on October 15, 2002
And Patrick Buchanan doesn't feel fine. The erstwhile presidential candidate, Nixon aide, polemicist, and political commentator is possibly one of the most wilfully misunderstood and maligned political pundits writing in America today, and when I began Death of the West I wasn't certain what to expect.
I was therefore pleasantly surprised, and subsequently riveted; Death of the West escapes the typical political clunkiness and idiosyncracies that plague Buchanan's columns, and delivers a stark, depressing, and alarming portrait of the nation in which all of us will grow old. The Death of the West maintains that demographics is destiny: affluent, decadent, morally relativistic Westerners are not having children and not replacing themselves, while the more fecund but impoverished Third World population is exploding. Buchanan projects that if current population trends continue, America and Europe will be third-world countries with alien cultures by 2050.
Death of the West is not just a dire Malthusian screed; Buchanan spices up his jeremiad by moving from the West's demographics of death to the skirmishes and routs of the American Culture War. Buchanan's treatment of the development of Cultural Marxism and its influence on American liberal thinkers and revolutionaries in the 1960s is scholarly and full of new insight, and highlights the role that grey little scholars like Gramsci, Marcuse, Adorno, and Lukacs had on creating the world of political correctness and moral relativism in which we live.
According to Buchanan, while revolutionary Marxism died throughout the world, cultural marxism was inseminated in the American academy by these scholar-revolutionaries, and from the sixties to the present American leftists conducted a successful "long march through the institutions", seizing the cultural high ground from which to shape, change, alter, de-christianize and destroy traditional American culture.
The Death of the West is a solid, gripping read, although it is depressing and melancholy in only the way that a eulogy to a once vital civilization can be. Conservative or traditionalist readers will find it a revolutionary book, while liberals might be surprised by the intellectual taproots of their philosophy.
on June 16, 2002
Buchanan asserts a simple thesis: The West will die not by military conquest, death and destruction. But it might die, in fact there is a good chance that it will die, from within, through high birth rates in poor countries, and through the West's own freedom and excesses. Data, including projections, make the point pretty clear. By being tolerant, generally welcoming of newcomers (those who say we aren't welcoming haven't looked at history, other cultures, or the data), and concerned about individual freedoms, the West is made susceptible to those who like the wealth of the West but who reject its basic values. The irony is that Western values built this wealth.
While western countries see their birth rates decline as their politcal and economic freedoms and fruits increase, less developed, "non-western" countries and cultures have surged, primarily through their much higher birth and survival rates made possible and supported by western medicine, health care, preventive measures, and technology. With almost 1.5 billion Chinese, a billion people in India, and hundreds of millions in Indonesia, the West is most likely simply to be overrun by people leaving these poor countries and making their way to the West.
Unlike what some of the criticisms of "nativism" in the past, this new movement does not bring people who adopt the ways of the West. There is no melting pot. Rather, there is multiculturalism. So western culture dies out by simple attrition. The West has something important to defend. And it's not that the westerners are xenophobic or racist as much as they are committed to maintaining western values and virtues of liberty, freedom, personal initiative and rsponsibility, thrift, family, and protective laws and minimal governments.
Buchanan makes his point by attacking political correctness and those who decry or belittle "traditional" values. That gives the book a shrill, even nasty tone. But his points merit consideration. We ignore them at our peril.
on July 14, 2002
Buchanan brings out with pinpoint clarity the problems that America and the Western nations face within the next 5 - 40 years, given present population and cultural trends. The book should be required reading in schools (although I know that will never happen).
As our small towns, the middle class, and U.S. jobs continue to shrink (through outsourcing of jobs and complete operations), and with terrorism expected to continue, Americans need to take action and get involved fully in their community, or we are headed to third world status.
America critically needs leaders, not politicians, in politics and the corporate world. Maybe you will be a leader who has the integrity and honesty who can set an example for a positive effect on others.
Americans yearn for the simple days of the Waltons, with the focus on family and a life centered on Christian values, not television, a job, or the Internet, and a safe community. Where prayer is allowed in schools, and common sense is the rule of the day instead of the exception. America has lost its' purpose, and foundings, which are based on freedom and belief in God.
That is what will turn this country around, not selfish New Age beliefs that have no basis in morals or fact, not class action suits for everything imaginable, not catering to specific groups in the name of diversity instead of qualifications, not big corporations who export jobs and pay their top executives astronomical salaries and perks.
Be knowledgeable of the facts facing our country, your children, grandchildren, and you. Read the book. Become involved in your country, your community, your church, and your quality of life. Otherwise, sit back and watch as we join the Roman Empire in the history books.
on December 8, 2003
I found this book extremely informative.The things that made the successes of Western Civilization are waning.We sense it and in this book Buchanan provides the facts.The falling birth rates,family breakdowns,single parent low income households, rationalization replacing morals,multi-ethnic and multi-cultural loyalties replacing unity,you name it.It is hard to find any aspect of Western Civilization that has improved for a long time;in fact there has been a great decline.
