In recent decades, Western culture has undergone dramatic changes. Radical new elites have broken down historical values in order to create a new world order with new sets of ethics. They have pushed for strong global worldviews, and the current establishment now dominates the public through tight control over the media. We are profoundly challenged by an authoritarian liberal extremism.
Just as the early form of Capitalism won the battle as the ruling economic model, the extreme liberals won the social revolution in the West. They have brutally implemented their ideology, smothering opposition. The hope was to produce a utopian, internationalist society where religion no longer existed, the traditional family was dissolved, national borders disappeared and everyone lived together in peace and harmony. This was backed by the economic elites, who profited from the gains of a globalist structure. It can be argued that even though the pre-globalist society was not in any way perfect, the post-internationalist extreme-liberal society displays such a blatantly worse, shocking lack of morality and solidarity that we wish for the past as the lesser evil.
We did not enter a world of paradise, but returned to feudality, bound to the lords of debt, suffering under the break-down of marriage while mental and psychological illnesses, drug abuse and family tragedies explode. Man is enslaved yet again in a cunning system of political repression. Society crumbles under the weight of financial crisis, a perverted Capitalism based on greed and abuse is hailed as the new norm in a culture of decadence, hedonism, war, racial clashes and social upheaval. This is happening while the ultra-rich Western elites carefully assemble the wealth into their own hands. Only a few individuals now own more than half of world assets, according to Oxfam. The same elites own much of the mainstream media and easily push the narrative and political agenda to benefit their own dreams of world dominion.
Many feel that our culture has been hijacked and poisoned by ideologies and collections of beliefs that have destabilized society and weakened the very fabric of who we are. The divide between the elite's perspectives and the people's are growing, as free speech is increasingly strangled in a culture of repressive political correctness. The West calls itself liberal but is in effect permeated by remarkably illiberal values towards those whose opinions differ from the politically correct. The host of the liberal talk show "The Rubin Report", Dave Rubin famously speaks about "the regressive Left".
There is a deep lack of respect buried in the rudeness practiced in today's Western definition of "free speech." Freedom of expression has become the right to mock, bully and belittle those you disagree with – and preferably remove them from the public sphere, turning even the concept of free speech into a totalitarian tool to silence opposition. Not to mention the respect for religious freedom – Christians and other believers are flat out bullied in ways that remind us of Emperor Nero in ancient Rome. He allegedly used to place Christians on poles and lit the fire, much like what is done in the Middle East. We have become the victims of our own rebellious age, suffering under the repressive system we created. Is this democracy, the rule of the people?
It is quite clear that the modern definition of liberalism lay far from its original meaning. When John Locke defined the rights of men, he spoke of individual rights and corresponding duties and responsibilities carried out in society. His "liberalism" was not devoid of morality, like the permissiveness that now permeates our culture. Tolerance did not mean the right to shut down and silence those who oppose the nihilist worldview. In its original form, tolerance implied both parties are politely respecting each other's difference and allowing each other to coexist, with respect for the existing pluralism in the world.
The same is true for Capitalism, asserting the individual's right to own the fruits of his labor. This economic model developed in coherence with the Protestant ethic, focusing on trust, reliability, hard work as a virtue. Capitalism functioned quite well as individuals participating in its free enterprise were largely trustworthy with the aim of helping society to prosper. To a large degree, the system self-regulated, the wrongdoer was punished, the liar stopped. Today, we have a Capitalism that is characterized by an acceptance of selfishness and lack of responsibility. Political leaders remain in office regardless of the magnitude of the "Watergate scandals", which is deeply problematic.
The mainstream contempt for the values that once made our culture world-leading makes it hard even to be proud of historical values. Even celebrating religious festivities such as Christmas and Easter is looked upon with skepticism. We shun away from teaching our children the great stories of the founding fathers and the great kings, the very fabric of what it means to stand together as a culture. Religious values are belittled by the elites even if around 75 percent of European people adhere to the Christian faith and approximately the same number in the US, according to Pew Research Centre Forum. The contempt for the voice of the people is all too obvious.
The new world order seems to unify Western elites across the political spectrum. The traditional European Right–Left or US' Republican-Democrat divide, is increasingly outdated as liberals and conservatives have downloaded the same extreme-liberal account. The Left is not standing up for its originally constructive anti-war, solidarity with the poor, defending the working-class ideals. The Right silently accepts an increasingly hedonistic way of life combined with a ruthless Capitalism devoid of morality and neoconservative thought with no regard for the sovereignty of nations. Our elites clearly scrap the international law and the respect for those who live in other parts of the world. Whoever has the biggest bomb, crushes the other as if holding the moral high ground no longer defines the winner. Well, that, of course, remains to be seen.
It becomes clear that the current clash of values, between a nihilist liberalism, founded in a perverted form of Capitalism, versus the historical ideals of at least a minimum sum of decency that once characterized the West. It can be argued that even though the pre-globalist society was not in any way perfect, the post-internationalist nihilist society displays such a blatantly worse, shocking lack of morality and solidarity that we wish for the past as the lesser evil.
Hanne Nabintu Herland, historian of religions and author of "The Culture War. How the West lost its greatness" www.theherlandreport.com