Last night I sat up late, ruminating on Tuesday’s result, and weighing defiance against despair.
I thought about how the tone and content of this blog (which are of course just a mirror of the tone and content of its author) had been taken over, more and more as years went by, by the need to understand and resist the deadly disease afflicting America and the West.
In its early days this website was a very different place, which must mean that I too was in some important sense a very different person. The content was broadly varied (see, for example, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). I wrote about philosophy, the nature of mind, music, chess, martial arts, inner work, evolution, the absurdity of the passing scene, and much more.
There was a lightness of spirit here that is now largely gone, displaced by a grim concern for the great calamity of our time: the slow and deliberate suicide of our nation and of its rootstock, the high civilization of the West. I had many interesting commenters, back then, who don’t come around any more. I miss them. (Browse our early archives, and you’ll see what I mean.)
If it is to be despair or defiance, give me defiance. Despair is death, and we must choose life. We must do what we can, and we must continue to speak the truth, no matter the cost. (Indeed, this watershed election makes clear that we now have nothing to lose by frank and unapologetic consistency with our axioms: we ran a man who was more willing to compromise and dilute conservatism than any conservative ought to be, and we lost nevertheless.) We must also find a way to survive among the ruins, and to preserve what we can of our fallen society, and the timeless principles that once made it great. That requires that we continue to analyze, understand, and explain the political, ideological, and demographic forces that drive the accelerating changes all around us, and that those of us who are committed to building some sort of ark in which our civilization can ride out the Flood must brace ourselves to this duty. We’ve been beaten, yes, roundly and soundly. But we aren’t dead!
So: if we will not despair, then it is vital for the battered spirit to remember that there is still light and beauty in the world, and boundless opportunity for wonder and fascination, for love and laughter. There is much more to life than this grim struggle, and it’s time to pay attention once again to good things long neglected around here.