The facts speak for themselves,and to label Buchanan a Racist for talking about these issues shows how vicious leftists can be.
It seem that all it takes to be a Racist for them, is to disagree with any part of their agenda.
The agenda that it takes a village to raise a child comes from failed socialistic and communistic ideologies.The proper place to raise a child is in a well adjusted family with minimal government interference;and has been proven throughout history.
If you feel everything is in good shape,don't bother reading this book,just go on believing all the ills are caused by the religious right and racists.However;if you want to find out why there are so many problems and where we are heading,you'll find this book very informative.
on January 10, 2003
After ploughing through 336 customer reviews, I find myself deeply saddened. The proof is right here that at least one of Buchanan's theses is correct. We are two nations. It was obvious to some of us when we saw the results of the 2000 election. America is split down the middle, and Pat Buchanan represents one half, Bill Clinton the other half. There can be no middle ground, precisely for the reasons he gives. We are in the midst of a civil war, a cold war; it has been called "the culture war." It has also been said that it is a war for the soul of America. Nowhere have I seen that thesis born out as much as in these reviews.
I am a retired teacher of history and have been a researcher all of my adult life. It was interesting to me that the positive reviews all claimed that Buchanan was telling the truth, and his documentation was superb. The negative reviews contained either a claim that it was badly written and inaccurate (no examples were provided) or simply expressed feelings of disgust and anger. One person called attention to Santayana's paraphrase of Thucydides, "Those who refuse to learn from History are condemned to repeat it." The positive reviewers often suggested that the negatives were ignorant and probably had not read the book. I disagree.
They are not ignorant. They are miseducated. They did read the book but did not understand it. Piles of books have been written about the "dumbing down" of America during the past half century and particularly about revisionist history, which I did not notice anyone mentioning. I am 80 years old and attended college in the forties. For ten years I worked as a journalist. When I went into teaching in 1955, I was appalled at how much education had changed since the war of "The Greatest Generation." We weren't the greatest generation. We were only the last generation which came of age in a moral world. Writers today contrast our world with that of the fifies. It is because they are so young. In the fifties we were already heading for disaster, but I was acquainted with no one who saw it except myself. I had available only Brave New World and 1984 to justify my view. When I predicted the amoral world of today I was told I was an "alarmist", that I was making a mountain out of a molehill.
The key to Buchanan's book is in the title, as it should be. It seemed to me that few of the reviewers, positive or negative, saw the big picture. They were either concerned with immigration or "white supremacy" or contemporary Christians. Only a few mentioned the "culture war." But that is what it is all about, the death of a civilization the like of which this earth has never known before or elsewhere. Buchanan has the disadvantage of having run for office, so on the surface it appears that he is making a political point. This is not so.
The negative reviewers all agree with Jesse Jackson leading his followers across the Stanford campus, chanting, "Hey,hey, ho, ho. Western Civ has got to go!" That's what the war is about.
Back in the sixties I read Stephen Benet's short story, "Last of the Legions" to my classes. It was about a legionaire in Britain in the last days of the Roman Empire. It is a deeply moving story, and most of the students were moved. We talked about it in comparison with what was happening to our own civilization. Most were concerned, but three girls agreed that they didn't care because "We won't be around anyway."
Here is the difference between our culture today and the civilization which started on the downward path in 1939. Before the second half of the twentieth century, everyone thought of "posterity." Hardly anyone does today, even among those who cherish our civilization. And therefore women are not having children.
One final note. In the fifties I was sure there was a conspiracy to make ignoramuses of our children, but I had no idea who were the conspirators. I am grateful to Mr. Buchanan for supplying the names. At that time I was a fan of Erich Fromm because of his book, "The Art of Love," which, it appears, was a great scam. It is all very dismaying. Only a miracle can save our beloved heritage. That makes me think about the disintegration of the Soviet Union. After thirty-five years in which a man known as Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, just before the fall he was invited to a conference in which there were Russion delegates. He met a Russian official who told him that his book, God's Smuggler, had been read by every official in Moscow and that they all owned Bibles. Unbelievable? Christians would answer that nothing is impossible to God.
on January 15, 2002
Even though the book starts off with some false presuppositions,in particular, those involving Russia's current status, the degree to which it is cited and sourced in the controversial areas is beyond outstanding. It is a tome not just on politics but also on history, sociology, ethnic development, cultural evolution and contrastives, and religion to name just a few. It spans a broad enough historical continuum that the cycles through which civilizations repeatedly pass is solidly documented and made clear. Written very analytically but in a layman's terms so it's also a fast read. It doesn't just lay out some problems but it also lays out solutions to the problems. Strikes at the passions of what we all as a nation should be most concerned with-our preservation and our posterity. Belongs in every home.
