Western civilization is under attack. It has been routinely betrayed from the inside by fifth columns degrading it, calling it imperialistic, oppressive, hypocritical, and so on. When only seeing the upper, most superficial crust of leftists, we can be tempted to identify instinctively with it: they have been breaking the whole social fabric for decades whereas conservatives, seeing the intricate, delicate flower of humanity the West was, tried to save it.
Problems appear when we delve a bit more into the topic. If the West was purely geographic, there would be barely anything to defend as we’re free to go abroad. If civilization was synonymous with material goods and technology, we could start anew anywhere and thrive without hard feelings. We identify with the West, but the West is a mess. So let me clear the issue a bit.
“Civilization” comes from the Latin root civis, which referred to a group of people sleeping under the same roof, then to members of the same city—citizens—or subjects of a same ruler. The word boomed during the eighteenth century, when rising intellectuals opposed it to savagery and barbarism. Leftists love to hate that: they routinely accuse the “dead white males” of the times of having disrespected the sacred Other. However, beyond their obvious caricaturing of otherwise complex intellectual figures, they tend to forget two important things.
First, the philosophers of non-European tribes or political entities deemed barbarian were often really so. Even the most hardened problem glasses-wearer would not dare to defend human sacrifices, cannibalism or the Arab culture of enslavement. (They tend to sweep these inconvenient facts under the rug instead.)
The Jewish anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss famously said that “the barbarian is the one who believes in barbarism”, something leftists love to use to suggest that mild-mannered builders are more “barbarian” than Stone-age nomadic tribes who routinely kill each other. But Lévi-Strauss himself felt awkward facing Muslim violence and bigotry.
Second, the philosophers were much less worried about the Aztecs or Africans than about evilizing their own domestic adversaries. They blamed the Middle Ages and Christianity as “less civilized”, “superstitious”, “fanatical”—they did not aim at defending the West but at ushering their own version of the West.
Since then many talking heads mused with the notion. Some equate the West with modernization. Thus, as everyone on Earth got into global capitalism, bought a smartphone, knows about Hollywood movies, everyone is “westernized” and the West is everywhere. Of course, if the West is just that and everyone is equal (not), we have no particular merit or genius behind our ancestors’ highly complex and demanding realizations, no identity: only a set of artifacts we would be “privileged” to benefit from.
Others see “civilization” as a burden: the more complex, the more difficult, the frailer. Here Lothrop Stoddard joins Nassim Taleb—if civilization means bureaucracy and central planning, it is bound to fail. In both cases the word has been discreetly narrowed, equated with very particular, non-evident views. Should we identify with technology worship or paper shuffling?
Traditionalist authors such as René Guénon or Julius Evola oppose the modern civilization with the traditional. Non-Western civilizations, as well as the Roman Empire and Christian Europe, sprang from peoples of differing characters and needs but all had a sacred, genuinely spiritual core, in contrast with the “materialistic” civilization of godless, anomic modernity.
The traditionalist or perennialist school of thought is immensely inspiring but suffers from one important flaw: it heaps too much scorn on the post-Middle Ages West. Thus, it makes itself too easily ripped off by not very bright Muslims who will condemn what they could never make and today freely benefit from. Traditionalism sorely needs to be updated so it would fit more with our needs. (Needless to add, traditionalism appeared in the West and nowhere else.)
The cultural issue
The ambiguity stems from the fact that too many narrow (or excessively wide) identifications and value judgments have been thrown into the notion of Western civilization. A much less ambiguous way to talk thinks of a civilization as an enduring ethno-socio-cultural unit. As Evola said, a particular civilization has a peculiar morphology that students of history typically recognize.
But morphologies move and change. When are we passing from one civilization to another? (I am not asking this rhetorically: many twentieth century traditionalists got at pains with reconciling Western identity with a non-Christian spiritual path, and Russia literally endured centuries of debates on whether the Slavic identity is European or “Asian.”)
A civilization, in that sense, can also be subverted from the inside. The Roman empire had early clashes between worshippers of a masculine, Jupiterian sacred fire and the promoters of a “civilization of the Mother” (Evola’s expression) where a feminized Earth becomes the main god, which of course completely changes everything else.
Today, morphologies tend to be subverted by globalism, financial capitalism, the flood of Tinder and you-go-girlism into cultures which still raised traditional girls, and individual initiative. Did our civilization lead to the undoing of its very concept?
What are we to defend then? Coalitions of interest are contingent, un-identitarian, and culturally and spiritually empty. I absolutely refuse to let my identity shrink to a simple network, a business partnership, or my own individuality. Yet the System—which is a product of the modern West—supports just that: social atomization, in the name of modern humanitarian values.
Philosopher Alasdair McIntyre pinpointed that the “classic”, mainstream political values were mutually incompatible with each other, and this has only worsened with multiculturalism. Just like the late Roman Empire, the West has too many civilizations in it. And as Plato could see, such an unhinged state can only lead to either tyranny or collapse.
Who are we then? As for myself: meeting with Iranian guys in an Arabic country, I could tell intuitively they were different from the Bedouin landlords, and part of the same identity than I in a way Bedouins are not. I felt the same when I found out about the Indo-Aryan Kalash people: they are not Westerners, yet they are us and we are them in a way goatf*ckers will never be.
When I was particularly fond of traditionalist René Guénon, I mused that whites should perhaps completely un-identify from the West as to find back the Eastern fountain of youth. But that would be a betrayal of a glorious epic everyone craves to benefit from. No anti-white ever refused an iPhone. No critique of the West rejected the IT without which we would never be communicating across the Earth or investing in bitcoin.
All in all, we need to refine our intuition of what the West is or should be, so we can un-identify with all the degeneracy and applied parts the masses still identify with. Neomasculinity, coupled with the basic acceptance that there are Western natives too, should help us to do the job. Got to find back who we are so we can become it again.