Can whites and their civilization survive?

This e-mail came on August 6:

Mr. Auster,

I am a researcher at a university in Ontario. I’m a frequent reader of this website. The discourse intrigues, stimulates internal discussion, and quite often imbues in me a sense of dread. It is the dread part I would like to address.

My observations and conclusions regarding the state of the culture dismay me. The social paradigm of modern Western culture—liberalism—is so pervasive and deeply embedded that I don’t think the culture is capable of shedding its dominance. The effects of liberalism are so toxic that I don’t think it’s probable that the civilization will survive it in any recognizable form.

I am not a pessimistic man by nature; yet what I glean from the intelligent assay of the culture now, from this website and many other sources, honestly leaves me feeling that Western culture is too sick to survive.

My desire is to get your opinion on is this question: if Western civilization is in it’s terminal stage, do you think White people can physically survive as a race after its demise?

If white people can survive as an identifiable subset of humanity, it is possible that a memory might survive also of the great civilization that had once been theirs, as the memory of Rome persisted in the minds of the European peoples after it had passed away.

Thus there is a hope that a phoenix might arise from the rubble of our current order, as long as a biologically viable remnant of the white race remains.

Thanks for the website;

A Canadian reader

LA replies:

Of course, even under the worst scenarios, whites will always survive in some form. But that form may be very limited, in small powerless marginal communities. Would such communities have the scale to preserve Western civilization in any meaningful way? Not likely.

So for the survival of whites to mean anything, it must be survival in a whole, functioning society. In that case, enough of the past could be kept alive so that there would be hope for a rebirth.

There are all kinds of scenarios one could imagine. For example, whites forming some kind of independent republic in a few western states of the U.S., and then, after they had built up a certain cultural and political strength over a period of time, slowly expanding from that political base and re-taking other parts of America.

One reason I always have hope is this. What’s happening to the West under the rule of liberalism is so vast that that in some way it must have been meant to happen. This destructive liberalism is part of the “genetic” structure of the West. Which means that we don’t have the ability to stop it right off. It has to work itself out to its conclusion. This means that we should not be cast down by its current ascendancy. We must see that this was meant to happen, that it’s not something merely imposed on us by whimsical fate or by evil or crazy enemies, though of course such enemies do exist and do seek our destruction. This is the standard conservative way of seeing it, which makes the victory of liberalism psychologically unbearable. But, as I always say, if we are so sound, and the liberal elites are so evil, why have we yielded to their evil? So the ascendancy of liberalism is not just being imposed on us. Rather it has happened because the white West has signed on to the principles of liberalism, in a very deep way. And therefore the liberalism must continue to rule over us until we reject it at a deep level within ourselves—not just superficially, by saying things like, “Political correctness forced by the liberal elites is the problem; get rid of PC, and we’ll be ok again.” We can’t be OK again, so long as we harbor within ourselves the liberal principles of which PC is an expression.

At the same time, notwithstanding our own partial, responsibility for liberalism, I find it impossible to believe that the white West will really come to an end, undone by such idiocy. It must be the case that the rule of liberalism will start to exhaust itself or be turned back at some point, even as we reject it within ourselves. The liberalism is so crazy and irrational that it can’t be the case that it’s meant to have the final victory. While liberalism has a certain logic, in the larger picture it is crazy and evil. What is crazy and evil cannot win such a great and permanent victory over the good. It goes against everything we know and believe about the nature of reality—that evil may win in the short run, but not finally and in the long run. Therefore we must never lose hope that eventually this madness will be turned back. But again, for there to be hope of that external liberation, we must first stand against liberalism within ourselves. As I wrote in the May 2002 entry, “The most important point for traditionalists,” very shortly after VFR was launched:

Everybody today, particularly Republicans and mainstream conservatives, is echoing the same refrain: “Diversity is happening, immigration is happening, moral liberation is happening. We cannot return to the past. To exist and get along in this society we must accept these things.” Traditionalists must entirely reject such accommodationism. The starting point, the indispensable condition of any conservative or traditionalist movement, as well as of our personal spiritual survival, is that we say NO to the prevailing values of the liberal order and that we keep saying no, that we never accept them inwardly, even while recognizing the fact that they exercise effective control over society at present and that we may need to accommodate ourselves to them to a certain degree in our external interactions with society.

