Suicide of the West 2.0 By Chris Knight
When I think of the book title, Suicide of the West, I think of the 1964 book by James Burnham, with the subtitle: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism. This book anticipated the cultural wars that were to come because Burnham saw that liberalism was the acid eroding Western civilisation, and the real cause of Western “suicide.” The new book by Jonah Goldberg, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy (2018), predictably enough, argues the opposite from Burnham, namely that the nationalist/populist departure form liberal cosmopolitanism is contrary to the Enlightenment project, and contrary to the spirit of American democracy, which apparently is endless openness to migrants and multiculturalism.
National identity is opposed, except of course for Israel, and opposing open borders and immigration is also rejected, as that is nationalism, and populism, except for Israel. Of course, as I see it, Israel should be free to protect its borders as it sees fit, because it has a right to exist, but so should every one. Here is Goldberg on the splendours of immigration: “I tend to believe that high levels of immigration, particularly skills-based immigration, are economically desirable policies. Also, the evidence that low-skilled immigration is a net detriment to the country is not as cut-and-dried as some claim. (The field of economics that studies immigration is shot through with methodological and ideological problems.)” The claim that there are no reliable studies showing the negative impact of immigration on the poorest locals, is nonsense, and contrary anway to direct observation and experience. The problem is with the studies of the alleged economic benefits of immigration, studies which are usually biased and ignoring negative effects.
Here is what one traditionalist, in the loop, thinks of Goldberg’s book:
“I regard Goldberg as a prime example of the near-total ideological primacy of the Cultural Marxist Left. We are living in a time and place in which what would be crazy-Left up until about two generations ago is assigned a “Right-Wing” label, in order to keep alive a dialectic that is transparently phony. In about a ten-page digression into the nature of conservatism—his entire book is really nothing more than a series of digressions—Goldberg identifies “conservatism” with resisting Donald Trump. The U.S. President, whom Goldberg with other Never-Trumpers has inflexibly opposed, is described as a vulgar throwback to the 1930s “on both sides of the Atlantic.” People back then (let’s guess who they were!) believed “decadent Western capitalism and ‘Manchester liberalism’ were inadequate to the challenges of the day.” All of this coming from Goldberg is utter chutzpah, considering that he now happily accepts massive social engineering in order to overcome “discrimination” against certain groups.”
I do not see how Goldberg’s position differs substantially philosophically from many globalist Leftists, or from the likes of “conservative” cosmopolitans like John Howard and Mal Turnbull. Give me Burnham any day.