We are our worst enemies.
Muslims in Germany “have to accept our way of living,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said. And if they do not like European culture they took the “wrong” decision to come. “There are better places than Europe to live under Islamic law,” Schäuble said.
Why do we read and hear so few similar messages from the European ruling class?
It is explained in a very brilliant essay titled “The Deconstruction of the West” published by American Interest and written by US historian Andrew Michta, head of the George Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Berlin. According to Michta, the major threat to the West is not Russia, China, nor even the jihadists, but the “self-induced deconstruction of Western culture.” Among the causes of the current “systemic change” there is a rarely evoked reason: “The collective fracture of the West.”
This has weakened Nato, it has induced the Russian aggression and the assault of radical Islam. “The West’s problem today is also not mainly the result of the economic decline of the United States or the European Union, for while both have had to deal with serious economic issues since the 2008 meltdown, they remain the two largest economies in the world, whose combined wealth and technological prowess are unmatched.”
The problem “is the West’s growing inability to agree on how it should be defined as a civilization. At the core of the deepening dysfunction in the West is the self-induced deconstruction of Western culture and, with it, the glue that for two centuries kept Europe and the United States at the center of the international system.”
Challenged by fascism, Nazism and communism, “the West emerged victorious, for when confronted with existential danger, it defaulted to shared, deeply held values and the fervent belief that what its culture and heritage represented were worth fighting, and if necessary even dying, to preserve.”
Today this conviction is under attack on many fronts. “Today, in the wake of decades of group identity politics and the attendant deconstruction of our heritage through academia, the media, and popular culture, this conviction in the uniqueness of the West is only a pale shadow of what it was a mere half century ago. It has been replaced by elite narratives substituting shame for pride and indifference to one’s own heritage for patriotism.”
Michta attacks an “ideological hollowing out of the West” which also explains the dominant multiculturalism. “Whether one gives the deconstruction of the Western nation-state the name of postmodernism or globalism, the ideological assault on this very foundation of the Western-led international system has been unrelenting.”
Here comes the jihad. “It is no surprise that a poorly resourced radical Islamic insurgency has been able to make such vast inroads against the West, in the process remaking our societies and redefining our way of life.” But Michta concludes: “The greatest threat to the security and survival of the democratic West as the leader and the norm-setter of the international system comes not from the outside but from within.”
We are our worst enemies.
This cultural collapse, the “deconstruction,” emerges from the portrait of one of the most prominent artist in the United States, Catherine Opie, just published by the New Yorker: “In the course of a thirty-year career, the photographer Catherine Opie has made a study of the freeways of Los Angeles, lesbian families, surfers, Tea Party gatherings, America’s national parks, the houses of Beverly Hills, teen-age football players, the personal effects of Elizabeth Taylor, the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Boy Scouts, her friends, mini-malls, and tree stumps.”
But her most famous photograph is the 1994 “Self-portrait”, exposed at Guggenheim: the topless artist, an opulent gold drape in the background, the steel pins sticking in her arms, the bondage hood that conceals her face and that word engraved on the chest: “Pervert”.
So awful, so sad.
The postmodern world really has become sad. And it is killing the West.