Occasionally a writer captures big things in a few words, and that’s fun. So “Pirate”, at Boar’s Head Tavern, tells us everything we need to know about the Flower Generation, which has not yet died, but is working at it:
So sometime in the sixties, there was all this revolution ‘n’ stuff, which of course was only made possible by what was revolted against (can’t afford to wander around with flowers in your hair if those old squares aren’t paying for college). The “intellectual radical” or whatever was born then…of course, he was only able to reject the former intellectualism because he’d been taught everything he knew by them.But anyway…
My synopsis is that the new intelligentsia revolted against the old by refusing to teach the unlearned in the ways of our civilization. Sure, rationalistic modernism was far from ideal, but its two main monuments, literacy and science, were both what I would call essentially good things (if idolized) and essential to the institutions the radicals took hold of. For whatever reason–call it postmodern ethical sensibilities, and if you’re Joel, find a better name for it–those monuments were trivialized in favor of self-esteem, multiculturalism, tolerance, and all that. The highest virtue of modernism, education (which again can be and often was idolized, but remains a good thing), was replaced by frivolity, immediate gratification, and total absorption in blitzing the senses with profligate entertainment. Satisfaction of the self replaced any kind of higher good (even if that “good” was often conceived in annoyingly utlititarian terms).
The result is, and any educator can back me up on this, universities full of math students who can’t solve or measure, English students who can’t read or write, philosophy students who can’t think or debate, and science students who can’t investigate or conclude. We wring our hands over the future of education, society, and all that without realizing that soon there will be no one maintaining or desiring to maintain it. We can look across to Europe and see that debating gay marriage or clean air policy while your population extinguishes itself and the Muslims gradually take over is just so much rearranging of deck chairs. But then we need only look briefly at ourselves and realize we are largely on the same path. We are past the turning point: when a whole generation has risen to maturity that is morally, intellectually, and motivationally incapable of maintaing civilization, regress is the only possibility. Pilgrims from foreign lands, not our own, flock to our universities to absorb as much of they can of our accomplishments and take them back to their homes for preservation and advance.
When the civilization collapses, it sucks down everything in its vicinity with it. The British Isles were much more civilized places before Rome fell and the tribes took over. I think we all know who will take over in the USA and who will vanquish Europe. And, like the sack of Rome by the Vandals who desired only looting and destruction, so also will Europe fall. The Americas will be a bit luckier, as I believe those to conquer us are at worst disinterested in destroying us and at best interested in benefiting from whatever genuine good they can appropriate from us. I think the future of our corner of the civilization is decay and renaissance, not subjugation and eradication, so that’s something positive.
But regardless, the sun is setting on the Age of the West. Might as well enjoy the sunset.
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