on January 8, 2002
I'm not much of a book reader, but when I do read I get into it, in one sitting. Buchanan, love him or hate him, makes some scary & truthful points. Scary enough to make me happy I will not be around at the end of the century. His statistics and point of view are on the money throughout the book. His questioning of patriotism that America & what America stands for comes first, before feelings and beliefs of your country of origin (Coming to America in '79 is the best thing that ever happened to my life) is absolutely correct. This is & continues to be the greatest country on Earth. If you immigrate here, bring your beliefs and philosophies, but do not dare trample on the beliefs that this country was founded on. I'm not much of a religious person, but it is hard not to agree with Pat on the decline of Western Civilization. On the bright side, Pat, rest assured that many of my 30 something's are having 2 + children, hopefully this will reverse the prophecies of your book. This was a fantastic read and it is making the rounds amongst many of my friends. This book should be required reading in high school. A reality check to what kind of country our kids may inherit.
on December 24, 2001
Pat Buchannan read "Camp of the Saints" and mentions it in this book. That explains the eerie resemblence between that astringent work of fiction and Buchannan's thesis: The West is under attack, from without by immigration, and from within by its' own elites.
The birthrate numbers that Buchannan uses are unnerving, and are well-documented, and in line with other works ("Grey Dawn") that examine population trends. Western (including Russian and Japanese) women are not having enough babies to maintain population levels. The result; Florida is the model of the society of the future. For Italy, it is the present. Geriatric societies are not working or fighting societies, and the day will come when unassimilated immigrant workers will tire of caring for and supporting with their taxes old white people. If not, the grandchildren of the Boomer generation will foot a tremendous bill for their care. "Pay As You Go" Social Security financing virtually guarantees intergenerational conflict, a subject Mr. Buchannan mentions only in passing. Prophetically, he notes that illegal aliens in the US roughly equal in number the Americans aborted since Roe V. Wade. As we choose voluntary extinction, others will take our place at the table.
That said, I have to question the longer-term population projections given. They are of the nature of, "if present trends continue for 50 or 100 years..." One thing that we can be sure of is that present trends will not continue. If they did, Islam, in retreat abroad and attacked by secular modernists like Attaturk within, would still be on the defensive, for example. Thus, straight-line popluation projections detract from the argument; to imaging Iran or Egypt with nearly 100 million people assumes that water, warfare, and germs do not limit the population explosion, and that prosperity, if it comes, will not lower birthrates there as it does here.
The second front chronicled by Mr. Buchannan is the internal assault upon the foundations of Western culture. It is not capitalism that is their primary target, but Christianity, and the culture begotten of it over two millenia that the leftists have steadily undermined. The consequence of this, he argues, is that the vital energy of our peoples are sapped, and they lose the will to live, including the desire to reproduce, since the meaning of life escapes them. As the Christian Culture of Life withers, it is supplanted by the Culture of Death, manifesting itself in casual sex, abortion, euthenasia, and a general disrespect for the sanctity of life. (Human life, that is. Snail darters are still sacred.)
Much of the book is a litany of current events recalled to support the author's position. They are so fresh that the book could have scarcly been finished before Thanksgiving. September 11th is here, and an analysis of the anti-Western response. So is the Bush Administration's confirmation battle over John Ashcroft, the NAACP's infamous James Byrd ads, the Boy Scout controversy, et cterea. The book is a little long on examples to support the main argument, which is quite simple: a movement, not a conspiracy per se, has been systematically working to take over the megaphones of Western, especially American, society: TV, movies, radio, newspapers, schools, pulpits, colleges, government. Having gained control of what Richard Weaver called "The Great Stereopticon" ("Ideas Have Consequences"), they have relentlessly told us that the US is wholly evil, racist, genocidal, and that we bear the burden of that guilt. This low-grade brain-washing has succeeded, as most good ad campaigns do, in convincing our children that they should hate the country that we grew up loving, and that it isn't worth fighting for. Thus, as the forces of the '60s advance, Christians and their allies are under siege in the "Camp of the Saints," as each redout falls to a fresh onslaught.
Mr. Buchannan closes with some suggestions for combatting the spread of the new religion, but they do not amount to the galvanizing call to action that I hoped for. Perhaps the pessemism that prevades the book reflects his own doubt as to a successful outcome. If Hillaire Belloc is right, then the struggle for revolutionising society takes about three generations to decide, as yesterday's counterculture becomes today's cutting edge, tommorrow's current wisdom, and what it replaces becomes, in turn, the counterculture. As there are no lost causes, so there are no won causes, and Mr. Buchannan's book, which is conciously Catholic, lacks, in the end, the assurance that God will win in the end, with or without the West.
