(The following article is an adaptation based on material from my 1983 book, How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization.)
No matter who controls the House, Senate, and executive branch of our government, the drive to disassemble American culture — and, on a broader scale, Western culture — continues almost unabated. The pro-American voices of reason and civility are simply no match for those in the anti-American camp who relentlessly attack all those who disagree with their agenda with nonstop, hateful rhetoric and violence.
Which brings me to a hot summer day in Los Angeles in the late seventies. I was standing in line at a neighborhood ice cream stand, with five or six people in front of me and about the same number lined up at an adjacent window. As we stood quietly waiting our turns, a rather unpleasant mix of screeching musical instruments, shrieking voices, and nerve-shattering electronic pulses began filling the air.
As I and the other customers in line turned to see what all the ruckus was about, the intrusive sounds were practically upon us. Crossing the street and heading straight for the ice cream stand was a scraggly‑looking teenager sporting one of those all-too-familiar “I’m a bad dude” looks on his face.
As if his gait and demeanor weren’t annoying enough, he was also armed with the ultimate punk weapon — a ghetto blaster that I doubt I could have lifted. As Mr. Bad Dude sauntered up and attached himself to the adjacent line, the Zulu sounds blaring from his monstrous noise machine became overbearing.
Then, to my surprise, a most interesting thing occurred. Just as I was expecting him to do the considerate, civilized thing — turn the radio down so as not to cause those standing in line any undue discomfort — he startled everyone by deliberately turning his ghetto blaster up.
The message was clear: “I can do whatever the hell I want, and if you don’t like it, “Tough sh__! I’m bad.”
All at once, it hit me. This punk kid was absolutely right. He could do whatever he wanted, and if I didn’t like it, he was right about that as well: It was my tough luck. His repulsive behavior made me realize something that had eluded me up to that time.
Specifically, I realized that the collapse of Western civilization that so many pessimists had predicted over the years was not an event that was going to take place all at once on some specific future date. Rather, it was an ongoing phenomenon, an event that would take place over a long period of time ─ at least decades.
Which is why those who have been waiting for the long‑predicted collapse to occur would have to wait a long time, indeed, because the collapse was already well under way. People have always assumed that the collapse would manifest itself as one momentous, cataclysmic event, so they are oblivious to the fact that not only has it been in progress for decades, it is rapidly accelerating before their very eyes.
During my unpleasant experience at the ice cream stand, it occurred to me that what I was witnessing in that repugnant teenager’s crude behavior was a manifestation of the destruction of the most civilized way of life the world has ever known, a way of life that has evolved over a period of many centuries in western Europe, the United States, and a number of other countries whose roots are chiefly European.
Collectively, these countries have come to be loosely referred to as “the West,” “Western Civilization,” or “the Occident.” (It is worth noting that over the past 50 years or so, many Asian countries have also become increasingly more westernized, e.g., Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.)
At its zenith, the Western way of life encompassed a unique blend of beliefs, characteristics, principles, and philosophies. Numbered among its virtues were honesty, self‑discipline, non‑violence, self‑sufficiency, a strong work ethic, respect for elders, aggrandizement of achievement, planning for the future, respect for the property of others, a stable economic system, reverence for the family unit, courtesy and consideration toward others, and, above all, the right of the individual to be left alone.
Thus, when I speak of the collapse of Western Civilization, it is the literal destruction of this way of life to which I am referring. Certainly, Mr. Bad Dude would have been gratified to know that at the very moment I looked at him, he served as a vivid symbol of the collapse of Western culture and its virtues, living proof that the deterioration of a once‑great civilization was already well under way.
Of course, Mr. Bad Dude’s thuggish theatrics at the ice cream stand represent but one small example from among a large body of persuasive evidence. All one needs to do is listen to, or watch, the news or simply observe what’s going on around him day in and day out.
Worst of all, the cornerstone of Western Civilization, the family unit, has been disintegrating at a rapid pace. Parents have learned that they need not be concerned with their children’s problems, because the government will take care of them. Beginning with the day a child starts school and receives his first “free” government lunch, he’s taught to look to the government, not his family, for solutions to his problems.
With the very core of Western society, the family unit, relinquishing its place of eminence in the lives of most people, it’s no wonder adults in all walks of life — from waitresses to retail clerks, from repairmen to airline ticket agents — are increasingly disrespectful, rude, and hostile.
How did conditions in the Western world get so out of hand? Through an insidiously clever process known as gradualism. Psychologists and social scientists know that man does not respond well to abrupt change, but when it comes to gradual change over a long period of time, he has proven to be quite malleable.
This point has not been lost on the enemies of individual liberty. It is to their credit that they’ve had the good sense to be patient. They realize that one does not turn the world upside down in a fortnight. A much more effective strategy, they have discovered, is to rotate it slowly so those on its surface scarcely notice they are moving.
Through the application of gradualism, people ultimately come to accept change as the status quo. Ideally, a way of life that would have been considered unthinkable to one generation is ultimately regarded as perfectly normal by a later generation that grows up never knowing any other kind of existence.
And so it has been with the collapse of Western Civilization. The fact that the collapse is both gradual and ongoing is a testimony to the effectiveness of gradualism. People have become so accustomed to a world in crisis that they do not see the decadence and perversion that surround them as unusual or alarming.
In Part II of this article, I will discuss the causes of the collapse of the most civilized and remarkable way of life the world has ever known.