“The future belongs to those who show up.”
—Mark Steyn, GB News, June 14, 2022

It seems to be a recurring theme of free societies in the modern age that they are often the last ones to realize they are at war.

In 1933, America, England, France, and the other nations which had won the First War wanted no part of another one. People naturally felt that millions had already died; why more? But the Führer, who had suffered the same battles and festered in the same trenches, shared none of their revulsion for war. He believed that only more battles were the answer. With every violation of the Versailles Treaty, act of re-armament, and blood-curdling rally, the former Allies never even mustered serious diplomatic protest. If there was a problem, it was at the other end of an ocean, a channel, or a border. The louder Hitlerian intentions were shouted, they thought, the less seriously they should be taken. Yet “Peace for our time” meant exactly what it said: “our” time and “our” values. Hitler, however, lived in his own time and had his own values. And by 1939, it was too late. Appeasement and disapproving statements made no difference. The West was at war.

Decency perceived as weakness

Since 1945, the West has arguably become the victim of its own decency. As it was for Neville Chamberlain in 1938, peace (correctly) is still a Western value. The West is a cooperative, not an adversarial, civilization, whose wealth and success are built upon the peaceful, voluntary exchange of required or desired goods. Today, however, many if not most of the societies the West has welcomed into the United Nations General Assembly ascribe to the adversarial system, in which wealth and power are obtained through violence and theft. Diplomacy and tolerance, to them, are virtues of the already defeated.

Not long before his attempt to steal a fifth of the world’s oil industry for himself, Saddam Hussein chided American ambassador April Glaspie that “Yours is a society which cannot accept 10,000 dead in one battle.” The West’s concern for life and belief in the value of the individual, he believed, was its Achilles’ heel. In the short term, of course, Saddam’s heartless boast ended up as famous last words: his invasion of Kuwait, met with rare Western decisiveness, was a military catastrophe which his regime barely survived.

Yet, a generation later, those humane values have been perverted against themselves. While no American should ever scoff at any person’s death—let alone 10,000—moral clarity has been replaced by mere moral ideals. Western humility has, through decades of KGB propaganda and academic misinformation, become the basis of moral malaise. For the West to believe in itself as a good place, and a source of good for the rest of the world, is derided as primitive, “Eurocentric” bigotry. And decent people, appalled at the idea of being unkind to other societies, force themselves to agree. But the very moral idea of a bully—like Saddam—being villainous is itself a Western one. Western civilization is based upon the Ten Commandments, not on which warlord has plundered the most from whom. Now, under the spell of this self-loathing, the bullies’ victims are taught to see fighting back as the true sin. Retrospectively, the Nazis would be the victims and the British the crazed killers.

Threatened from all sides

The 1930s have, in part, returned; and while the menaces are many more, just as then, little is being done to combat them. And what complicates any plan of response is that so much of what seeks to conquer the West comes from within.

Mass immigration from cultures in which every prejudice the Second World War was fought to destroy are part of everyday life makes liberal societies’ values of equal justice and rule of law foreign in their own lands. Leftist sympathizers with the enemy span the breadth of “educated” society, who, in the quest for absolute power, use as human shields, battering rams, and cannon fodder all the “oppressed” peoples about whom they claim to care. And retrograde reactionaries (out of deluded spite, never above sympathy with the enemy themselves) retreat into conspiratorial, isolationist schizophrenia and are resolved, at best, only to fight small portions of the coming war. 

Western civilization is based upon the Ten Commandments, not on which warlord has plundered the most from whom.

These delusions corrupt so much of Euro-American civilization that Winston Churchill might well today be hanged as an “infidel,” “racist,” “traitor,” or all three for demanding “victory at all costs.”

The far enemy

The West—comprised of America, Europe, its former imperial dominions, and Israel—is also beset from outside. The main driver is weakness. The effects of prolonged socialism, ruinous economic policies, Marxist cultural rot, a politicized and useless educational system, the despondency which comes from far-off success, and mirror-image reactions to these failures, among much more, signal a society’s decline. Smelling blood, the predators converge toward what they see as a crippled civilization—in fact, one crippled by its own hand.

