Easter and the Resurrection of the West

Midway through the penitential season of Lent,
weighed down by short days, gloomy weather, and still
gloomier prognostications regarding what Pat Buchanan

calls
“the death of the West,” I crawled down with
three friends into the Grand Canyon to make a
strenuous forty-five-mile hike in the bowels of the
earth. Emerging nine days later, recharged by the
intense physical ordeal, I boarded the America West De
Haviland in Flagstaff and opened the book I had
brought with me in my daypack: Hilaire Belloc`s

Europe and the Faith
, first published in 1920,
in a 1992 paperback edition by TAN.

“Now it has been the singular fortune of our European
civilization,” I read as the plane scraped over the
pine-forested Mogollon Rim and descended above sere
broken canyons to a landing in Phoenix,

“that an end did not
come [at what seemed to be its final and most complete
stage around the fifth century A.D.] Dissolution was in
some way checked. Death was averted….

There is no parallel to
this survival in all the history of mankind. Every other
great civilization has, after many centuries of
development, either fallen into a fixed and sterile
sameness or died and disappeared. There is nothing left
of Egypt, there is nothing left of Assyria. The Eastern
civilizations remain, but remain immovable; or if they
change can only vulgarly copy external models.

But the civilization of
Europe—the civilization, that is, of Rome and of the
Empire — had a third fortune differing both from death
and from sterility: it survived to a resurrection. Its
essential seeds were preserved for a Second Spring.”

Phoenix, Arizona, doesn`t much resemble a Second
Rome. All the same, when I deplaned at Sky Harbor I went
straight to the nearest bar to celebrate the recovery of
my spirits and the possibility—however unlikely it might
seem at present—of a Third Spring for the West in the
twenty-first century.

The renewal of the West after “this hibernation, or
sleep: this rest of the stuff of Europe” suggested to
Belloc that the flux and reflux of civilization is more
pulse than the steady flow that Western historians have
come to expect. But it suggested something else to him
as well.  

Europe, Belloc recognized, though it escaped
destruction in a succession of crises occurring between
the fourth century A.D. and the early twentieth, only
just
escaped. To Hilaire Belloc`s eye, the survival
of what he called the European “thing” through all these
crises and near-fatalities was essentially miraculous.
Since Belloc considered Europe and the Faith to be one
and the same thing, the explanation was logical enough
to a devout Christian confident in the indestructibility
of his Church. God would not—could not—let the West
succumb to its enemies, because its enemies were His
enemies, its people His people, its body of the same
stuff as His mystical One, its future the future of His
Church on earth.


Belloc`
s was, of course, the

Catholic view
of history. Yet, when we read the
story of Europe, the West, Christendom—however one
chooses to call it—the fact of its stubbornness,
resilience, and historic good fortune seems hard to
miss.

The same applies to the United States which descends
culturally and genetically from Europe and has
benefited—for most of its short life—from that same good
fortune Bismarck

had in mind
when he spoke of God taking care of
fools and the United States of America.

Things look—they are—bad for the West at the start of
the twenty-first century. But they could be worse.
History has not ended. (Including for

Francis Fukuyama,
who has written a

new book
taking it all back—most of it, anyway.)
Though the “Death of the West” is a distinct
possibility, its third renewal is possible too. “The
future,” Belloc thought, “is always a surprise.”

In present circumstances, the biggest surprise—for
the West as for

its enemies
—would be the recovery of Western nerve,
the willingness to stand up for itself and its future as
a unique civilization. Are there signs discernible today
to indicate that such a recovery is in fact occurring? I
suggest that the answer is: Yes, a few—finally!

In recent months anti-immigration sentiment in
Germany,

France
, Holland, Belgium, Norway,

Denmark
,

Italy
, and—to a lesser degree—Britain
has surged in response to the presence of

Muslim terrorist cells
, refugee scams, the
importation of

disease
, cultural dilution,

religious antagonism,
economic displacement, job
losses, inflated welfare and other costs, population
pressure. Collectively, these concerns seem to be
coalescing into a renewed sense of national identity.

More amazingly, European political parties and even
governments

appear to be responding
, as in the case of

Berlusconi
and

Bossi
in Rome and

Edmund Stoiber
`s nearly successful efforts to defeat
Germany`s first immigration bill.

As for the United States, September 11 seems likely
to prove the end of American innocence.

For decades,
polls have shown Americans to be
overwhelmingly in favor of vastly reducing immigration;
now, a nervous and tentative rethinking of mass
immigration seems to be occurring in the American
establishment, as suggested by recent articles appearing
in publications like

The New York Review of Books
and

Foreign Affairs
.

And, though it`s probably too much to expect

George W. Bush
and

Karl Rove
to get the picture, it`s beginning to look
as if the rank-and-file of Republican Party officials
can actually count. The

close vote
on 245(i) in the House suggests
skepticism on the part of many. Then, of course, there`s
Senator Byrd`s

action
to block 245(i) in the Senate. (Who says the
only good Democrat is a dead Democrat?) Add to all this
Bush`s refusal to give Vicente Fox what he wanted in

Monterrey
last week, and it seems a certain…pattern
may be developing.

Straws in the wind, perhaps. Yet people can
change, including societies and—even—the politicians who
beset them. Hope is a virtue.

Expect therefore a miracle—in particular on this
feast of the greatest and longest-lasting of all
miracles, the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ from
the dead.

To that end, the editors of VDARE.COM direct their
Easter prayers—and on behalf of their readers, too!

Chilton
Williamson Jr.

is the author of The
Immigration Mystique: America`s False Conscience

and an editor and columnist for Chronicles
Magazine, where he writes the The Hundredth Meridian
column about life in the Rocky Mountain West.

March 29, 2002