The West is the world’s sick man. I think that just about anyone with any knowledge of the current state of world affairs would recognise the truth of this statement. While still wielding a great, perhaps even preponderant, amount of military and economic power on paper, the Western nations have increasingly shown themselves to be riddled with feckless “leadership” and a blatant unwillingness to defend themselves against foreign subversion and the invasion of millions of hostile foreign nationals entering under the guise of “refugees” and “immigration.” The failure is not one of capability, but of will. The West is a patient lying on his sickbed who refuses to take the medicine that will assuredly make him well. Instead, he continues to wrestle with his fever while blaming the doctors who prescribe for him his cure.
It’s obvious that the current state of affairs in the West cannot and will not continue for very long. Our societies are very far out of accord with nature, and our unnatural, high-energy transition state situation is going to tip over the edge and drop into a lower energy well of one sort or another. It has generally been one of the goals of Tradition and neoreaction to be ready for this “Great Reset” event (or series of events, more likely), and to become worthy, accept power when it presents itself, and then rule. Typically involved with this is the notion of a “restoration” of the West, a return to the things that made the West natural and good, while hopefully avoiding a repetition of the things that have brought us to our present point. The point to this post is to delve somewhat into what the nature of this restoration might look like, if indeed there is to be a restoration. But to do that, I’d first like to cover and analyse, in brief, some history of “the West” and use the previous “restorations” to draw some conclusions.
When we talk about “the West” or “Western civilisation,” these terms are usually used with varying degrees of precision depending on the speaker or writer. However, I think the most broad and generally understandable definition (which I will, as a result, use here) is that “the West” is a long, semi-continuous succession of civilisational “stages” that first became identifiable around the 6th century BC in Greece, and which continue to the present day. Each succeeding civilisation is like a storey in a building built upon the previous ones. These stages each contributed something to what we now call Western civilisation.
Within each stage, we can also discern one or more high points, periods in which the iteration of civilisation seemed generally to “have it together” in a confluence of cultural, economic, and military competence. Likewise, at the end of each cycle, we observe a terminal decline that leads to breakdown and the creation of a new iteration on the ashes of the old.
An identifiable “Western” civilisation which qualitatively differed from the general run of Mediterranean/Levant civilisation existing for millennia previous began to emerge in Greece as she came out of her dark age and struggled through what is called the archaic age of Greece (~800-600) BC. Many of the idiomatic traits of Classical civilisation began to emerge, such as emphasis on the rule of law, rationalism (in the form of philosophy) over supernaturalism, and even our characteristic emphasis on confrontational heavy infantry warfare. The period from 600 BC until after the fall of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War saw the foundation of numerous philosophical ideas through such men as Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, and Pythagoras, which heavily influenced pretty much every later philosophical school, and even find a distilled influence in our own age.
Classical civilisation arose in Greece, but spread far beyond to wherever Hellas’ extensive colonisation carried its culture. One of the major places of influence was Italy, where Greek colonies in Sicily, Calabria, and Apulia exerted a powerful cultural influence all up and down the peninsula, including (of course) at Rome. Italy adopted a great deal from Greek religion, Greek phalanx warfare, Greek political organisation, etc. When Rome rose to dominance over Italy and then over the whole Mediterranean basin, she had combined her own native emphasis on law and order with the Greek ideas on rationalism to form a more or less cosmopolitan Mediterranean civilisation held by the elite everywhere in the Empire which was based on the logical ordering of society. Far from detracting from this, Christianity actually both contributed to and was organised by this logical ordering, and the rise of systematic theology was a natural extension of these philosophical and rationalising tendencies.
We should observe three high points in Classical civilisation: the Athenian age between the Persian invasion and Peloponnesian War (~475-430 BC), the post-Alexandrine Hellenistic expansion throughout the East (~315-200 BC), and the century of good Emperors in the later Empire (roughly 2nd cent. AD). Each of these periods saw great prosperity, artistic and cultural production, and great advances in philosophy and thought.
Each, however, also ended in periods of strife and decay. The Peloponnesian War ended Athens’ cultural preponderance and ushered in an era of wars across the Greek world. The Roman “peacekeeping” ended Greek independence and temporarily stultified Greek cultural growth. The 3rd Christian century saw Roman decay begin and then accelerate as civil stability and social order fell apart.
The end of Classical civilisation came when the Western Empire fell to Germanic invaders over the course of the 4th and 5th centuries. However, this fall was not so much because of the invaders themselves, but because of the demoralisation of Roman government and society starting in the 3rd century. An increasing number of Romans, especially the elites, simply stopped believing in the needfulness of the Empire as the government became increasingly tyrannical, arbitrary, impecunious, and (most damningly) incapable of defending its own borders. When many Roman citizens preferred the “barbarians” over their own government, the end was inevitable.
