Sunday, 5 August 2007

Weak America = Weak Europe?

A CiF article by Christoph Bertram results in an extremely interesting comments thread. Many thoughtful posts - the following, from 'longsword', will especially interest Emmett:

'I think this article largely misses the point. The Modern Era is over, the era of the West's global hegemony is past as the Planetary Era is forming, and those historical types formed in and by this amazing 500-year long run are now history's past men and women, obsolete types. And in their heart of hearts, they know it, which is why they desparately seek even by militant means, to extend the Era indefinitely into the future, by any means fair or foul.

'There is more to the "postmodern" moment than just some fancy of philosophy. Postmodernism means, that Promethean Man (fore-thought) has shot his wad, and is now succeeded by his foolish brother, Epimetheus, (after-thought) or what's a Pandora's Box but the horrible human catastrophe that has become the Iraq War? In just the same way, Parzifal, the fool who became a knight and marks the beginning of the Middle Ages, ends as Don Quixote, the knight who becomes a fool once more. Inspiration and expiration. The rhythm of history is like respiration.

'"Modern man" is a decadent and obsolete historical type, and one now thoroughly discredited. Unable to reach his "superior moral virtues", he now calls for the "normalisation of the double standard" in international affairs -- the hypocrite made normal type at "the end of history". In other words, the Modern type no longer has the courage or energy at all to reconcile his words with his actions, his ideals with his realities. Thus he becomes a nihilist in regards to his "global values". And that is the real meaning of Ignatieff's "lesser evil" and his "slippery slope", of Blair's "greasy pole", of Fukuyama's "end of history" and Coopers "postmodern imperialism" as normalisation of the double-standard. Exhaustion. But we will continue to pay lip-service to global values and absolutes even as we know that they are inconvenient and that we do not have the strength any more to actually realise them in our actions. Lip service is the disease of our civilisational decadence.

'"Slippery slope" (Ignatieff) or "greasy pole" (Blair) are but alternative terms for decline -- "decadence". The Modern Era is over. Get over it, and start thinking about what we can contribute positively to the peaceful development of the Planetary or Global Era, and what the requirements of that Era might be instead of presuming that it is only the indefinite extension of an already dead and exhausted Modern Era.'

The entire thread is well worth reading.


Richard W. Symonds said...

In 1948, CEM Joad wrote a book called "Decadence" - interestingly at the same time as Orwell wrote 1984...

In the book, CEMJ talks about us having "dropped the object" other words...we've "lost the plot".

Emmett said...

HERE Is what Emmett R Smith's maternal grandfather, an old swedish man born in Cleveland's first term and whistling his esses life-long, used to call (in American) "a nice sslap on the ass fer ssome of thees fellerss!"