Our Idiocy: Apologize for Success, Reward Failure

An Idiocy: Apologize for Success, Reward Failure.

Self imposed restraints limit our way of life’s ability to prevail against challengers that are economically, technically and politically inferior. The moving force is Political Correctness’ often ridiculous, yet damaging apology for an earned achievement.

Our civilization’s success is not accidental but awesome if compared to the record of classical civilizations, or the collectivism of national- and international socialists. Some of us do not comprehend where the success of their system comes from. For that reason they like to do penance for collective success which is a cheaply purchased act of moralizing luxury. At the same time, there are nations in which realism prevails. As such, they wish to be successful, and doing so, they imitate the recipe followed by the creators of successful societies. Only a few of those that strive to create successful societies copy the Bolivarian Way of Socialist Venezuela, or take the economic advice of Zimbabwe’s Comrade Mugabe.

The last reference steers us to a crucial point. History’s classical societies assured their members of the benefits of harmony. It could only be maintained by stifling the advocates of change. Change was seen to weaken a perfectly balanced order which made the “new” into a subversive evil. Once the prejudice of a conflict-free stable order was abandoned –a convenient dating is Western Enlightenment- the role of change in human affairs could be reinterpreted.

In the course of advancement that firmed throughout the unjustly bashed Middle Ages, the cult of passive acquiescence muted into activist questioning. Accordingly, the ideal of collectivism gave way to a trend that emphasized individualism and political innovation. With that, and its byproduct of applied innovative science, growing productivity also brought rising inequality. Due to performance-related differentiation, the caste as a determinant, and the poverty connected to it faded.

As a result, a revolutionary break with the pattern that constrained man throughout history had come about. The idea of stagnant stability that saw the golden age in the past had been jettisoned. Its replacement was an optimistic, forward looking culture that created its own system. By design, its representatives led their communities toward an ideal that they thought to be located at the far end of the rainbow.

It would be a mistake to tag the move, from the immutable and stagnant ideal of the optimal social order, to a dynamic one that welcomed change, as a “European” phenomenon. In fact, initially only a few of the old continent peoples partook in this process. Most Europeans were as untouched by the development as were the peoples of other continents.

Over time, within and outside Europe, the pattern of success had been recognized and then copied. The resulting spread of the modern society bypassed some European countries that, for lack of knowledge or political expediency, refused to take the step into modernity. The earliest demonstration, that the new society had no racial or cultural boundaries came in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05. In it, for the first time in the modern era, a (modernized) Asian nation defeated a classical European great power which had opted to retain a traditionalist order.

If copying the progressive society was an option, the question is, why, given the advantages, has this not become a general trend? The present relevance of the matter is that even in our time, modernization is not common to all nations. Several underdeveloped countries –especially in Africa- proclaim the wish to close the developmental gap but fail to execute the project. Others, such as Venezuela, profess to pursue modernization but fail. Attribute that to an ideologically inspired commitment to a “counter-modernization”. Development may be a goal but it is to be accomplished by avoiding the system –capitalism- practiced by the successful.

China’s approach is a special case; it aims to have a market economy while she endeavors to avoid the open society that is connected to it. Call that “selective modernization”. Lastly, there is an anti-modernization force. The Islamist led revival regards modernity -except the resulting military technology- as a Jewish-Christian-Atheist conspiracy of the Faithless against Allah. There have been earlier movements that wished to reverse the modern era’s changes. However, these lacked the global reach and punch of Muslim fundamentalism.

First and foremost the extent of that threat is not an expression of economic power, of the ability to create new technologies, or to produce modern instruments of war. Islamist power reflects the failing will of its chosen enemies to defend themselves. Here a role is played by convictions, such as that even disloyal minorities need to be tolerated and protected. The idea of the “rule of law” is said to command that even against those that reject the concept, prevention is illegitimate and that legal action may only follow a deed.

Mainly, however, a special confusion is to be underscored; the success of developed societies is ascribed to luck or to exploitation. It might be a sign of the bankruptcy of our educational system that we have become unable to identify the real roots of advancement. The successful modern society is not the result of an accident, a gift of the gods, or of the abuse of oppressed weak nations. (Note: Oppression and exploitation has taken place, but it was not the source of success but the expression of an achievement. As its result someone had the better cannon to fight spears.)

Admittedly, the source of success is often misunderstood. When an underdeveloped community does not understand the value- culture- knowledge- and political causes of the rise of nations, it will either remain inactive or it will be condemned to march on the wrong path. Chauvinistic nationalism and collectivism, such Marxism, have been the origins of this type of disorientation.

As a symptom of luxury-thinking, in the West’s societies, the confusion regarding the success of nations is wide spread. If luck or the disregard for humanity –exploitation according to Marxists- explains the gap between failing and progressive societies, then the wealth of nations is stolen goods. These need to be returned to the legitimate owner. In this case, there is no moral right to defend the way of life and its living standard. This relates to the vulnerability bemoaned above.

The obese diet, but the emaciated poor do not skip food unless they must. Those that are made uncomfortable by their undeserved success become flagellants, and the rich give alms -not to become poor but to feel better. Accordingly, in the West the idea is popular that its collective crimes, which demand penance, are proven by the backwardness if its critics. In those circles and parties that are sold on the idea, the resulting reaction to the Islamist challenge is to fault the victim and to excuse the “rightfully angry” perpetrator. The upshot of swallowing the snake medicine of guilt and the need for atonement is the vulnerability that follows one-sided disarmament. And that condition guarantees, as a reward for failure, “understanding” for more terrorism allegedly perpetrated in the name of higher justice.

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