Good and bad mixed up – the sunset of the West?

Ellen of Tasmania put up a video in the comments on The Joy of Socialism. The video is narrated by Paul Joseph Watson and proclaims that “Almost every factor that precedes the collapse of great civilizations has been met by the west.” This is the video.

Mr Watson (corrected from Jones) bewailed the decadence of the West, the lack of religion and the will to defend the humanism of the West. He made some valid points but he mixed up his message with gratuitous criticism of free market capitalism and consumerism as though these contribute to the failure of will in the face of leftism, Islamism and nihilism.

I can’t recall all the good and bad points without looking at the video again but there is a passage where he rubbished McDonalds and capitalism in the same breath. I have no more concern about fast food than I have about the Pacific Ocean, you can enjoy them both in moderation; the Pacific can drown you and you can eat too much fast food; to rail against McDonalds is just silly and to blame market capitalism for moral and spiritual failings is inane.

Far from lacking religion we are assailed by the religions of progressive leftism, radical environmentalism and militant Islamism that are divisive and destructive. As Yeats wrote in The Second Coming.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Actually I suspect that you could eat fast food in a discriminating way and have a perfectly balanced diet. So in your face Nanny Staters and foodies! And if you are looking for a serious indicator of decadence, what about the failure of the Demons to win a flag since 1964?

As for market capitalism, Michael Novak had the answer years ago when he responded to complaints about the “end of history” announced by Francis Fukayama in 1992. This was supposed to usher in a boring time when liberal democracy rules and there are no more spiritual and moral challenges. In Free Persons and the Common Good Michael Novak identified several valuable moral traditions which were called forth by democratic capitalist institutions in the early American colonies. These include civic responsibility, personal economic enterprise, creativity and a special kind of communitarian living. He also offered a cogent rejoinder to the critics who accuse capitalism of lacking moral or spiritual depth. He explained that statements on the ‘spiritual deficiency’ of democratic capitalism spring from a “horrific” category mistake. Democratic capitalism is not a church, a philosophy or a way of life, instead it promises three liberations; from tyranny and torture; from the oppression of conscience, information and ideas; and from poverty.

The resulting social order provides space “within which the soul may make its own choices, and within which spiritual leaders and spiritual associations may do their own necessary and creative work”. He suggested that democratic capitalism has done rather well on the score of promoting spiritual and cultural life, in contrast with environmentalism and progressive leftism that we see on the march at present. The US and the West will not be undone by capitalism but by the erosion of the limited state defined by the founders of the US republic that is now under threat from Majoritorianism as sketched by Dan Mitchell in his latest column.

Paul Joseph Watson is an English YouTube personality, radio host, writer and conspiracy theorist. He has been described as ‘alt-right’ by multiple sources. Although as late as July 2016 he called himself alt-right, he no longer accepts that label and considers himself part of the “New Right.” His video on the collapse of the West.

This entry was posted in Cultural Issues, Rafe, Western Civilsation. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Good and bad mixed up – the sunset of the West?

  1. Percy Popinjay

    Mr Jones bewailed

    Who is this “Mr Jones” of whom you speak?

  2. Percy Popinjay

    Ah ha – Ms Glyn-Jones

  3. Percy Popinjay

    “Morally, Aesthetically and Spiritually Bankrupt.”

    Yep. That’s what’s left of the West nowadays.

  4. duncanm

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    pretty much nails it.

  5. Rafe Champion

    Sorry, my bad, a misprint, it is Mr Paul Joseph Watson

  6. Nob

    There’s nothing good and moral about outsourcing compassion to the state.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    McDonalds has been teaching free market economics and the work ethic to whole generations of kids. Good on them for doing so. None of which they will learn at school nowadays.

    Indeed school is where they learn the Marxist green-progressive religion. So many children will spend decades unlearning such “lessons”. It’s sad that they get no choice about such indoctrination.

  8. Overburdened

    Another explainer thing that is redundant to anyone that can see the obvious trajectory over the last 20 years.
    It can only be cognitive bias that would keep anyone continuously hammering away with the vain hope that it will just go away.

  9. Roger

    Far from lacking religion we are assailed by the religions of progressive leftism, radical environmentalism and militant Islamism that are divisive and destructive.

    I suspect Mr. Watson was thinking of another religion altogether.

