Western civilization is not in decline – it is in reversal.
Western civilization was not born with fully formed ideas of individual freedoms and a liberty protected by a government dependent on its people. It evolved into those positions over centuries of constant learning – and that learning included making mistakes – like slavery. Most mistakes, when recognized by the majority of the people, were eliminated. The truth is, if it weren’t for Great Britain and the US, slavery might still exist.
Western civilization was built on the will of the majority and the majority’s shared idea that what it represented was better for all people, not just those at the upper levels of society. While some cultures advanced only to decline (like the Islamic world) and others (like those in Africa) remained in savagery, Western civilization continued to produce innovations and push boundaries in search of new economic, social and philosophical opportunities.
Bur majorities aren’t mass conspiracies. There are no meetings, no dues and no subcommittees that decide what minority is to be destroyed or disadvantaged this week. There is no social committee to decide what movies or literature we are going to watch or read. Just because a majority is powerful and drives the culture, that doesn’t mean that the majority is out to get any particularly minority. Majorities are powerful because they are a majority, they are not a majority because they are powerful. In today’s mass media, minorities are always portrayed as somehow being more noble, honorable, righteous, and socially correct than the majority, a premise that often stretches credulity – but minorities are a minority for some reason. In some way, they are judged inferior or are so radically divergent from the mores of the majority that fewer people identify with them.
The media is also complicit in this process as it has the power to project minorities as more pervasive and powerful than they are. Efforts to make the majority “sensitive” to the plight of this or that minority have resulted in an over-representation of many minorities in many facets of everyday life. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in entertainment. There is rarely a television show today that doesn’t have a gay or ethnic minority character in it. There are even ongoing arguments in the entertainment community regarding who should be allowed to portray certain characters (Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson are two white actors who have been criticized for playing roles that didn’t “match” the ethnicity of the character).
The reversal in Western civilization is that it now seems we are expected to elevate the minority over the majority – not in the sense of protecting their liberty to do as they wish (Ayn Rand famously said that the individual is the smallest minority) but in the sense of allowing minority’s wishes to determine how the majority must act. For example, rather than just saying: “Hey, LGBT folks are just like you and me and we, as the majority, will protect their rights to live as they wish as long as the rights of the majority are not compromised in the process”, the majority says: “We want the LGBTer’s to be part of the majority and to do that, everybody must agree to give them more rights than you have. You must sacrifice your individual rights and bake the damn cake but they don’t have to alter their rights. You will be forced to comply with their wishes.”
This idea is not a decline or erosion of Western civilization – it is a reversal, a return to the selective application of coercive power by a minority.