Fighting Entropy Part 2
By Richard Fernandez in PJ Media and the Belmont Club blog
The reason the press has been trying to corner interviewees into “admitting” that George Bush made erred in toppling Saddam Hussein is the need to reassure themselves that catastrophe in the Middle East isn’t really their fault. The constant need to be told it’s not their doing is a form of denial. The more certain they are of their blunder the more they will need to tell themselves that the sounds they hear aren’t the footfalls of doom.
Because the alternative is to admit the truth and accept that to reverse the tide, 20th century Western liberalism has to die or radically reform itself. None of the people who have built political and establishment media credentials want to hear that, but all the same …
Putin is preparing anew offensive in the summer. Aden is under siege. Syria has returned to using chemical weapons and the Christian Science Monitor’s editorial board says its time to face the fact that very soon the country will implode. China is pushing into the South China Sea. ISIS has routed security forces in Ramadi who are fleeing pell-mell leaving large quantities of US supplied weapons to swell the armories of the jihad, as Hugh Naylor of the Washington Post reports.
The fall of Ramadi represented a huge victory for the Islamic State and dealt a profound blow to Iraq’s U.S.-backed government, led by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, and its military campaign to drive the extremist group out of the war-torn country. Just 24 hours before, officials in Baghdad announced that military reinforcements had been dispatched to defend the city, capital of Iraq’s largest province, against a brutal assault that began on Thursday.
But by Sunday, even the roads to Baghdad, 80 miles to the east, appeared vulnerable to the militant advance.
“Ramadi has fallen,” Muhannad Haimour, a spokesman for the Anbar governor told the Associated Press. “The city was completely taken…It was a gradual deterioration. The military is fleeing.”
The problem isn’t these things of themselves but the fact that nobody in the establishment seems to understand how to react to these and other challenges. As it is, no one knows where this retreat will end. Despite their outward bravado, American liberalism must suspect it could well finish, politically at least, in the New York Times’ newsroom.
ISIS is adapting very quickly and while liberalism is adjusting not at all. Like the need for reassurances on Iraq, the more unsuccessful their projects become the more compelled they are to repeat them. Even now they must pretend that president Obama hasn’t given away the store to Iran in his nuclear negotiations. But come on, they know that he has.
The last Belmont Club post asked: what can defeat ISIS? The answer is a civilization that can adapt faster than it; which can seize free energy more quickly than the current masters of the Jihad; a society that can seize the initiative and not simply be content to reactively “lead from behind”. That eliminates the Western status quo ideology, based on 1930s socialist ideology, from the running. That’s never going to change.
Yet the only way to survive the challenges of the coming years is to change the existing political status quo. The good news is that change is going to happen come what may. The bad news is that the Left, because it is the most mobilized, will probably initiate it.
The classic leftist defense mechanism against a threat is to morph into fascism. It is highly probable that as the West comes under pressure in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East the status quo ideology will become increasingly repressive. This is probably unavoidable. But it is what comes after the eventual collapse of liberal fascism that will either save the world or drown under the surging tide of barbarism. The phase after the collapse of Western fascism will either tend toward a new “dark age” or lead to a new era in prosperity and creativity.
Therefore the solution set consists of those actions that will maximize the exit from the fascist phase on the best possible terms.
In the next few years the political parties of Western Europe and the United States will clamp down hard in an effort to preserve themselves. They will try to square the circle and cobble together a Frankenstein stew of political correctness, repression, dysfunction and temporizing. It will fail, big time and when it does, it will take 20th century liberalism to the trash heap with it.
The challenge before ordinary people is to join actions which will help Europe and North America work its way through this coming episode of psychosis. In general three survivable exits from madness can be attempted.
- Reforming the system through regular political action in a way similar to how the British went from absolutism to a constitutional monarchy. The old system replaces itself with new parts in a more or less peaceful process;
- Creating “monasteries” of survival by establishing affinity groups which preserve culture, technology and values from submergence in the wave of chaos;
- Flight to the frontier. Creating technology that will allow some people to physically escape or hold off barbarism.
Reforming the system through political action is probably the most obvious response and the one people will most commonly use. It means engaging in thankless, often fruitless interaction with the generally dishonest political class, but while it will never deliver as much change as one hopes, it will never be completely fruitless. It does something. Whether it can do enough to help us avoid the crisis entirely remains to be seen. But it should be tried.
Creating monasteries of thought means fully amplifying the social network model by creating affinity group replacements for the Westphalian State. It’s already happening. Christian Health Care Ministries, home-schooling efforts, kidnap and ransom insurance, independent universities, and even local currency are all practical examples of limited replacements for the state that already exist. They are the monastic vessels of the modern world.
The New York Post, for example, describes how Eva Moskowitz helped thousands of kids “escape from public schools” to her Success Academies where kids are taught science, math, physics, code in computer languages and play chess. You can think of many such institutions. Just as the Irish monks saved Western knowledge from pirates and raiders, so too is preservation in the hands of latter-day monks.
The monastery technique often goes unnnoticed but it is more widespread than we think. In Iraq or any other conflict torn area, affinity groups (such as the Kurds), tribal militias, barter trades and informal method of governance arise spontaneously to supplant the state. During World War 2 in Europe similar institutions arose. The United States, by its federal design, is in many ways designed to operate at a subsidiary level. If political action is not for you, try being a modern monk. Ultimately even the Mongol hordes were held back by stubborn tribesmen or bands of families making a stand in the steep hills.
The last method — reaching for the frontier — relies on the fact that disruptive technology has played a decisive role in human survival. It is the creative antithesis of barbarism. The mastery of navigation, the Green Revolution, the discovery of antibiotics, the computing revolution were in hindsight the ways in which mankind warded off the insanity of rulers and passed through the valley of the shadow of death. Robotics, nanotechnology, new power technologies, and even travel to other planets may play a similarly decisive role in the future.
People have always made for the frontier in times of trouble. Even though the world has no more new frontiers upon its surface, there are still inner frontiers and of course, the cosmos.
Things are not hopeless, nor even gloomy. Not in the historical sense, anyway. Be any of these three things: politically involved, a monk or a frontiersman and have some assurance that you are contributing to your children’s survival. Do any of these things and you will help build a civilization that can out-evolve ISIS or failing that, quit this sad old earth and head for the stars.
Only do not become like the hacks and celebrities of liberalism who prance across our screens. They are the past. Leave them there.