Donald Trump’s 2016 election, his presidency and then loss at the recent election have exposed the deep divisions in American society, prompting many to ask: what has to be done to restore American, and, for that matter, Western civilisation?
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As The Times of London (January 17, 2021) observed, Trump was elected by an increasingly disenfranchised, “downwardly mobile, mostly white working class that had been forgotten by the elites raking in money from the global economy”.
“By re-engaging these outcasts with the political system, he was able to win certain [traditionally Democrat] states that had suffered industrial decline.”
Dramatically, he and his administration shifted the playing field in favour of those outcasts, and made both the Democrats and the Republicans “more sceptical about free trade and more hostile to China”.
He exposed the corruption of “regulators and judges … being empowered to overrule the things the public voted for, often making use of civil-rights laws”, and the totalitarian threat to basic democratic freedoms of the cancel culture, led by “second-rate professors [who] now had veto power over what people could and could not say”.
These forces dominate the corporate sector, including the tech giants that cancelled the accounts of Trump and the Parler social-media platform, and now threaten many others.
Having won a massive base across American society, Trump was unlucky with the crippling covid19 crisis, which wiped out much of his hard-won political capital.
Then Joe Biden, professing to be Catholic, was no sooner inaugurated as U.S. President than his support for funding abortions and transgender rights cancelling the sex-based rights of women exposed the deep “orthodox versus liberal” divisions in the American churches.
Under Biden, America cannot “heal”. It can only go deeper into conflict.
This issue of News Weekly reflects on important aspects of the crisis that is afflicting first America, but more widely Western civilisation, and especially its effect on Australia.
“I believe the issues dealt with in this Special Edition of News Weekly belong at the forefront of our awareness as we prepare for the worst and hope always for the best.” – Patrick J Bynre
It was exactly 50 years ago that London’s Economist magazine (November 6, 1971) offered an analysis of American society, at the dramatic start of its cultural revolution, that fittingly describes the country today.
It warned that the United States might be experiencing the final working-out of the 16th-century Reformation, “the rebirth of an idea that had long lain dormant; the idea that the responsibility of the individual is the ultimate criterion of both politics and religion. The rebirth of that idea changed the face of Europe; among other things, it made democracy possible on a scale larger than that of the Greek city-state.
“But its full impact was never felt by the majority of people. It remained largely a concept of the educated. It is possible that the United States, which has been the first country to do so many things, and was the first to bring material plenty to most of its people, is now the first country to face the consequences of the fact that widespread prosperity universalises the revolution of individualism.
“If that is the explanation of what is happening to America, the place could be almost ungovernable for a very long time: it could be living through the first onset of the war of all against all.”
In a parallel warning, Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko recently argued that Enlightenment liberalism can be read two ways. In one way, it provided for many years the basis of a tolerant and open democracy.
‘What is now needed are strong leaders with an agenda that puts the family first, a moral and spiritual reset by the churches, and the building by “creative minorities” to start restoring the foundations of Western civilisation.’ – Patrick J Byrne
Today it has morphed in the opposite direction, into a radical super-theory of individualism, the basis of radical free-market economics and the moral judge of disadvantages said to be afflicting every minority group. Critics of economic globalism were condemned as luddites, until the 2008 global financial crisis and now the covid19 supply-chain crisis, just as critics of identity politics are even more loudly condemned as bigots and phobics, deserving to be sacked from their jobs and to have the full weight of discrimination laws thrown at them.
In this issue, Peter Westmore’s article Biden’s America: Australia must look to Asia, argues that the Biden Administration may be unable to deal with China’s totalitarian threat as Trump did, so Australia had better look to building strong economic and security ties with regional neighbours from India to Japan.
Terri Kelleher’s article The new inequality: A roadmap of the transgender revolution, overviews the threats to our freedoms from the raft of discrimination laws that have been amended to give protected attribute status to a host of minority groups, threatening the universal human rights of the vast majority.
Chris Rule’s article So that we don’t repeat history for lack of knowledge of it, says that, just as the early 20th-century Russian liberals bowed and scraped to the violent radical forces sweeping Russia, today’s conservatives, lacking a coherent philosophy and agenda, have left a political vacuum that is being filled by hostile ideologies and secular forces. Chris McCormack’s article When both major parties agree on bad policy society suffers, gives a rundown of radical environmentalism, a largely unchallenged force in the vacuum. Luke McCormack’s article Will 2021 finally deliver a fair budget for families?, sets out how to restore the economic foundation of the natural family, after being endlessly undermined by radical free-market ideologues and hostile forms of feminism.
While matters may get worse before they get better, it is patently clear that radical liberalism has no moral, legal or political framework to hold the family and a civilised society together.
Trump and others assembled a loose but powerful resistance force. What is now needed are strong leaders with an agenda that puts the family first, a moral and spiritual reset by the churches, and the building by “creative minorities” to start restoring the foundations of Western civilisation.
I believe the issues dealt with in this Special Edition of News Weekly belong at the forefront of our awareness as we prepare for the worst and hope always for the best.
Patrick J. Byrne is national president of the National Civic Council.