The cultural contradictions of modernity

Modernity carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. Modern society, with its technology, ease, mobility, and wealth weakens the sinews of tribe, religion, family and tradition that have been the bonding elements of human society over many millennia. One of the chief sources of internal rot in modern society is multiculturalism. Multiculturalism arises out of a number of factors, including (a) the lack of understanding and instruction about how our bountiful time was created; and (b) the guilt of Western elites. Multiculturalism both creates internal rot, and finds itself easily intimidated by and unable to deal with pre-modern societies with deep tribal and belief structures such as the sharia societies of Islam.

The Multicultural World War

Please read the excellent thought piece by Fjordman at Gates of Vienna. He says about our recent troubles:

I fear this is a world war. Maybe future historians will dub it the Multicultural World War. Just as WW1 was caused by Imperialism, WW2 by Fascism and the Cold War by Communism, this one will be caused by Multiculturalism. The term “the Multicultural World War” has been coined by Fjordman. I find this to be more accurate than “The Islamic World War” because what will cause this world war is Western cultural weakness, through Multiculturalism and Muslim immigration, rather than Islamic strength.

This is a very interesting point, that it is Western weakness of Multiculturalism, rather than the particular strengths of militant Islam, that is causing the severity of the current strife. But he has hope this will change:

It should be noted that a revolution doesn’t usually come when the oppression is at its worst, but when the grip of the authorities and their totalitarian ideology, in this case Multiculturalism and Political Correctness, seems to be slipping. This was the case with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and it will be the case with the European Union now. I see increasing signs that the idea of Multiculturalism is on the retreat.

We have been less successful in discerning the retreat of Multiculturalism, though we surely hope it is on the way.

Multiculturalism as an aspect of misunderstanding the modern world

We think that the West is choking on the modern world we have created. We have created in the last 130 years a world totally unlike anything that has existed in human history, where the average man in the West lives far more lavishly and longer than potentates throughout history. We wrote about this in our iPod article. And yet the West has put precisely zero resources into educating young people about the world we have created and the world we have lost in such a short time, and so we have created a mystery for young (and older) people. Out of this mystery come various utopian fantasies, as if this technological world, so hard in the making, had been here all along. Rubbish like multiculturalism, with its soft Marxism and undervaluing of liberty and achievement, serves the governments, corporations and universities that create and sustain it. Its flaws are many, but none is greater than its inability to cope with the authentic man of violence.

Is it any surprise that the nonsense of Multiculturalism is no match for militant Islam? We have seen that sharia societies are backward in technology and other areas of Western life, and have brutal and primitive practices, but this is their strength: these societies are pre-modern, and are unburdened with all the claptrap falsely taught in our schools and society. They produce youth who burn with belief and certainty, sorely missing in the West.

Nietzsche predicted it

In 1976 Harvard professor and sociologist Daniel Bell published The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, which sort-of makes the case that the Protestant ethic that built capitalism contained the seeds of its own destruction in the creation of the consumerist society that capitalism spawned. We wish to expand Bell’s argument to say that the modernness of the modern world — about which little is commonly understood and almost nothing is taught — has in some ways created the global war we have today. Bell began the book with a quote from Nietzsche which showed a remarkable understanding of how science creates a world separate from, and perhaps at odds with, traditional society:

In the spring of 1888 Friederich Nietzsche sketched the Preface of his last book, The Will to Power, which he planned to be his magnum opus, as follows:

‘What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. This history can be related even now, for necessity itself is at work here. The future speaks even now in a hundred signs….For some time now our European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.”

The source of this nihilism for Nietzsche was rationalism and calculation…If there was a single symbol for him that summed up the force of nihilism, it was modern science.

For Nietzsche, what had happened was that tradition, the unwitting, unquestioning “means for obtaining homogeneous, enduring characters for long generations,” had been destroyed.

Multiculturalism is a belief in nothing, akin to the nihilism Nietzsche spoke of. It is an a-historical myth with which to explain and atone for the modern world created by science and capitalism and wealth. Today’s militant Islam is, among other things, a panicked reaction to a modern world of science and capitalism and wealth that outstrips a 1400 year old book’s ability to explain and rule. The multiculturalist feels guilty about the rich, lavish (and sinful) world he enjoys, does not understand and has done nothing to create. The Islamist feels anger at the world he does not understand, has done nothing to create, and which threatens his traditional beliefs.

So what happens?

We haven’t a clue. We wrote in our piece on Newton’s First Law that things are going to continue on their paths to extremes for some time and thus continue to get worse. Will the Islamists blow up the modern world, or get co-opted by modernity, as some of their co-religionists fear? Will the multiculturalists allow the modern world to be blown up in their passivity, or become fierce (or be deposed from Western power by those with a stronger survival instinct)? Will the outcomes be uniform or inchoate throughout the Western world? (These are some of the ideas that Fjordman grapples with.) We shall see.

Our guess is that things are going to get much, much worse before they get better. We observe, for example, from the disgraceful example of the Pulitzer Prizes, that our MSM elites still play footsie with the enemy and misunderstand the seriousness of our situation. Since they daily mislead the majority of our fellow citizens, we expect shock, rage and vengeance the day our real Pearl Harbor comes.

