In a post a few months ago, while developing a metaphor involving collapsing stars, I commented on the vulnerabilities of the load-bearing structures that support a civilization’s weight:
Given that what gives a culture its form is essentially ‘memetic’ — an aggregation of ideas, lore, mythos, history, music, religion, duties, obligations, affinities, and aversions shared by a common people — an advanced civilization is subject to corrosion and decomposition by ideas. And the most corrosive of all such reagents in the modern world is one that our own culture bequeathed to itself in the Enlightenment: the elevation of skepsis to our highest intellectual principle.
Radical doubt, as it turns out, is a “universal acid”: given enough time, there is no container that can hold it. Once doubt is in control, there is no premise, no tradition, nor even any God that it cannot dissolve. Once it has burned its way through theism, telos, and the intrinsic holiness of the sacred, leaving behind a only a dessicated naturalism, its action on the foundations of culture accelerates briskly, as there is little left to resist it.
Because it is in the nature of doubt to dissolve axioms, the consequence of the Enlightenment is that all of a civilization’s theorems ultimately become unprovable. This is happening before our eyes. The result is chaos, and collapse.
Some time earlier, in the wake of the Boston bombings, I had also cooked up another metaphoric description of the lethal memetic pathogen affecting the West. I called it Cultural Immunodeficiency Virus, or CIV. (See here.)
Somehow, though, an obvious coinage escaped me until just now. If HIV causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a.k.a. ‘AIDS’, then the disease now killing Europe — which is caused, as described above, by CIV, a universal memetic acid — has an obvious name: Acquired Cultural Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or ‘ACIDS’. (We might prefer ‘ACID Syndrome’.)
I hereby bequeath this meme to the dissident Right, free of charge.
How I could have missed this for so long escapes me. As they say down South, if it was a snake, it would’ve bit me.