That inward refusal, that inward, spiritual independence of our environment, shared among enough like-minded people, can become the basis of a new community. And then other things, more active and external things, may become possible as well.

- end of initial entry -

Thomas Bertonneau writes:

Your reply to the Canadian pessimist is of a piece with the social forecast in Joseph de Maistre’s Considerations on France (1797). De Maistre regarded the Revolution in France as providential and opined that even those seeming innocents swallowed up by the calamity were not guiltless in respect of its long gestation. The liberal catastrophe was, for de Maistre, a punishment that wicked Europe was condemned to suffer on account of its sins. This is a difficult argument for modern people—even conservatives—to allow, but it strikes me as intuitively plausible.

James R. writes:

“What’s happening to the West under the rule of liberalism is so vast that that in some way it must have been meant to happen.”

This passage helped me understand something, a part of a puzzle that went through my head in the wake of the recent riots and after watching a surprisingly good BBC documentary from a few years ago on Enoch Powell’s speech and it’s aftermath.

The puzzle was the imposition of multiculturalist policies, simultaneously, across a whole swath of countries. All of which have ostensibly different politics, driven by local/national concerns, and local vagaries. And all these nations priding themselves on politics that is different and “not like” each other (especially at the time this was done): Britain distinct from France, France abhorring the politics of les Anglo-Saxons, Sweden considering itself distinct from all of these, and everyone including (especially?) Canada priding themselves on being “not like” America in their politics. And yet in all these places multiculturalism was imposed, with the same lack of open public debate.

And multiculturalism was just one policy, this happened in a range of issues.

I’m not sure if your post fully explains why a variety of seemingly independent countries with seemingly independent political systems and local circumstances all seemed to move like a flock of birds in this fashion. But your post certainly adds another piece to the puzzle, helping to clarify it.

LA replies:

The phenomenon you’re pointing to—that all the Western countries, each apparently for its own local/national reasons, simultanaeously adopted very similar policies on nonwhite immigration and multiculturalism—is the strongest possible illustration of historian Arnold Toynbee’s thesis (laid out in the first chapter of his Study of History) that the smallest unit for the intelligible study of history is not the individual society (such as France or Norway), but the civilization to which a group of similar societies belong. The adoption of white guilt, mass nonwhite immigration, and multiculturalism was a civilization-wide phenomenon, and can only be fully understood in the context of the Western civilization as a whole.

David G. writes:

LA: “So the ascendancy of liberalism is not just being imposed on us. Rather it has happened because the white West has signed on to the principles of liberalism, in a very deep way. And therefore the liberalism must continue to rule over us until we reject it at a deep level within ourselves.”

In a way you are paraphrasing 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. The “man of sin” is being allowed to grow and develop until he is fully revealed to be what he is. This “man” even aspires to be god and have control. Paul is referring to a generic man who is being allowed full rein (and reign) so that he can develop to the fullest extent and then be revealed in all of his essence. Only then is he taken out of the way. The development of that “man” through the mysterious process of iniquity eventually results in a full revelation of that man and then his demise. The process develops, grows and reveals itself in the unfolding at the end. Liberalism is following that arc and trajectory:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed.

LA replies:

That’s very interesting. I wasn’t familiar with this passage.

John Dempsey writes:

In reply to your Canadian reader:

Puddleglum was still fighting hard. “I don’t know rightly what you all mean by a world,” he said, talking like a man who hasn’t enough air. “But you can play that fiddle till your fingers drop off, and still you won’t make me forget Narnia; and the whole Overworld too. We’ll never see it again, I shouldn’t wonder. You may have blotted it out and turned it dark like this, for all I know. Nothing more likely. But I know I was there once. I’ve seen the sky full of stars. I’ve seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and sinking behind the mountains at night. And I’ve seen him up in the midday sky when I couldn’t look at him for brightness.”

