Every now and again, I come back around to considering G.K. Chesterton’s “paradox of the gate”.
Here it is in Chesterton’s own words from his 1929 book, “The Thing”, in the chapter entitled, “The Drift from Domesticity”:
“In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
Basically, Chesterton is saying when you run up against a barrier and a gate that has been erected, it is best not to assume just because you cannot see the immediate necessity for a barrier or gate, that there is no necessity or use for the barrier or gate. It is better to understand why it was put there in the first place rather than setting about destroying it based on your own short-term observations and judgment.
People who are hell bent on “reforming” America, i.e., “tearing down the wall” of Western civilization should understand that barriers have two purposes that may or may not be in play at the same time. They would do well consider the wall before taking a hammer to it. From one side of the wall, it may look as if it was built to constrain, to keep something in, when in fact it may well have been built by the bloody hands of our forebears to keep an even greater evil at bay.
What existed before Western civilization, summed up in the words of Thomas Hobbes, was “…continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
That would seem an appropriate reason to build a barrier.
The progressive left has a penchant for jumping in with a sledgehammer and tearing down barriers they deem unnecessary or undesirable and over the past several years, that list has grown to the point it is tantamount to the complete destruction of Western culture and civilization.
With what are they planning to replace Western culture?
I am not sure – and I do not think they are either. Should not that vision be articulated BEFORE giving in to destruction of centuries of success?
I am not sure they can articulate what it is, at least I have not heard a cogent definition. All I can see in practice are small scale proxy wars, agitations created between various identity groups by the progressive left, for the political benefit of the progressive left. Culture wars, cancel culture, the destruction of free speech, the erasure of history, condemnation and debilitating societal recriminations, the elimination of traditional values and religion, are just mini-wars designed to divide and destroy.
I have searched far and wide, and the best I can determine, the replacement the left has planned is something called “not Western civilization”. As best I can tell, “not Western civilization” looks a lot like dictatorial authoritarianism with a lot of tribalism, internecine warfare, hate, destitution, and suffering thrown in – and perhaps a dash of being conquered by a foreign power in the weakness that inevitably comes with “not Western civilization”. In other words, exactly the opposite of the America in which anyone over the age of 30 grew up.
Western civilization is one barrier we should be strengthening, not destroying brick by brick. When it is gone, mankind will be too busy fighting for survival to rebuild it.