Niall McCrae: Clash of Civilizations — Individualism is the Savior of Western Society

Guest post by Niall McCrae

No book has been cited by political and social observers more often than George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Today, our rulers seem hell-bent on enacting this dystopia through the creep of state surveillance, manipulation of language to mask the truth, and puritanical control of normal human behaviour such as humour or courtship.


Yet one aspect of Orwell’s prophecy has been relatively overlooked.

Orwell’s story was set in London, part of Airstrip One in the federation of Oceania.

In a permanent state of war, the enemy alternates between Eurasia and Eastasia, the other world powers.

Comprising the former USA, UK, Australasia and other English-speaking areas, Oceania seems mighty, yet it can no longer survive without strategic alliance.

From a current perspective, a triadic division is indeed emerging.

For Oceania, read the West, as well as the Anglo sphere, this includes the European nations, which have tried to consolidate in the form of the EU.

Eurasia may be understood as the ascendant Umma, principally based in the established Muslim lands of North Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia, but transcending these boundaries due to mass migration into Europe.

This huge diaspora could bolster or undermine its Western hosts.

Representing Eastasia is China: its fiefdom expanding across the Orient and Pacific to its new dependencies in Latin America and the southern half of Africa.

These two developing forces already threaten the West.

Infused with the Judeo-Christian principle of free will, our liberal Enlightenment values contrast starkly with the submissive absolutism of the Mohammedan creed, with its laws and rituals governing every aspect of people’s lives.

An uneasy coexistence is maintained as polite society ignores problems such as the widespread sexual abuse of working-class schoolgirls – crimes arising from warped messages about the impurity of infidels.

Terrorism has become a constant — from lone slayers shouting ‘Allahu akhbar’ to carefully planned attacks on shopping centres and nightclubs.

Against the threat of devastating internal strife, Western governments will choose the path of least resistance, appeasing the demands of an assertive Muslim populace for special rights and protection.

Inevitably, elements of Sharia law will be granted for the sake of community relations.

Increasingly more people will be jailed for Islamophobia than for Islamist attacks on the remnants of liberal democratic culture.

China, meanwhile, is determined to become the supreme global power.

It too has the people, but with the advantages of a rationalised authoritarian political system and technological prowess.

The West is belatedly waking up to the threat of state-sponsored infiltration by Chinese corporations such as Huawei, which governments naively allowed to gain a foothold in communication and security systems.

Hacking of vital networks is a very serious threat, with nations potentially held to ransom.

How long can we survive without electricity? Is recognising Taiwan really all that important?

While the threats to the West are constantly discussed, less thought has been given to the coming clash between its two rival powers.

China is treating its Muslims harshly.

Islam is the one religion that poses a threat to the atheist communist regime.

Unlike the international outrage against the oppression of the Muslim minority in Myanmar, Beijing gets a free pass.

Imagine the British state ordering that domes and minarets are destroyed, Arabic script erased, the Koran removed from open sale, and incarcerating anyone who complains in re-education camps.

This is exactly what China is doing with the Uighurs and the Hui.

Officially, there is religious freedom, but in reality a cultural eradication programme against the worship of Allah.

Can the Muslim world stand up to China?

Antimodernists hold the Umma, despite its numerical strength, back.

However, it has plenty of riches.

Having played the monopoly board with black gold, the Arabs own great swaths of the commerce and real estate of Western countries.

With their combination of financial clout and scriptural authority, the Saudis can summon hundreds of millions of Somalis, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indonesians as foot soldiers.

Salafism is instilled throughout the West, deterring moderate, convivial observance of Islam.

A nag for the Umma is the schism of Sunni and Shia sects, but old arguments may be set aside to fight a common cause.

With it’s declining demographic, economic and military strength, the West could find itself limited to the role of mediator.

No longer masters of their own destiny, European and American governments are realizing that ‘soft power’ really is very soft.

The individualism of Western culture has degenerated from the rugged determination that built the United States of America, to narcissistic fragility.

Once unashamedly boasting of its strengths, the West now obsesses over a ‘mental health crisis’ in its rootless younger generations.

Yet individual freedom is a great human achievement, and this may be more appreciated as the collectivist forces of China and Islam challenge it.

Many Muslims came to Europe for economic reasons, but they also enjoy relief from the strictures of closed Islamic culture.

By participating in Western democracy, a growing proportion of this populace have tasted too much freedom to regress to medieval literalism.

The relative educational and occupational success of Hindu and Sikh communities suggests that Britain is a land of opportunity, and that the grievance culture and cultural segregation of some Muslim areas is self-defeating.

Instead of the clumsy and counter-productive policies of integration, such as the banal ‘British values’ produced by bureaucrats, the West should promote questioning minds and give Muslim citizens confidence in the principles of freedom of speech and equality before the law.

Universal rights must be defended with muscle against the religious fundamentalists.

For the Chinese too, individualism will be attractive, despite all the efforts of the communist administrators and re-educators.

At a mass demonstration in Tiananmen Square in 1960, Globe & Mail reporter Frederick Nossal observed artificial support for the regime.

Given a day off work to protest against American imperialism, a million swarmed into the vast space, but few paid attention to the amplified slogans.

He reported, ‘Having seen thousands of laughing, sleeping, card-playing, reading Chinese demonstrators (hidden from the eyes of the leaders by protective walls of young Communist zealots) I feel that individualism will win through in the end. To me, the rallies were proof that total indoctrination of a population is a near-impossible task.’

Could the same be said of the massive and ethnically diverse Muslim world?

The key to survival of the West is in promoting the philosophical, social and economic status of the individual human being.

As John Stuart Mill argued, the state has no business in interfering with the private sphere.

How can we find meaning in life, if others always impose that meaning?

Faith or political allegiance must be voluntary.

When liberty is lost to grand design, members of society become little more than ants or automatons.

Elsewhere man is in chains, but we in Western society know a better way.

Are we willing to defend it in this inevitable clash of civilizations?

Author of The Moon and Madness , The Story of Nursing in British Mental Hospitals: Echoes from the Corridors (Routledge, 2016) and Moralitis: a Cultural Virus (Bruges Group, 2018).

Author of The Moon and Madness , The Story of Nursing in British Mental Hospitals: Echoes from the Corridors (Routledge, 2016) and Moralitis: a Cultural Virus (Bruges Group, 2018).

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