20 October 2016

"... We'll all be rooned", said Hanrahan, "Before the year is out."

Things sure do look like they're going to ruin on planet Earth at the moment:
  • Russia seems intent on provocatively escalating its saber rattling in the Baltic, Syria and Ukraine.
  • China is aggressively asserting its hegemonic claims in the South China Sea and seems to have incomprehensibly large domestic debt problems.
  • Iran is now actively developing a nuclear warhead capability, unrestrained by the international community. 
  • North Korea is testing nuclear capable ballistic missiles that can reach Japan and beyond.
  • The interminable war with Islamic extremism intensifies yet again. This time its Mosul, Iraq.
  • Aleppo, Syria is being bombed into oblivion in the proxy millennial war between Sunni and Shiite
  • Britain has voted to Brexit. 
  • France is on a path to electing Marine Le Pen.
  • Academia in the West is progressively and inexorably losing whatever slight grip it may have had on reality. Each day we seem to read yet another story of an educational institution abrogating its responsibility to maintain high standards for scholastic achievement. This adds to the mounting evidence that relativism, diversity and subjectivity are becoming the prevailing educational benchmarks.  A lack of regard for intellectual rigour is now coupled with widespread spineless institutional concessions to strident student demands for restrictions on the exercise of fundamental academic freedoms, to make mediocrity the new academic norm, even in formerly prestigious seats of higher learning. 
  • And the media screams dis-proportionally louder each day exaggerating beat ups of claims of Muslim victimization, refugee mistreatment, gender bias and impending climate catastrophe.
  • Meanwhile Donald and Hilary just call each other names and complain about each other's family's sexual misconduct and mendacity. And the US grinds relentlessly sideways with almost a decade of anemic growth and ugly racial and gender discord increasingly dogging its communities. 
It looks like we're all going to continue to be losers whoever wins on 8 November.

Moral indignation, fear and loathing seem to be everywhere and unusually loud, random and disorientating at present. What's a person to do in the face of all this ruin?

Is  this all just a symptom of pessimistic present-ism? Or should we all just curl up in a ball, play RPGs, watch sport, surf shopping sites, or read social media and blogs?

Hah. In the midst of these melancholy thoughts I was heartened to happen upon this blog post: "Screwtape and the Human Wave" at the blog Cat Rotator's Quarterly (Lid Dip to Instapundit and Sarah A Hoyt) . Here's my takeaway from the post (which refers to CS Lewis's famous Screwtape letters and also takes you to ancient Norse sagas):
... Are we doomed? Well, since life has a 100% probability of ending in death thus far*, yes. Is the US and it’s version of Western Civilization doomed? No. We survived the Thirty Years War, we survived the Black Death and the slow-motion disaster that was the Fall of Rome – Western Edition, we survived WWI and WWII, although with a gaping spiritual wound that some people only recognized about 10-15 years ago. We will survive Marxism and the return of collective thinking, of those who would pit man against woman and neighbor against neighbor for their own gain.
It will not be easy. Dragging civilization out of the shadows never is. Fighting a battle that may be lost so that others will take heart and carry on the fight is hard...
So the message is to keep up the struggle even if all appears doomed. Somebody might just be sufficiently heartened by some small sign of self belief and self sacrificial honour, to actually lift themselves out of the mire one more time, and assume personal responsibility for carrying the flame into tomorrow.

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