To Die For

From Gary North’s article To Die For. A partial repost:

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In our day, the vast majority of residents of the West would be hard-pressed to articulate an idea or a cause for which they are willing to die. A minority would invoke their religion, but in Western Europe, such people are rare. In any case, they do not associate their religious views with a specific social philosophy for which they would be willing to die.

WILLING TO DIE

The future is always captured by committed people who are willing to die for a cause. There are fewer of those people as a percentage of the American population today than at any time in American history. This is true of Western nations in general. This is not a uniquely American problem.

A movement must mobilize the troops. If the movement does not mobilize the troops, it is not a movement. It is a discussion group.

Where are those troops today? Missing in action. Where are the leaders who articulate such a vision of the future? Pat Buchanan does, but he is as much of a dinosaur as I am. He is lamenting the loss of the old American Republic. His most articulate political book is The Suicide of a Superpower. Its subtitle is not suitable for building a political movement: Will America Survive to 2025?

You cannot beat something with nothing.

[…]

The West is adrift. That should be obvious. There are few organized groups within the West that have developed a social and political philosophy, let alone one that is tied to a supernatural order that guarantees success to the righteous. That was the basis of political order and political philosophy in the West for 1200 years. But that vision faded in the middle of the 17th century. The Treaty of Westphalia (1648) and the restoration of Charles II to the English throne (1660) ended the religious wars.

A crucial political fact today is this: the legitimacy of the government in Washington is under attack from multiple sides. Internally, the unfunded liabilities of the federal government are such that, at some point, the government will no longer be able to sustain the welfare state for the oldsters. At that point, legitimacy of the federal government is going to erode even faster. There is nothing on the political horizon to replace it. That is why I think decentralization lies ahead.

What is missing is a cogent, well-developed social philosophy that could serve as the foundation of a new civilization based on a decentralized social and political order. There are fringe groups that offer such a view. But if we are talking about any group that has the ear of intellectuals today, there is no such worldview. It would be opposed by the university system and the public schools if it were ever to gain a foothold in the thinking of even a small fraction of American intellectuals.

So, we are basically flying blind as a civilization. There are lots of special-interest groups trying to get their hands into the political trough in Washington, but there is no group that has a curriculum from first grade through graduate school that would serve as the foundation of the construction of a new, decentralized social order.

It is not good enough to offer a philosophy of muddling through. Muddling through gets you through a lot of crises, and most of the time it is good enough to keep the social system going. But, in a time of crisis, it will not work. It will not rally the troops.

Today, I see no social and political philosophy on the horizon that is likely to be able to mobilize the troops. Yet without mobilized troops in the broadest sense, a social order cannot defend itself.

There ought to be at least a bookshelf of books that would serve as the foundation of a new social order. Karl Marx wrote several like this. Adam Smith wrote a major one. Edmund Burke wrote several. But, in our day, there is no single philosopher who speaks for the nation in such a way that he can gain a following large enough to mobilize the troops, or even recruit troops.

I cannot think of any time in the history of the West in which there has been such a vacuum. Societies do not persist without a social philosophy tied to widely accepted principles.

To have any possibility of success, a revolutionary movement must be able to recruit people who are willing to die for the cause. There was a time when Marxian Communism attracted such people. But by the 1970’s, Communists in both the Soviet Union and China were no longer committed to Marxism’s religion of revolution. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping abandoned Communist economics, and in 1991, Gorbachev shut down the USSR. Marxism has ceased to be a widely held social philosophy. Its influence is restricted to Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. These are failed states. They are clearly not the wave of the future. They do not inspire dedicated followers.

Those American movements calling themselves Communist or Marxist today are neither Communist nor Marxist. They are not committed to Marx’s philosophy of the inevitability of the proletarian revolution against the capitalist class. They are surely not committed to Marx’s theory that the mode of production governs the development of history. They are Progressives who want to organize riots in order to get government subsidies. That is not Marxism.

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So, we are basically flying blind as a civilization. There are lots of special-interest groups trying to get their hands into the political trough in Washington, but there is no group that has a curriculum from first grade through graduate school that would serve as the foundation of the construction of a new, decentralized social order.

This is what we will have to do.

There is a partial curriculum out there, to the end of grade school. But there is a need of high-level material through college and graduate school. Creating this material takes both time and commitment.

It’s not going to be created by third- and fourth-rate Christian academic institutions. The failures that led Christendom into the ditch are going to keep on doing what they have always done, even as they dry up and blow away.

It’s going to be up to God-fearing laymen, willing to set aside the time, money, and energy to master the material and do the job right.

And — as the solid majority of Conservative Christians remain committed to the Enlightenment Statist Order (“Right-wing Flavour”) — it will have to be done in a far more difficult time than today, with the Welfare-Warfare State disintegrating about their ears.

No Western Christian bothered to consider how Eastern Europe should be reconstructed, after the Communists were gone.

And no Western Christian — a noticeably smaller group in 2021 than in 1989 — is bothering to consider how the West should be reconstructed, after the Welfare State-Keynesian-Enlightenment social order is dead and gone.

Christian Reconstructionists should get the First Mover advantage here.

Assuming we are willing to move, to serve our neighbours, towns, and counties.

Not just talk.

A movement must mobilize the troops. If the movement does not mobilize the troops, it is not a movement. It is a discussion group.

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