6 Responses to “The cultural contradictions of modernity”

  1. qwerty182764 Says:

    Why did Nietzsche think rationalism and calculation were sources of nihilism? And if so, how do we fix it?

    As far as I can tell, medieval tribalism with religious warfare and postmodern tribalism with class warfare are both equally hideous. I like the modern world. Modernity was when mankind finally broke free of his chains – when we finally mastered our governments, when we finally began to understand the world. The modern era after the enlightenment was the first one where men payed more than lip service to ideals and morality. The explosion of progress that mankind has made, progress unmatched by any prior era in human history, is a testament that we got something very very right.

    So where is this cultural contradiction? Reason was one of the key factors in building the modern world – one of the things that allowed it to exist in the first place! Why does Neitzsche think that reason is the source of it’s downfall?

  2. dymphna Says:

    Like you, I am not sanguine about the immediate future. The elections in Italy were a big disappointment; the demographics of the West are depressing; the hollowed out multi-culti mindset continues to leave me slack-jawed — it goes beyond stupidity into some new realm of naked emperors — and I think the Jews in Europe are in danger…a subject I plan to write on as soon as I have heart enough to do so.

    The problem with the elites is that their extreme hubris acts as a set of blinders. They run the track not able to see anything that would distract or frighten them.

    My concern is that a type of facism will eventually overtake this country in its fearful response to overwhelming events. I wish I understood Iran in a historical context but it seems that several aspects are “unique”…makes one long for the good old days when the leaders of nation-states made their decisions based on some rational advantage they managed to work out. To compare, imagine Iran stocking Cuba now and us trying to face that down…

    Did you read the Dan Simmons’ science fiction short story that’s making the rounds. Short, short story. More like a meditative dialogue. I think I know the ending, which he leaves hanging.

    If I could figure out how to do trackbacks, I would do one for this essay. Please let me know when you’ve worked out the longer version.

  3. PJ Nasser Says:

    In reply to qwerty182764. I like the modern world, too, for the most part.

    I think what Nietzsche meant was that science, all forms of which aspire to mathematics, and therefore calculation, is dependent neither on culture nor will. The servant of science is a humble being, who acknowledges laws over which he can have no sway. Not the imaginer and achiever of great things who can inspire others. (Remember this was at a time of positivism and before Einstein.) I don’t think it is as simple as that, not just because science is, in fact, a great feat of the imagination, but because there are other factors that are just as important in leading to ‘nihilism’.

    One of them is liberalism (I mean the word in the English sense), which is a sort of anti-ideology. At its heart, it is mostly negatives. No-one can be sure they are right, therefore no-one should have absolute power. No group can claim to be absolutely right, therefore no group should have absolute power. The evolution of parliamentary democracy, until the French Revolution, was merely one of limiting executive power. It has never been an attempt to create the perfect system; it is the negation of the perfect system insofar as it divides power and concentrates on managing the inevitable conflicts of society in peaceful manner. It is only the object of idealism for those that live under absolutist regimes. The more successful the democracy, the less politics matters.

    Dinocrat is right. This is at the heart of our malaise. I was certainly brought up in a bubble of well-being that seemed destiny (in Australia, to boot, one of the Blessed Isles of the Earth). The only inspiration towards ideals came from student Marxism and its deritives, such as the strident Feminism of the 70s. No-one, either at school or university, really went into how this miraculous bubble was created, what thought, blood and sweat went into it, how exceptional it was. I’d never heard of such people as Bastiat or Hayek; no-one ever went into the genius of liberalism. It was mostly interpreted as imperialism and oppression.

    There are a lot of other things I could add, but this comment is already too long. Could I just echo dymphna’s puzzlement about trackbacks? I don’t understand them, either, so if Dinocrat would like to explain how to use them, it would be at least a small light in this gloom.

  4. staghounds Says:

    I still look at history. Western liberal society is not always what people want when they get to choose. Our President seems to think it is very attractive, but more than one population has welcomed political enslavement instead.

    People DO seem to select material comfort, and as long as the west still provides that for our enemies they have the best of both worlds- material ease and an enemy to rail against.

    Has the time come to withold our great benefit- wealth- from the enemies of liberty? No more bank infrastructure, no more education, no more policed seas, no more international currency. You want the Saudi version, enjoy it.

    If you prefer ours, welcome. But first, abandon your old ways. Otherwise, call Amedjinabadabad for your piracy suppression and cash transfer needs.

  5. USpace Says:

    Well done, good explanations.
    Another great article by Fjordmand too.
    GO Denmark! Sweden follow Denmark! Merci!

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe hopes
    Europe surrenders…

    hate your proud Christian culture
    blame yourself and just give up

    absurd tanken -
    Gud om Universum hoppas
    Europa ge sig.

    hata din stolt Kristen kultur
    klandra dig och rättvis ge upp

    assurdo ha pensato -
    Dio delle rese di Europa
    di speranze di Universo

    odiare la sua colpa di cultura orgogliosa cristiana
    te stesso ed appena rinunciare
    .

  6. Don Robison Says:

    You didn’t sell me on the quote. I know Neitche was sexist; I still wonder whether he would have supported multiculturalism. Multiculturalism seems to have its roots in Marxism, which was a complete failure.

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