The next iteration of the West which arose was what we call “Medieval” civilisation. This civilisation was essentially the fusion of Germanic culture and the old Romano-Christian culture of the late Empire. To add to the legal and rationalistic elements of the Classical, the Germanic tribes brought a manly and invigourating spirit of aristocratic honour which combined to produce a civilisation equally capable of creating intricate theological scholasticism and a rigourous feudal order, both Aquinas and County of Anjou.
Within Medieval civilisation, we can identify two distinct high points: the Carolingian Renaissance of ~750-850 AD and the High Middle Age period encompassing roughly the entire 13th century. As before, these periods decayed as the Carolingian Empire fell apart and as the stable international order in France, Germany, and Italy turned to much higher levels of internecine war after 1300 AD.
The final end of Medieval civilisation was neither as violent nor as precipitous as that of the Classical, but still occurred for the same sort of reason of general civilisation demoralisation. In this case, the proximate cause was the Black Death (starting in 1346 AD), and which is generally though to have destroyed around a third of Europe’s population. From all contemporary accounts, saying that this had a profound impact on European thought and civilisation would be putting it mildly. Europeans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries became, in many ways, obsessed with death (this was the age of the danse macabre and produced some truly diabolical appearing artwork). Likewise, a widespread loss of trust in Medieval Christianity afflicted the continent, leading to hopelessness and a decline in morals as people “lived for the moment” at all levels of society.
Arising out of this was Western civilisation, as we typically use the term, gradually through the 15th and early 16th centuries. Our present civilisation combined the classical, Christian, and aristocratising tendencies of the previous with the individualistic and humanistic dispositions of the Renaissance and the Reformation. This combination worked to produce profound scientific, technological, and economic advances. However, they also carried the seeds of the West’s eventual malaise and decline.
The general high points in the modern West can be identified. These are the preponderant order established by Spain and the Habsburgs in the 16th century, the “genteel order” found in Europe in the middle of the 18th century, and the later Victorian era with the overwhelming power and order of the British Empire.
As before each of these high points was followed by a period of decay and decline. The Spanish order collapsed into the wars of religion. The genteel order was followed by the horrors of the French Revolution and Napoleon. The collapse of the British Empire through World Wars 1 and 2, followed by the period of decolonialisation resulted in a demoralisation of Western society that continues to this day.
At the centre of the West’s current troubles are a number of pathologies arising from her radical individualism and (secular) humanism – relativism (i.e. the replacement of eternal truths with ever-changing opinion), democratisation, and a general lack of civilisational self-confidence.
We all recognise that we’re living in a “low point,” a civilisational trough like those seen before. However, the question is whether we will see the West as it presently is, with its assumptions and tendencies, reinvigourated and restored, or will we instead see within our lifetimes the beginning of the transition to a new stage of the West (as a general entity)?
I tend to believe we will see the latter. As noted above, previous civilisations have seen downturns and stagnant periods. These were not, however, accompanied by the sort of demoralisation and civilisational desuetude we see all across the Western world now. That only comes at the end, when Romans give up and go over to the Germans, or when Frenchmen and Italians allow their obsession with death to paralyse them.
No, I am not at all convinced we can “restore” the West of the past few centuries, or even that we should try. Instead, we should embrace the next stage in the West’s evolution, and knowing that it is coming, seek to engineer it in the sort of directions amenable to neoreactionary aspirations.
Will this future West be Islamic? Unlike many, I do not think so. Islam is, itself, a decaying civilisation, and its resurging religious fanaticism is not a sign of genuine civilisational rejuvenation. Islam only has the appearance of success because of the West’s own paralysis and uncertainty. Eventually, Western populations will rediscover a generalised sense of self-preservation, and when that does happen, it will be a very uncomfortable thing for the Muslims currently being used as invaders by the West’s traitorous elites.
So what traits should characterise the next stage?
First of all, authority. The next stage will need to finally and decisively break with the democratic and atomistically individualistic tendencies of our present age. Every halfwit and self-interested rent-seeker does not need to have a share in government. It is enough for one or a few superior men to rule in each nation.
Second, pragmatism must be the watchword. Doing what works must take precedence over ideologies and the on-going attempts to bend reality to the will of theoreticians and social planners. The post-Enlightenment foolishness will need to not be repeated in the next stage.
Third, and like it or not, there will need to be a restoration of the authority and reverence for Christianity to the prominence had before the so-called “Enlightenment.” Much of this will likely be taken care of on its own during the Great Reset which is likely on the near horizon, since the failure of prosperity and security often turn the eyes toward heaven. It’ll have to be Christianity because it is already our traditional religious and cultural baseline anywise, and also because no other system really recommends itself for us. Paganism simply does not have the moral authority or fortitude to sustain an advanced civilisation. If Rome had gone Neoplatonic or Mithraic or to some form of Gnosticism instead of Christianity, the anthropophilic conditions necessary for science and a beneficial humanism would not have existed, and a world-excelling West would not come into being.
These are just general ideas, or perhaps speculations, that I’ve had while considering the future direction of our civilisation. Two things of which we can be certain, however, are that the present situation cannot continue for long, and that the future age cannot be allowed to repeat the errors which our present stage committed.