“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost?”
That is a lightning-bolt statement. Yet many pundits rejected it—and thereby answered the question.
It was made by United States President Donald Trump in a speech in Warsaw, Poland, on July 6. “We write symphonies. We pursue innovation,” he said. “We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers. We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.”
I found these words refreshing, considering how much Western civilization is denigrated today. Having embraced relativism and multiculturalism, orthodox thought now is that all other cultures are not just excellent, but superior—and Judeo-Christian culture is inherently impure and inferior.
This self-loathing is terribly destructive. Values that have underpinned our society for generations are being challenged. Our educational system indoctrinates students in hatred for the English-speaking peoples’ contribution to civilization.
President Trump’s favorable description of a culture worth defending triggered alarm bells for those who view Western civilization as inherently evil and racist. Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post accused the president of blowing “the loudest of dog whistles … that swells the chests of white nationalists everywhere.” Salon.com excoriated him for speaking as though symphonies, innovation and exploration “were unique qualities to white-dominated nations, instead of universal truths of the human race across all cultures.” People worldwide can celebrate and praise their own cultures, but when America’s president does it, it is racist.
This sanctimony is all the more outrageous when you consider what these same liberals are willing to tolerate, even celebrate. The Washington Post criticized the president for praising the symphony. Meanwhile, look at popular culture in America: crude, vulgar, appealing to the very worst of the human spirit. It degrades; it demeans; it debases—much of it dishonors women and exalts excess, criminality and greed. How can the left overlook all this immorality, misogyny and bigotry, yet consider it racist to praise the symphony?
Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Strong education—a value foundational to civilization—is treated with contempt among many of our youth. Values like hard work and diligent study are a joke. Academic standards are plummeting. Classrooms across America are yielding to bedlam, governed by students with no interest in learning. And when students don’t perform well, liberals are always quick to offer explanations (excuses) that absolve students of responsibility: poverty (never mind that poor people in other countries manage to become educated); family problems;racist tests; racist teachers. In California, only 25 percent of African-American boys meet state reading standards. Why? Learning to read isn’t hard: People worldwide do it all the time. Global literacy is over 86 percent, according to unesco. But these students are growing up in a culture that has grown hostile to the things that underpin our civilization.
Even being able to express oneself with good English—teaching youths to speak in a way that lifts them out of degradation and opens doors of opportunity in society—is viewed as cultural imperialism. Liberals will excuse rank obscenity, disrespect and insolence, even sexual license, drug abuse, criminality and rioting. In so many cases, to even name the problem is to be labeled a racist. If you say that kids in inner cities need to stop shooting each other and start studying, try to make something of their lives and become productive members of society, you are racist. If people recognize these as problems at all, they inevitably blame society.
What other society has ever treated itself with such contempt?
How can we defend “our values” at any cost when we can’t even define them? Traditional family? We stopped defending that long ago. The rule of law? That is being undermined at every turn. Innovation—ancient heroes—timeless traditions and customs—exploring and discovering new frontiers? Wait—are you suggesting these are unique to white-dominated nations?
People bristle at the very notion of absolute value. No matter what you may suggest as one of “our values,” someone will challenge it. Someone will tell you that this positive thing is actually toxic, racist and destructive. Then he will insist that some terrible, evil thing is actually good.
The Prophet Isaiah said, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Woe! You can’t have a civilization that confuses good with evil, that can’t discern between darkness and light or between sweet and bitter. You must be able to recognize what is actually good and evil. You must value reality and truth. Otherwise, what woe you will have! You will attack the good, exalt the bad, shoot out the light, walk in darkness, and fill your life with bitterness! You will be continually undermining your own civilization.
This is exactly what is happening in America. To answer “the fundamental question of our time,” when a culture comes to hate itself as much as its enemies do, it cannot survive.