, some twenty years later you did see the Muslim takeover coming, and wrote about it in your novella 1985.

The Wanting Seed is the creepiest, most chillingly prescient piece of literature I’ve ever come across. Plug in “Islam” for “Augustinianism,” and the novel flat-out predicted the events that wouldn’t happen till 50 years later. About how many other books can we say the same?

Pope Benedict on Technology vs. Islam

For the last piece of the intellectual puzzle, see Pope Benedict XVI’s famous speech at Regensburg. He pointed out that the dark shadow cast by the West’s obsession with godless speculation and technology was Voluntarism: the grim belief that Will, not Reason, is the ultimate force in the universe. That is the theory of God that most of Islam clings to. It feeds the cult of violence which has always accompanied that religion, wherever it conquers. The individual terrorist channels the capricious wrath of God.

Burgess’ novel is grim, alarming, funny, and deeply pessimistic. It needs to be made into a miniseries for Netflix. At the very least, it should be required reading for every Western college student. It’s only fair to warn them what they’re in for.

And Anthony, we get the point. Please cut it out.

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  • Charles Burge

    Thanks for the reading list! I haven’t read any fiction in quite some time. Perhaps I should. 🙂

  • Autrey Windle

    The scary and blessed part of this is that the only book you mentioned that I hadn’t read is The Camp Of The Saints. Someone once came to my house and looked at my library and called me ‘a nasty little existentialist’ based on my reading material. The scary thing is, they may have been right; the blessed thing is that I lived to arrive in one piece on the other side of what I used to call my best friends. My books were everything to me. They are again, but all the books are different with one or two exceptions. I never forgot The Wanting Seed, but I remember it scaring me half to death. I preferred Vonnegut and C.S. Lewis and Lewis is the last man standing on the shelves now in my library. I have always known that the great novelists are half haunted genius and half haunted prophets. Jules Verne told me that through my sweet Mother. Burgess was always too dark for me and Vonnegut became my favorite drunk-uncle. I was weaned on Lewis in 2nd grade and still love him like a cuddly story teller uncle. Thank you for reminding me that maybe God was preparing me for my current status as a warrior for the Lord that seems to be the reason I am alive after this time last year’s catastrophic heart failure. I used to think all that reading was an education I should have never wanted but perhaps it was just an opportunity for God to turn water to wine for me.

  • Anthony

    Wow, definitely an incredible list of very prescient books. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t read any of them. Although, I would say that by and large the depiction of the cyclical nature of human events that they are drawing from (whether consciously or not; although in Lewis’ case probably consciously) is presented to us already in the pages of the Old Testament scriptures; especially vibrantly in the Book of Judges, which, in my opinion, we now find ourselves. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Trump a sort of modern-day Judge, but the Judges were clearly terribly flawed individuals (often morally repugnant, e.g. Samson) who God seemed fit to restore Israel to at least some modicum of sanity. Of course, it never lasted and before long Israel had become the pagan nation that it originally had swept away (even in not fully) from the land. Try reading Judges 19-20 this week and perhaps see for yourself the plight we very likely are neck deep in.

  • Patmos

    Tares among wheat. When the harvest time comes, the wheat will be gathered and put into the barn, and the tares will be tossed into the fire.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Gee, and I thought Pierre Boulle’s 1962 novel “Planet Of The Apes” was the playbook for much of what we have today. Gorilla Isis types, Orangutang Rinos & Chimpanzee liberals.
    Oh, the human protagonist’s perhaps representative of clear thinking conservative’s whose moral reference points reflect a higher ideal than those of the human masses reduced to blind subservience saddled w/the emotional & intellectual capacity of young children. They of course represent those delusional types so frequently found among the constituency of those who vote for democrats …..

    • Zmirak

      Ha! Do read the Burgess novel. You won’t regret it. Raspail too.

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