Abroad, a new evil “axis” has emerged comprising Russia, China, and the worldwide agents of jihad, led by Iran. This alliance, as unlikely and awkward as its counterpart nearly a century ago, is born of international isolation and a common cause to destroy its once-dominant rivals.

The “old” enemy, Russia, seeks to restore a bygone empire of terror. The “new” one, China, aspires to a new empire stretching across the Pacific and even beyond. And the enemy which seems “newest”—but is actually the oldest—now represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, and their regional proxies, per the Qur’an’s command, dreams of a world ruled by Islam.

All three entities desire as much of the globe as they can snatch, but the majority of their influence is maintained “softly”: through bribery, strategic debt bondage, disinformation, financing of home-grown anti-Western movements, purchasing Western institutions’ support, and more. Still, these united enemies have many differences: Islam’s contempt for communist atheism, China’s genocidal fears of Uyghur separatism, Russia’s hatred for its rebellious Muslim population, and long-standing Sino-Russian mutual loathing, to name a few. So many are their differences and areas of distrust that one could ask if these powers comprise one front or two. Foreign policy experts can legitimately debate this question, because each actor has its own distinct interests, which can conceivably clash. Still, the fundamental fact is that the old-style, centralized, imperial aspirations of Russia and China are (for now) compatible with the subversive aims of global, borderless Islam.

The 1930s have, in part, returned; and while there are many more dangers, just as then, little is being done to combat them.

It is also possible that, in their arrogance, the Chinese and Russians believe they can control their Muslim allies, and even defeat them once the West is finally vanquished. As the world saw during the Soviets’ disastrous invasion of Afghanistan, they are mistaken. Jihad—where the delights of the next world repay the sacrifices of this one—is very often stronger than regular armies. The worldwide caliphate, regardless of sect or which government directs it, if not confronted, will win in the end.

The far enemy comes near

Coming forth from abroad, migration by the many millions from societies which often condemn the West’s values threatens social cohesion, especially in Europe. First encouraged to support the unsustainable socialist welfare state, these “guest workers”—frequently the biggest welfare recipients themselves—never left.

Some assimilate, but many do not, and sometimes insulate themselves into “no-go zones,” where ruling civil and criminal laws do not apply. Though the West’s unique idea of citizenship is completely non-racial and meritocratic, objective, non-racial concern over this demographic shift is denounced as unacceptable.

That gangs of Muslim men, for example, groomed, trafficked, and raped countless underage girls in northern British cities for years does not matter: both the police and media have refused to see that this type of “multi-culturalism” was impossible. So, too, when visible acts of jihad occur (the rapes technically counting as jihad behind closed doors), the suspects’ motives remain “unclear.”

This new electorate has also arguably pushed Western governments toward more anti-Western policies, such as anti-Zionism. And, in the face of this assault, European populations, for so many decades neutered by the self-centered “present-tense” psychology of socialism, are neither having children nor showing significant interest in maintaining their morally superior values. As commentator Mark Steyn said of the Scottish fertility rate (1.31 children per woman in 2021), “The future belongs to those who show up, and the Scots aren’t showing up.”

The near enemy

At home, the most privileged among us are indoctrinated to loath their own civilization based upon exaggerated remembrances of its genuine past shortcomings. They are taught to adopt a soulless narcissism which whittles morality itself down to little more than the chance to be the protest heroes society largely no longer needs.

Indeed, they are not without support. Copious funding from Islamic dictatorships and communist syndicates helped such ingrates usurp much of American higher education in the space of one semester, while terrified yet sympathetic administrators hid and lied for them. Openly supporting designated terrorist organizations and throwing tantrums that Israelis were not dying in exponentially larger numbers than their murderers, the ingrates were mostly let loose to encamp and riot. Even though it contravenes (already childish) university speech codes, such “hate” is evidently only hateful if it is against people useful to the West’s adversaries. Similarly, astounding moral atrocities—Arab slavery in Africa, the imprisonment of political dissidents in China, Islamic child marriage, human trafficking on the U.S. southern border, and the mass rape of innocents in Israel—elicit no pity on their part, because their perpetrators, like themselves, are enemies of the West.

