John Armstrong is a resident philosopher at Melbourne Business School in Australia, he has written an ambitious book (‘In Search Of Civilization’) that sets out to restore the confidence once reposed in the term ‘Civilization’. If ever Matthew Arnold had a contemporary its Armstrong.
Civilization is something infinitely precious and life sustaining, a source of both identity, strength and inspiration. The great civilizations provide a community of maturity in which individuals help one another cope with the demands of mortality. Today’s geopolitical conflict reveals a fissure in need of closure, for we are engaged with a deadly barbarism soon to be nuclear! The West has been on this very ground before. Our current difference is staggering in that our technology is harnessed to ideas of human freedom that erode, even replace the very bonds of solidarity that sustain humanness. The threat is within as well as outside!
Johnson has written that wealth alone does not ‘compel admiration, for we strive to find the sweet spot where luxury and spiritual prosperity meet.’ Not a bad vision to compel a decadent West. Like Solzhenitsyn before him, Johnson firmly believes that decadence is nothing more than defeatism before the consequences of defeat.
All along the main Western lines of fruition, we recognize fear and despair masquerading as sophistication, for its possible to inherit a great civilization without possessing the will to defend its institutions or ideals.
Welcome to the world of a dominate relativism, where the spiritual side of culture has lost its sense of legitimacy and depth. For both prerequisites are required in the arsenal of the West as we engage both our domestic foes and Islamo-Fascism.
The ‘big picture’, the synoptic vision that harnessed the West’s cultural supremacy throughout both antiquity and the Renaissance is on display in this endeavor to quarry a remnant worthy of our future conflict with militant eastern autocracy.