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Suicide of the West (Revisited)

Fifty years ago James Burnham warned Westerners: Trying to come to terms with communism instead of resolutely fighting it amounts to committing suicide.  Whether the communist ideology is dead or still alive under a new guise remains, in spite of current opinion, an open question, but in any case only the blind or the deceitful can ignore the new threat.  The West seems to have survived a communist onslaught, only to face the arguably more formidable tsunami of mass immigration, geared not to paint the West red, but to drown it.  Burnham’s inquiry into the West’s weaknesses is more than ever a vital one.

Burnham’s diagnosis was that the West was suffering from “what the Americans call liberalism defined as the ideology of Western suicide . . . the verbal systematization that motivates and justifies the disappearance of Western civilization and reconciles us to it.”

Even though it is impossible for me not to agree with an accusation whose basic truth only a liberal can deny, I feel uneasy reading Burnham’s repeated warnings, beginning and ending the book: “I do not mean that liberalism is or will have been responsible for the contraction and possible disappearance of Western civilization, that liberalism is its cause.”  “Liberalism did not initiate the...

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