Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Barbarism and the Global Village

Jerry Stratton, December 5, 2018

Bill Moyers once joked that:

It strikes me that Marshall McLuhan was right when he said that television has made a global village of the world… but he didn’t know the global village would be Beirut. — Bill Moyers (The Power of Myth)

The same could be said of the European Union in general and open borders globalization in particular: that rather than advancing civilization or even merely leveling civilization to a global average, their policy of destroying national identity and national sovereignty undercuts the foundations of civilization and collapses it to the lowest common denominator.

The lowest common denominator is mobs, violence and murder as a response to disagreements. That this resembles the barbarism that refugees want sanctuary from is no coincidence. By making no attempt to sort refugees from thugs, we’re providing no refuge to refugees. We’re abandoning them to the thugs they’re fleeing.

The cynic who wrote that progressives hate civilization might argue that this is the purpose of open borders. Thomas Sowell might argue that its proponents simply can’t perceive—it cannot penetrate their worldview—that a policy with such good intentions could have such evil results.

Whether they are willfully or congenitally ignorant, the fact remains that the more we dismantle the nation-state in favor of non-existent borders, the more civilization suffers and the more it must suffer. Without national pride, there is no reason to maintain the foundations of the nation, even the good foundations such as democracy, freedom of speech, and the rule of law. These are the values of civilization, and they are not shared by all cultures. Most of them are unnatural values. They must be taught.

Democracy asserts the value of freedom; identity gives a reason for freedom… At stake is not only what your life is like but what your life is for… Without identity, a democracy becomes incapable of defending even the values it holds most dear. — Natan Sharansky (Defending Identity)

The core of civilization is a nation of laws that protects individuals from mobs. It does so by providing a clear alternative to mob behavior. The mob can take many forms: religious killings, honor killings, or even acquiescence to religious and honor killings. The mob can be organized crime, it can be the administrative state over-ruling democratic elections, and it can even be pure majority rule, especially when outside the political process. Having two sets of rules, one for the anointed and another for everyone else, is not civilization.

There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob. — G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)

The core of civilization is that there are alternatives to mob rule, that mobs are not necessary to avenge violence. Politicians pay lip service to understanding this when they caution us not to take out our anger over terrorism on Muslims whenever there’s another terrorist attack by Muslim extremists.

Hondurans cross Tecun Uman border

Tijuana residents wish Guatemala had better border walls.

It’s easy for them to say this because this form of retaliation doesn’t happen—yet. They’re literally preaching to the converted, taking the easy way out by asking those who still believe in civilization to continue constraining themselves within the rules of civilization. They ignore at our peril that the terrorist attack is an attack upon civilization, and that failing to condemn the roots of terrorism, failing to condemn terrorist ideology, means succumbing to the barbarism that civilization is supposed to counter.

Blaming victims for expecting justice is barbarism. If mobs are allowed free reign, if they are not held accountable for being mobs, the only protection against them is more mobs.

When we ignore laws—when we pretend, for example, that illegal immigrants have not committed a crime or that it is a greater good to ignore murder by illegal immigrants than to enforce the laws against crossing borders illegally, identity theft, human trafficking of women and children, even murder—we are destroying civilization. We are destroying the progress of centuries when we act as if borders are unnecessary and laws only apply to those who follow them.

Borders share a very important feature with money: they are fictions that exist only as long as we pretend they exist. Borders are lines on a piece of paper; they only exist if enforced. Civilization cannot survive if we fail to value civilized culture within our borders and instead privilege barbarism. Doing nothing to stop barbarism is privileging barbarism, because barbarians ignore both written and unwritten rules unless they are enforced.

Civilization cannot survive if we cease to believe that more civilized is better than less civilized, or if we believe that such distinctions must not be made at all. This is privileging barbarism.

Civilization must be learned. That’s what assimilation is: people who have never experienced this level of concentrated civilization learning what it means to tolerate free speech, free association, free religion. When we denigrate assimilation, when we promote sectionalism and identity politics, we denigrate civilization and promote barbarism.

Civilized nationalism—nationalism by border rather than by ancestry—is not natural. When the United States entered the first World War, Germans were surprised that Americans of German descent considered themselves American, not German.

Only a few of the men are genuine Americans by ancestry, the majority is of German, Dutch, or Italian parentage; but these half-Americans… consider themselves unhesitatingly as genuine sons of America. — Leutnant von Buy (Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality)

The way Von Buy worded his comment betrays the more natural, barbarian, feeling that the only “genuine” identity is one’s ancestry, with all the generational grudges that implies. Bearing grudges for things that happened hundreds of years ago is not civilized. Civilization benefits us by overcoming that natural barbarian tendency to never-ending violence that, even now, still goes on in some countries—and is being imported here.

Most of the values that keep us from descending into barbarism go against basic human nature. When we elevate those who come here illegally—and who have no respect for our laws—over those who came here legally, and who do, we are promoting barbarism.

Free speech is civilization. But free speech is not an obvious solution to disagreements. Resort to the rule of law is not an obvious solution to punishing bad behavior. Throughout human history, the response to disagreements, the response to perceived bad behavior, has been to respond with violence. This is the opposite of civilization. Without a culture of free speech people resort to violence when they hear things they disagree with; without a culture of respect for the rule of law people resort to violence when they see things they think are wrong.

Without a culture of free debate, people respond with violence when they feel someone has shamed them. Without a culture of free debate, people believe that disagreement is disrespect. Being offended because someone disagrees with you is barbarism. It is also human nature. Open debate is not an obvious solution to disagreements. It has taken centuries for western culture to build the walls of civilization to the point where disagreements are met with free speech and debate rather than violence and intimidation. And where free speech and debate are met with more free speech and debate rather than a mob’s rage or a duel at twenty paces.

Too many on the left believe that it is racist to educate people on what barbarism is and to expect people of all cultures to act civilized—to respect the rights of others and to defer to the rule of law over the rule of man. The anointed are so racist they believe people who come here from other cultures cannot act civilized, cannot learn civilization.

The end will be a dark age, and it will be all the worse for those who deliberately tried to escape from barbarism into civilization. When the left says that we shouldn’t hold people from other cultures accountable to civilized behavior, the people hurt most are those who tried to escape those cultures in order to benefit from civilized behavior. People terrorized by the same barbarians they tried to escape.

The left’s policies of anti-assimilation and cultural relativism isolate immigrants who came here because they don’t want barbarism. Afraid to speak out because they see treats people who tell the truth about barbarism. They see how the establishment in politics and the media kowtows to their persecutors, even treats their persecutors as spokesmen for their communities. If they call attention to the barbarism in their community, they will be targeted both by the barbarians and by the media. And the political correctness that the left uses to paralyze law enforcement means that many refugees have no protection from retaliation.

The left tells us we need to accept the oppression of women among those whose culture requires it—even as far as accepting female genital mutilation. They tell us we must accept barbaric behavior from other cultures, that there is no barbarism, just different cultures. Where does this end? The left likes to frame their barbarism as compassion, but compassion to barbarians is not compassion to their victims.

Civilization is a wall that provides sanctuary from barbarism. If the establishment left and the media weren’t destroying civilization, there’d be far less need for walls of metal and stone.

The elites, unlike the masses, can usually escape the consequences of big ideas. — Mark Steyn (Passing Parade)

In response to Nobody wants immigration reform: “Immigration is not a problem to be solved.” A confident and successful electorate could understand that issues are more important than who you hate. Unreasoning partisanship, however, is a problem that often seems as if it has no solution.

  1. <- No sanctuary without walls