Further, on the established governmental level, leftist politicians bow not only before the near enemies—the overgrown children whose miseducation they enabled—but also the far enemies. In 2010, the Obama administration sold a Russian state-owned company approximately 20% of America’s uranium reserves. In 2015, it signed a Munich-style pact with Iran allowing it to produce nuclear warheads. Later that year, Angela Merkel opened Germany’s borders to unvetted, unrestricted migration. In 2021, the Biden administration withdrew from Afghanistan while leaving the Taliban priceless American weapons. In 2022, it waived Trump-era sanctions against Iran. In 2023, it sought to renew a deal which would allow China to steal more sensitive American technology. And, in 2024, it threatened to withhold shipment of vital bombs to Israel if it dared strike harder against Hamas.

As their appeasement of Iran and Hamas demonstrates, the politicians, too, seem to delude themselves that the Islamic powers can be harnessed or controlled with money and treaties. In reality, of course, just like the Chinese and Russians, they will be eaten, too—if, maybe, last. The same can be said of the Biden administration’s cowardly eagerness to cooperate with the Chinese-dominated World Health Organization and world government-advocating World Economic Forum, a body which welcomed Iran’s vile foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian—killed in the same helicopter accident as President Ibrahim Raisi—as an honored speaker.

Also at home, America’s most discredited political movement is being cleaned of its 1930s dust. Once buried by the realities of Soviet proxy aggression and then largely irrelevant in the years after 9/11, Lindberghian isolationism has rocketed again to popularity among “populist” pseudo-conversatives like Tucker Carlson.

Like their predecessors, they insist that the West’s overseas enemies should be left to themselves. Even worse, they share the same naïveté which defines their more guileless leftist counterparts. They, too, believe that Russia, China, and Iran hold up peace as superior to war, and only go to war in response to undue provocation. In addition to his bizarre and misinformed praise for Russia, Carlson himself has even swallowed the Chomskyite communist lie that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not just unnecessary but “evil.” The chief irony is that the only people who have ever been isolationists are Americans—never Nazis, Japanese imperialists, Muslims, or international Marxists. For them, as classicist Paul Cartledge described the ancient Greeks, “Peace was an interruption of war, rather than vice versa.” It was through the policy of peace through strength that Soviet communism collapsed, yet isolationists would prefer to dismantle Western military might and the deterrence which provably keeps peace.

The last great wave of American isolationism was immolated in the burning remains of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Now resurgent, it must be feared that another Pearl Harbor, or many, will be what immolates this new one. For we know the only “enemies” they are ready to fight are AIPAC and the “extinction” of white people. And if the West’s lack of borders genuinely horrifies them as much as advertised, then they can rest assured that withdrawing from the world’s problems will make no difference. Those problems are already here.

Why is failure an option?

On November 7, 2023, the cenotaph in the center of the northern English city of Rochdale was sprayed with the words “Free Palestine.” Rochdale was among the several towns in which Muslim rape gangs trafficked their child concubines unimpeded for years. That a hallowed monument dedicated to the courage of “the men of Rochdale who gave their lives in the Great War” should be daubed with a phrase symbolizing the very opposite is cruelly fitting. Perhaps no image can more perfectly illustrate a war against a once-great, now surrendering, West. Those who intend to show up are indeed seizing the future from those who do not.

A police officer stands bewildered before the Rochdale cenotaph, daubed with the slogan “Free Palestine”—November 7, 2023. (X)

With few (if any) Churchills this side of the horizon, is there hope? For now, Chamberlainian appeasement is all the world can expect in the face of the most concerted and complex example of civilizational war in history. If the will to fight is not there, then, like France in 1940, the West itself will fall.

If, however, there are still those left who grasp what they are likely to lose—that the West is humanity’s greatest, most righteous achievement—then perhaps our society’s finest hour is yet to come. If we honor our cenotaphs, then we will have the self-respect and confidence never to break when the storm comes. If we are willing to truly understand our enemy and are resolved to deny them our humiliation, then there is hope. Fighting back at all is what terrifies bullies the most. Fighting back is what will bring us to the “broad, sunlit uplands” Western civilization is due.