-Lloyd A. Conway
on January 16, 2002
Like him or not Pat Buchanan is a skilled writer. While you may agree or disagree with his point of view, an unbiased reader will be hard pressed to dispute the facts he presents. I seldom agree with Mr. Buchanan; but, if current trends continue he is right on target.
on January 12, 2002
As the title to his latest book indicates, Pat Buchanan isn't one to mince words. Citing UN Population Division statistics, Buchanan unveils a forecast that makes Spengler's "Decline" read like Jeeves and Wooster: if present below replacement-level birth-rates endure, Europe and her former colonies will undergo a radical demographic change that will resign them to permanent third-world status by 2050. That is, *barring mass immigration* Europe stands to lose 128 million of her indigenous population by 2050, and the median age of what remains of it will be fifty. More alarming still is the projection for Russia. Within the next fifty years, the Russian population will plummet from 147 to 114 million -- a loss greater than the deaths attributed to Stalin. The loss will take its heaviest toll east of the Urals in Siberia, an area comprising three-fourths of the Russian land-mass. Because Siberia's population consists primarily of 8 million aging Russians, the Chinese, Siberia's neighbors to the south, will have no trouble reclaiming this vast area of land -- which the czar annexed from China in the nineteenth century -- to accomodate the additional 250 million people they're expecting by 2025. In less than fifty years, the residents of Nome Alaska could be staring across the Bering Strait, not at babushkas, but at young, healthy Chinese. In short, either European women start knocking out babies, or the West will quickly be tainted with the foul stench of the burgeoning third-world.
The question of *how* Western women have prevented childbirth isn't in dispute, as the advent of abortion and Dr Rock's contraceptive pill have provided ample ways of shunning responsibility for today's promiscuous female. The question of *why*, however, is one Buchanan devotes an entire chapter to. Buchanan links the reluctance on the part of Western women to have children on the post-industrial global economy, feminism, and the collapsing moral order. Feminism, for example, perpetually rails against the traditional patriarchal family, and some feminist authors, like Andrea Dworkin, go as far as equating marriage with rape. On the moral order front, popular television shows ... convey a weekly message to thirty-something women that marriage is unfashionable. This reversal of moral norms began to enter the public consciousness in the 1960s -- right when Western birth-rates started to decline. Enter the Frankfurt School, a Marxist think-tank which emerged from the ashes of WW1, a war in which the sturdy proletariat was supposed to throw down his arms on the front lines, oust the bourgeois and spark a collectivist world revolution. When he failed to do so, this coterie of Marxist intellectuals, rather than accepting defeat, re-grouped in Berlin to form a new strategy: an all-out offensive on Western culture must be mounted. Thus, a "Gramscian long march" through the West's institutions -- universities, literature, motion pictures, radio, magazines, and newspapers -- began, coming to fruition in the mid-sixties. The Frankfurt School knew it had achieved prominence when French students, marching through Paris in 1968, carried banners that exclaimed "Marx, Mao and Marcuse." The latter, Herbert Marcuse, was the School's most famous disciple.
As Mexicans account for most of America's new arrivals, Buchanan goes to work demolishing the myths promulgated by pro-immigration enthusiasts on their behalf. First of all, today's immigrants from Mexico, most of which reside below the poverty level, qualify for food stamps (in Spanish), SSI, subsidized housing, bi-lingual education, medicaid, medicare and Affirmative Action upon arrvial, unlike European immigrants of yesteryear. Secondly, the "good Catholic" canard bandied about by neo-conservatives nowadays is a flat-out lie: 40% of Hispanics in the US are born out of wedlock; more than half of the Hispanic gang-members in Los Angeles are the children of migrant farmers; and 49% of the rioters apprehended following the Rodney King verdict were Hispanic, according to the Los Angeles Times of May 8, 1992. (Some may argue that many Americans they know personally of Mexican ancestry are law-abiding; but the question isn't whether *all* Hispanics engage in un-Christian behavior, but whether enough do so to make the "good Catholic" attribution uncharitable.) And finally, for those who think the current wave of immigrants are assimilating are invited to feast their eyes on El Cenizo, Texas which adopted Spanish as its offical language under Bush's gubernatorial reign. In fact, most of the American southwest is indistinguishable from Mexico.
One week before the 9/11 disaster, pollster John Zogby released the results of a poll he'd recently conducted regarding Bush's proposal to grant the estimated 8-to-11 million illegals residing in the US amnesty. The results revealed only a marginal shift in Hispanic support for Bush in 2004, irrespective of his decision to grant US illegals amnesty. Thus, the GOP is devoting itself to creating voting blocs in the American southwest, and eventually, the rest of America. If the GOP envisions any kind of future for their party, they best read Buchanan's book. Its contents are prophetic.