The narrative that Russia — a country with an economy smaller than Italy — smaller than New York State’s — will take over the world is less compelling than than the alternative thesis: that the tide of chaos is rising across the planet. With the European Union weakening, the Middle East perceptibly falling apart and African and Latin America their same old selves the danger is less that some rival empire will conquer the world than that power vacuums will spread entropy all over the planet.
Much moral hardening lies ahead.
The Cathedral rises in visibility as it dies. Fernandez:
If Eastern socialism died with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the Western version may at last be crumbling before a monumental wall of kicked cans. The Gramscian termites ate through the institutions and found with their last triumphant bite that they had eaten it all. […] Its demise will leave an historic hole in Western civilization. For good or ill the Left was the West’s familiar: the wheedling family bum, what we defined ourselves through and in opposition to. Without the Left neither the 20th century, the EU or the American progressive project is even comprehensible. It was the future that never happened, the madness over which mankind walked the narrow path of nuclear destruction yet which framed the debate. Now it is passing from the scene with all the drama of an empty ramen wrapper on the sidewalk. […] The great locomotive of history is out of gas and we have to walk the remainder of the way wherever it is that the road leads. It’s demise marks the fall of a great civilizational cathedral.
(Follow the last link if you doubt the neo-orthodoxy of his usage.)
Dark thoughts from Carl Bildt:
When Trump receives the jubilant British anti-Europe campaigner Nigel Farage before seeing other foreign politicians, he is sending the worst possible signal to Europe. By design or by default, he transmits a signal of support to those dark forces in various countries trying to undo what generations of U.S. and European statesmen have worked to achieve.
How could anyone fail to appreciate their work?
We need to keep poking it with a pointy-stick, and see what happens.
This isn’t something XS has done before, but it seems necessary to do it now. Here (from October last year) is an anticipation of where this blog finds itself right now. Perhaps NRx was from the beginning part of the Cathedral funeral process.
Some serious adjustment is called for. An enemy that can suffer a defeat this stupendous clearly isn’t a radically intimidating adversary. We can already see beyond it. The conflict has moved on.
My current (uncertain) take: The regime analyzed by classical NRx has descended into a deeply morbid state. Things will get worse for it, perhaps catastrophically, more quickly than we yet imagine, in a cascade of collapse. All the trends that count against it are still strengthening, in many case exponentially. It would be an analytical error to remain fixated upon its corpse.
Demotism is, of course, undefeated (perhaps even temporarily reinforced). The Cathedral, however, appears mortally wounded. This year was — quite plausibly — its 1989.
ADDED: To be a little clearer, it isn’t really 1989, it’s 1517. The quasi-universal authority of a church died (as a result of techonomic media innovation, among other factors).
I’d missed Paglia saying this:
This idea that Trump represents such a threat to western civilisation — it’s often predicted about presidents and nothing ever happens — yet if Trump wins it will be an amazing moment of change because it would destroy the power structure of the Republican party, the power structure of the Democratic party and destroy the power of the media. It would be an incredible release of energy… at a moment of international tension and crisis.
Peter Hitchens is asked “What do you think this (2016 US Presidential Election) tells us about the state of politics in the West?”
That the jig is up. We have reached the Weimar Republic stage.
It’s always at least a bit worse than you think:
Roughly a third of American voters think that the Marxist slogan “From each according to his ability to each according to his need” appears in the Constitution.
The center-left is dying, and the post-WWII Western social order with it. The invalid in ‘better days’:
After World War II, European societies were built on principles that owed a lot to center-left ideas. There was widespread agreement after the war that the political chaos and social upheaval associated with the Great Depression had been the consequence of unregulated markets, so the idea that they should be left unregulated again was an anathema. And so, when European political economies were rebuilt, they were designed to ensure that capitalism was reined in by governments. This postwar order worked remarkably well: The three decades after 1945 remain Europe’s period of fastest growth ever. […] Politically, this order’s effects were equally important. Workers and employers became more willing to cooperate, and in place of the centrifugal dynamics of the interwar years, when tough times drove voters to the extremes, good times during the postwar years drove voters back to the center. Thanks to a new relationship between democratic governments and capitalism, Europe was able — for the first time in its history — to combine economic growth, well-functioning democracy and social stability.
When you’re putting your crack cocaine habit together, it probably feels pretty good too (for a while).
ADDED: For relevance.
A committed Clinton supporter (really) outlines the bright prospects for her administration:
… The rest is just a blur. There was so much violence in so many places across the country. […] Then the stock market crashed. Trillions of dollars were lost, mutual funds tanked, and Occupy Wall Street was instantly revived — in New York City, most spectacularly (the day after the crash, 75,000 people effectively shut down the city south of Chambers Street), but also in other cities and on college campuses across the country. […] The violence escalated from there over the following weeks. And then came martial law. …
(“The State of our Union is Strong.”)