Puddleglum’s words had a very rousing effect. The other three all breathed again and looked at one another like people newly awaked.
—C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

Once more, unto the breach, dear friends, once more …

It is not yet finished.

August 16

Robert B. writes:

I loved the response you made to the Canadian reader’s view of the downfall of Western Man. I agree with you. It is a sort of “this too shall pass” moment in time. I always remind people that the Castilians and Venicians fought the Moslems for 700 years before they finally triumphed. I don’t think our struggle will last that long.

And, I always point out that the victory was part and parcel of the European Renaissance. I believe that when the Left falls, there will be a new Renaissance period.

James R. writes:

I’m reading the Rick Perry thread; I get to experience him as Governor. Like I’ve been saying: Yay. But even I didn’t know all of that regarding his open-borders position, and I try to be politically aware. He’s even worse than I thought I knew.

This thread combined with your musings on the direction of Western civilization makes me wonder, once again, if maybe the best course right at this time is to just get out of the way, build ourselves, and prepare for the pickup. That holding things back by voting for someone just because he will reverse Obamacare, but let all these other policies continue on their course and continue to make them “conservative” as well as liberal really won’t help things, but will just delay the inevitable and allow the influx of more people who are hostile to, or at least do not consider themselves a part of, our civilization.

But if we get out of the way and let the course of liberalism unfold as you foresee it, faster rather than trying to put a break on it, more of us will remain and in a way that gives us more control over our own destiny, rather than having to contend with an even larger proportion of people who would displace our civilization instead of help restore it.

John McNeil writes:

I fundamentally disagree with the Canadian reader’s premise, that “The West” and the white race are two separate things. Just as we can say that there is no “West” without whites, likewise we can there is no white race without “The West.” “The West” is us, and even if we must resign to live in marginal backwater communities in a wasteland, the West will still live on. The West is simply our civilization. It can change form, like it did when Rome collapsed and Germanic culture became predominant. Western Civilization at that time definitely changed, but it was still fundamentally the same civilization due to the shared Indo-European background of both Romans and Germans. Likewise, even if we no longer have the world’s greatest military, or have shopping malls in every town or SUVs or blu-ray technology, we will still be the “West.” [LA replies: I fundamentally disagree with Mr. McNeil, who is making the West simply identical to whiteness. I am surprised he would reduce the West to nothing but race, which as far as I remember is not a position he has taken before this. As Samuel Francis said at the 1994 AR conference, the white race is indispensable to the West, but not sufficient. A bunch of white barbarians living in some huts on a hillside is not the West. The Germanic tribemen, before they organized into Christian nations, were not the West. The Germanic tribesmen’s ancestors, the original Indo-Europeans (wherever they actually lived) were not the West. The 4,000 year old Caucasian mummies of the Tarim Basin in Western China were not the West. Yes, they had many distinctive cultural qualities in common with other Caucasians who later formed the West, but their culture was not the West. Also, H.G. Wells’s mindless passive Eloi, though white, were obviously not the West. Mr. McNeil’s repeated use of scare quotes around “the West” further underscores his idea that the West is really no more than another word for whiteness. If he were correct, then the West would be no more than a biological phenomenon, automatically unfolding itself from the genome of white people, and wherever white people, whatever their qualities, character, beliefs, and way of life, they would be “the West.” Obviously and by definition, the West (or any civilization) is much more than the biological characteristics and the biologically based epiphenomena of the people who make it up.]

And I ask the Canadian reader, why would you want to see Rome (or another “great” Western nation) remain in the blood memory of whites? Rome is symbolic of Western civilization gone amuck, embracing imperialism, hedonism, corruption, and breakdown of organic family and traditions. Rome is not some lost glory age, it’s a demon that has haunted the white race for the last 2000 years. Like the Devil, the memory of Rome has tempted us to embrace power, wealth, and glory at the cost of our traditions and values. And many times, our civilization has succumbed to that. Being forced to become small communities may be one of the best things that ever happened to us, because we can take away much of the vice and corruption and have a chance to heal ourselves before the curse of Rome consumes us completely.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 15, 2011 12:11 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):