    And those are ideologies rather than religions, strictly speaking, or, at best, in the case of the first two, ersatz religions for those Westerners who imagine themselves too sophisticated to subscribe to ancient dogmas and verities.

  10. Tel

    Our biggest problem, is we are so short of real problems that we constantly feel the need to invent new problems for ourselves.

  11. Overburdened

    Speaking of redundant how about that away thing. Apologies.
    Since I’ve already made a dick of myself, I will add that I am not an enthusiast for what’s coming.
    It doesn’t matter because people such as myself are watching the sun go down on our journey.
    It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it or if you are satisfied that you have a logical case based on your experience.

  12. egg_

    Our biggest problem, is we are so short of real problems that we constantly feel the need to invent new problems for ourselves.

    +1

    The eco-catastrophists need a rogue asteroid to take their minds off ManBearPig.

  13. Tel

    The eco-catastrophists need a rogue asteroid to take their minds off ManBearPig.

    Not only the nutty Green disaster-porn wrongology (Paul Ehrlich has predicted the end of the world several times already), but plenty of other invented problems.

    The entire history of humanity, it was accepted truth that men and women are somewhat different. Toddlers were taught about it. Traditional family roles formed around this fact, they weren’t tightly enforced but most people went along with it most of the time because it worked. Now suddenly it’s a really big deal that they have slightly different tendencies within the workforce and ha! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT THIS!! The first world is coming to it’s knees beset by first world problems.

    There was a time when the whole idea of insults was very well understood. If you were poor and insulted someone noble they would either kill you or get their horse to kick you in the head, depending on the day. If you were poor and insulted someone poor no one cared. If you were noble and insulted another noble, there would be a dual, one of you would die and life went on.

    Then we shifted to the idea of “Free Speech” where you can say what you like, and the wealthy and powerful can’t clobber you. OK, that seemed like progress. We got taught as kids, “Sticks and stones will break our bones, but names can never hurt us!”

    Now we have outrage mobs on Twitter if you say something the slightest bit removed from the “Progressive” party line. We have struggle sessions and weasel apologies, “If anyone was brain dead enough to be offended, then I insincerely apologize.” People spend their entire lives living off government, and sitting at home trying to destroy other people’s reputations … mostly through dishonest smearing. Like WTF is this supposed to achieve?!?

    Listen to the people going off the handle about what A.I. will do to the world. WE’LL PAY FOR THAT!!

    Then when we run out of ideas … start a new war somewhere, keep the proles occupied (as if that’s going to help the environment).

  14. Antipostmodernism

    Jordan Peterson would say something like this. We should focus more on our own personal development and worry less about out tribal affiliations which can represent the road to hell. Excessive tribalism is like an arms race where we fall into the trap of letting envy and resentment overwhelm our agency to shape our lives, and on a larger scale civilisation is doomed if we can’t accommodate each others needs and wants to a reasonable degree. Individualism is selfish but that’s more good than bad because it means that we have a more depoliticised environment which means less conflict. We become wise enough to blame ourselves or nature for our failures and are energised to learn and be productive. Liberal democracy and capitalism are objectively the best preconditions for us to thrive and the identity politics that has taken hold in the West is childish decadence that abandons enlightenment rationality and casts us back onto a pathway to hell as both individuals and collective humanity.

  15. 2dogs

    The White Man’s Burden is being laid down, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Western Civilisation.

    Custody of its values simply being handed over to Asians. Tiger mums understand well the value of Western Civilisation, and are installing its values in their children. In response, the enemies of Western Civilisation are already attacking them, e.g. “Asian privilege”. But I doubt these attacks will get very far, and that gives me hope.

  16. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    Custody of its values simply being handed over to Asians. Tiger mums understand well the value of Western Civilisation, and are installing its values in their children.

    By Asian’s you mean chinese, yet they can’t even shake off a few communists. They are hopeless beyond normal comprehension, this talk of Tiger moms has no teeth.

    Asians as a group suffer from a cultural lameness that is hard to comprehend.

  17. Zatara

    It might be time for a nice big global depression again so that society relearns what’s really important.

  18. Overburdened

    I think it’s reasonable to conclude that the behaviour of the ruling class in Oz is not mindless stupidity or illogical.
    I think people closer to the core than most of the contributors here have had a change management program running for a long time.

