Saturday, October 17, 2015


After I told Justin I was ending our conversation, he sent me three long emails in a row. I opened them, to see if he’d come to his senses, but each was just another Islamophobic rant. Does he imagine he can persuade me if he repeats himself often enough? 

I reread Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, preparing myself to debate Justin, but he said nothing I could refute because his Islamophobia is emotional, not rational. So, to clear my head of his nonsense, I read about the migration of Muslims from the ME into the EU.

These refugees are not the poor, who suffer the most, but well-to-do educated people who can afford to leave. I should have known this from my own family’s escape from Stalin’s USSR. 

This is merely the latest phase of the migrations that began with the two world wars. The would-be Caliphate is this century’s equivalent of the last century’s would-be thousand-year Reich (but no one condemned all Europeans for the barbarism of the fascists, as Islamophobes like Justin now condemn all Muslims for the barbarism of the jihadists).

The history of our species consists of migrations. People leave the empire in which they live when its decline becomes obvious, because empires in decline always go to war, preying on other empires in order to delay their own collapse. But all empires are in decline, whether or not their decline is obvious. The empire we used to call Western civilization has always sustained itself by war because it began to decline the moment it was established.

Every revolution was an attempt to overthrow the empire and restore the lost Golden Age, that ideal egalitarian society we imagine but have never been able to make real. And every revolution was followed by a counter-revolution, in which the empire’s rulers tried to undo the revolution and ensure another never happened. 

The history of the last century, of which the two world wars were merely a phase, consisted of the empire’s reaction to the Russian revolution. That revolution destroyed many of the old multilingual, multicultural monarchies. The monolingual, monocultural nation-states which arose from their ruins, calling themselves republics, are merely their fragments, and therefore equally imperialist. Only the ideology of empire was discredited. Every dictatorship calls itself a republic now. 

Stalin gave up the dream of spreading the revolution throughout the world, the goal which supposedly legitimized the USSR's ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, for ‘socialism in one country’. Hitler’s National Socialism was, by definition, socialism in one country. Hitler plundered the Jews to enrich ‘real’ Germans just as Stalin plundered the kulaks, and the USA’s rulers plundered and enslaved native Americans and Africans in their quest to become the world's last and greatest empire. Every ruling class dreams of restoring its own lost Golden Age, an ideal society in which slaves always obey their masters.

But we no longer believe in imperialism or socialism or any other ideology. We no longer believe in the old gods or the new, however much we pretend to. Our species seems to have reached an intellectual limit beyond which we cannot evolve, cannot come up with new ideas, so we will make no more revolutions. We'll just keep thinking the same things, doing the same things over and over again until we and our world die.

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