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20201018 – The Abandonment of the West

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MAIN IDEA:

The main idea of this book is to trace cultural degradation of Western civilization through its historical stages starting with period of Columbian republic from late XIX century until end of WWI when West and colonialism was pretty much glorified, then trough disappointment of the great war self-inflicted pain and suffering that caused raise of fascism, communism, and struggles of WWII, period of Cold War when Western values were undermined, but still hold, at least longer than socialist values of Soviet Union, and finally post-Cold War disintegration of Western Culture by Western elite that developed ideas of reparations for previous sins and complete rejection of Western values including equality and individual freedom.

DETAILS:

Introduction
Author begins here with recollection of 9/11 and Bush’s mentioning of Crusades, which was immediately withdrawn as incorrect historical analogy.  Then he discusses overall propensity of Americans to use the notion of Crusade to just about everything from Civil War to WWII and others, noting how this changed over time and formulate the objective of this book as to answer that change and provide:” history of the West within American foreign policy, a West that is not exactly a cultural affinity or a strategic posture but some complicated, fluid combination of these two things.”  Author also defines the West as “as a transatlantic idea of liberty, traces this Enlightenment idea through two forms and through a drama in four acts.”  Author briefly describes these acts with 3 of them having dedicated chapter and 4th and the last 3 chapters of the Part II discussing it.

Part l: The Rise of the West
CHAPTER 1: The Columbian Republic, 1893-1919
The first act covers Columbus discovery of America, creation of USA and its development from the small republic to huge and powerful, both economically and militarily, country that could have significant impact on the world as whole, as it did in WWI. Author extensively discusses administration of Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson when this power came to forefront and become obvious for the world.

CHAPTER 2: The Case for the Wqest, 1919-1945
Author starts this chapter with discussion of Oswald Spengler and his ideas about “Decline of the West”. Author then moves to two products of Western thought: fascism and communism and how the former was destroyed by military efforts during WWII with the help of the latter.

CHAPTER 3: The Rise of the west, 1945-1963
This chapter narrates how West was consolidated by USA into effective economic and military alliance while recovering after WWII destruction and struggling in Cold War with Soviet Union to protect political and economic freedom that was slowly established in all included countries.

Part II: The Abandonment of the West
CHAPTER 4: Questions, 1963-1979
This starts with discussion of Malcolm X, black supremacy movement and support they found among intelligentsia and universities. 1950s and 60s. This followed by Vietnam war, which was successfully used by communist propaganda to undermine American society. Author then reviews various famous personalities in America that helped Soviet Union to win propagandist war against the West using anti-war and anti-black racism issue, which was later extended to support for Palestinians, South American communists, Iranian mullahs and everything else under the sun as long as it would be useful.    

CHAPTER 5: The Suicide of the West? 1963-1992
This chapter looks at period before 1990s when communist block fall apart and Soviet Union disappeared. Author briefly reviews anti-communist movements in USA in 1950s, especially role of Chambers, their complex relationship with Eisenhauer, and its transformation into conservative movement that incorporated many former leftists in 1980s. Author looks at works of Buckley and especially Burnham with his “Suicide of the West”. Author ends this chapter with Fukuyama’s “The End of History” and vain hope that liberal democracy won.

CHAPTER 6: The Post-Columbian Republic, 1992-2016
The last chapter covers Clinton, Bush, and Obama administration that lasted 32 years during which anti-West movement acquired commanding position in western culture and started increasingly pushing for annihilation of Western values of individual freedom, liberal order, and democracy. Author ends this chapter with brief discussion of Trump as America’s first president who unexpectedly initiated serious counterattack in defense of the West, leading to the huge disruption of existing trends.

Conclusion

In conclusion author reviews transatlantic relationship with Europe, which came farther than USA in dismantling western culture and values, causing significant tensions between these two. Author ends with symbolic story of creation of new museum on Washington’s National mall: NMAAHC, which presents history of blacks in America as movement from slavery to freedom. In author’s view its symbolic significance is not that much denial of West as promotion of the new more inclusive West.

MY TAKE ON IT:

I only partially agree with the thesis of Western Culture disintegration, because I see it as intermediate point in formation of general whole human culture, which will be eventually build on the foundation of Western civilization just because it provides for much better quality of life than any other known culture. A number of problems, mainly economic problems connected with disappearance of Western middle jobs pushed out of existence initially by cheap foreign labor and then by automatization leaves lots of semi-educated young people without anchor in their life forcing them to seek substitution for traditional values and successful behavior. I expect these problem to be resolved within a few dozen of years, which will provide for stable and both materially and psychologically satisfactory environment, which will result in turn in formation of some global combination of best of all known civilizations with the Western Culture taking by far superior share of this combination because it provides for the best quality of live for individuals.


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