  19. Roger W

    Isn’t Capitalism really only the economic expression of freedom?

  20. Nob

    Free enterprise is normal human behaviour, not a pre-ordained “system”.

  21. Tom

    Isn’t Capitalism really only the economic expression of freedom?

    Correct.

    The rabid advocates of the other “isms” — socialism and communism — have one thing in common: they love political power over others for its own sake and they want to lead (read: enslave) the world in a system that confiscates all private wealth except theirs.

    They’re the crony capitalists who’ve spread out from Silicon Valley to run America’s
    political fashion industry.

  22. 2dogs

    yet they can’t even shake off a few communists.

    I think you mean authoritarians. The so-called Communist Parties in both China and Vietnam are now communist in name only.

    So perhaps your comment here is pointing to a susceptibility of Asian culture to authoritarianism. Certainly, the historical record shows that Asian culture has managed to produce worse despots than European, e.g. Genghis Khan.

    But the then communist but still authoritarian regimes came into China and Vietnam when Western values were still largely novel and foreign ideas to the general populace. Those populations are becoming more resistant to authoritarianism as those values are slowly adopted, e.g. Tiananmen Square

  23. yarpos

    I am always bemused that people think more religion will fix more than it breaks. Its like history and observable current events dont exist. Somehow all will be better if old blokes in robes tell us what to do.

  24. Lutz

    Capitalism is not an ideology – it is what free people do automatically. The term itself was invented by the left so entrepreneurs could be grouped and attacked.

  25. Old School Conservative

    old blokes in robes tell us what to do.

    Is that you, the red bandanad one? All that’s missing from this slur is “sky fairies”.

  26. Ellen of Tasmania

    Well, I couldn’t remember him rubbishing McDonalds, so I had to go and have another watch.

    I don’t think he mentions McDonalds, but he does show a picture of a McDonalds store while mentioning strip malls. I also didn’t remember him actually denigrating capitalism, so much as pointing out that an economic system is not enough to satisfy people’s spiritual longings and give meaning and purpose to life. Nor can it build a rich and wonderful culture, even if it becomes part of it.

    He certainly does get stuck into crony-capitalism – crapitalism – which is what we all labour under now. Why would you not?

    I agree with Roger – he’s not speaking about a loss of any-old-religion, and fanatical devotion to dangerous ideologies become replacements that are part and parcel of our demise.

    Simply stated – not all religions are equal. Not all ideologies are equal. Not all values are equal. Not all cultures are equal.

    It is interesting, that we can all watch the same production and come away with different messages. PJW has his problems, but I don’t think we can fight socialism without recognising that capitalism may be only a small part of the answer.

  27. duncanm

    yarpos
    #2961101, posted on March 17, 2019 at 8:47 am

    I am always bemused that people think more religion will fix more than it breaks. Its like history and observable current events dont exist. Somehow all will be better if old blokes in robes tell us what to do.

    you make an (unintended, I’m sure) good point.

    The religions of greenology, idiotarianism (sp!), and leftology are dangerous indeed.

  28. 2dogs

    Capitalism is not an ideology

    I take the view that the founders of Western Civilization were The Seven Sages. Capitalism is represented in their story by Croesus of Lydia; Croesus had good relations with The Sages, but is not counted amongst them.

  29. Bruce

    Egg posted:

    “…The eco-catastrophists need a rogue asteroid to take their minds off ManBearPig.”

    Now, remind me what “box-ticking” happened and involving what sort of person, in NZ on Friday.

  30. Rabid Koala

    We should focus more on our own personal development and worry less about out tribal affiliations which can represent the road to hell. 

    You might not be interested in the coming tribal wars but that will not stop the muzzies raping your daughter or the Somalis cutting your head off.

    Capitalism is not an ideology – it is what free people do automatically. The term itself was invented by the left so entrepreneurs could be grouped and attacked.

    The term you are looking for is free market. Capitalism is the system we have of government protected corporations with limited liability who are given the same rights as people. That is a very different system to individuals being involved in the free market of buying and selling goods.

  31. Beachcomber

    The term you are looking for is free market.

    Yes, free marketeers is a much better term. It connotes freedom from government control, rather than the privilege of wealth which the left have successfully associated with their own term, capitalism.

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