Fjordman once again stuns with insights about Western Man. Analyzing the cause, say, of 9/11, he observes that,
But, Hey - At Least I'm First! Aren't I the Winner?
Regarding Western Man's compulsion to be "first" at any and everything:The Canadian writer Naomi Klein believes that the terror attacks of September 11th 2001 were caused by Western racism. On the contrary, they were triggered by excessive anti-racism. If you believe the story of Michael Tuoheya, a former U.S. Airways ticket agent, he checked in terrorist leader Muhammad Atta for a flight that day. According to Tuoheya, “I said to myself, ‘If this guy doesn’t look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does.’ Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, it’s not nice to say things like this.” Atta joined three other hijackers and crashed into one of the World Trade Center’s towers in New York City.Modern Westerners are increasingly unwilling to risk our lives for anything, but we are willing to die for anti-discrimination any day. Anti-racism is the new God, an angry God requiring your unquestioned submission and if necessary death — a bit like Allah, incidentally.
Fjordman's analysis is not informed by Girard's mimetic theory, yet it is clear that he sees what Girard points to as a key element of a sacrificial preparation; namely, the breaking down of distinctions, of mores, of prohibitions that lead a society even further into the abyss of cultural chaos:
The Western man was the first to create parliamentary democracy, the first to reach the North and the South Pole and the first to travel to the Moon. He always likes to go where no man has gone before him. The sad thing is that there is now so little unchartered territory, so few boundaries left to breach. What to do? Well, embracing organized national suicide is something no man has ever done before, presumably for very good reasons. The Western Man smells an opportunity to once again lead mankind into unchartered territory, and boldly seizes it. He may not be sensible, but at least he’s first, and to the Western Man, that is what matters above all else.
Fjordman is right, from a non-Christian point of view. So let us end by clearing the air with some much needed tonic hope from a master of the 20th century who also greatly loved all things of the broad, clear expanses of the north, J. R. R. Tolkien.
It is possible to view the history of the West as one of freeing oneself from the constraints of the past, and of granting equality to ever-expanding circles of people, starting with universal suffrage for men, later for women, then equality for all ethnic, religious and sexual subgroups and eventually even for non-citizens and enemies. The West has led the world in innovation for centuries. Yet perhaps this disposition, which has been the Western Man’s greatest strength, can also be his curse. Perhaps he sometimes breaks down restraints that are needed, and insists on equality where no equality naturally exists. His self-image has been to question tradition on every level, to always move forward. The Western Man has freed himself from the restraints of his traditions, his religion, his culture and the memories of his past. More recently, he has also rid himself off his sex, his skin color, his very physical being. He is, in essence, nothing, and is thus constrained by nothing. The Western Man is thus free at least.
In a letter to son Michael he said,
This is a fallen world ... The world has been 'going to the bad' all down the ages. The various social forms shift, and each new mode has its special dangers; but the 'hard spirit of concupiescence' has walked down every street, and sat leering in every house, since Adam fell ... I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament ..... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires. [6-8 March 1941]