How the West Was Unwon
Frank Miele, editor of the Daily Inter Lake, devotes three columns to the unraveling of our civilization in an effort to explain why it happened. His columns are well worth your time.
I date the beginning of the unwinding of Western civilization to the early twentieth century, when Italian communist Antonio Gramsci advised his fellows that they needed to effect a "long march through the institutions" of the West in order to convert the whole world to communism via education. Soon came the Red Scare of the early twenties, when the West (rightly) feared being undermined by disciples of the nascent Bolshevik Revolution going out into the world.
Early signposts that these movements were succeeding included the 1950 trial of Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers's subsequent publication of Witness, which told us in plain words about the conspiracy in plain sight going on before us. Harry White and Hiss were close confidants of FDR, and both were communists working for Stalin. McCarthy had it right, and history has never forgiven him for it.
The so-called New Left in the sixties continued the subversion by putting it into the streets to delegitimize the extant order. The Establishment encountered a major problem in defending itself intellectually: that generation had never seriously questioned its values. America had, after all, just won the worst war in history and that was clearly good. Yet college professors, whom we thought the smart ones, were telling us we were evil and our kids were right. Helped along in self-doubt by the questionable wisdom of the Vietnam War and the obvious issue of black civil rights, many doubted the moral rectitude of Western civilization. That doubt had still not been cleared up when the Nixon matter threw the country into still another bout of self-doubt.
The subversives stayed at it in the universities, sneakily removing the once required subject of Western civilization and replacing it with leftist ideology camouflaged as civics. The Western literary canon came under attack by feminists, another flavor of socialist. Hollywood got into the act with the likes of Oliver Stone presenting America as the land of the greedy and the home of the evil. Bit by bit, the planks that had built Western civilization, the predicate of its intellectual defense, were pulled up and replaced with Marxist junk. Rather than the close, tight reasoning of Locke, Montesquieu, Madison, et al., our kids were learning to whine the trite tripe tropes of the left.
Came the nineties and the Clintons. Far from ideologues, they were just crooks. That made the work of the subversives even easier, since many who felt uncomfortable with Marxism readily understood the value of under-the-table bucks and secure congressional sinecures. All of this is hidden by the rubric of socialism and backed by the power of the ever growing state.
America had long since kicked God out of the schools. It wasn't obvious to most at the time, but that was the prelude for all that followed since even the mention of God came to be verboten. This is too bad, because the more complicated society became, the more we needed God. The fact is that understanding God and what He wants of us is far more demanding than understanding Marxism. The complexity of human psychology exceeds anything most of us can even imagine.
By contrast, the allure of socialism or communism has always been its simplicity and superficial reasoning. Those very characteristics make it a perfect cover for criminality on the large scale. Those who fall for its siren song are largely young and inexperienced. Having always been protected, they don't see humanity's flawed (sinful) nature and are vulnerable to Marxist "perfectibility of man" thinking.
The Marxist allure usually comes at a young person at just the point in his psychological development where he is breaking away from home. It's a confusing time of life when one is trying to make sense of it all. He's naïve without being aware of it. He's ready to follow someone without being aware of it. That requires a loosening of ties to what went before, in order to grow into the new skin of his new self. And here beckons Marxism with easy, ready answers. Only years later, if he's a thinking person, will he begin to see what he so glibly zipped past early on.
All this is the natural result of a society growing wealthy. The young don't have to work as hard to make it. Things seem easy because they are easy. And it's so easy to attribute one's success to one's own brilliance. Who needs God in this easy world?
In this process, we see why civilizations fall. Cocky and lazy, elites sink into immorality and drop their moral guard. Watching it happen is why so many great writers return, toward the end of their lives, to the religion of their youth. They finally grasp the astonishing complexity of the human condition and the unknowable, amazing mind of God, so far beyond our grasp that calling it "genius" smacks of the childish.
Frank Miele is right. We need not only a return to belief in God, but also a rededication to thinking about Him, studying Him, talking about Him, giving Him proper respect. One imagines God looking at the hash man has made of the many gifts He gave us and wondering why He ever bothered.