The End of the Dream

Soviet soldiers raise the flag over the Reichstag in Berlin, 1945

Two broken Tigers on fire in the night
                 flicker their souls to the wind
We wait in the lines for the final approach to begin
It’s been almost four years that I’ve carried a gun
At home it’ll almost be spring
The flames of the Tigers are lighting the road to Berlin
Ah, quickly we move through the ruins that bow to the ground
The old men and children they send out to face us,
                 they can’t slow us down
And all that I ever was able to see
The eyes of the city are opening now, it’s the end of the dream

— Al Stewart, from “Roads to Moscow”

On May 8, 1945, Soviet troops entered Berlin, quickly wiping out the last German resistance whilst looting and raping amid the ruins of a once-proud city.

To the surviving residents of Berlin, it must have seemed that Götterdämmerung — which was what Hitler had predicted if the German people failed him and the Nazi cause — had indeed arrived. Ten years previously, or even five years previously, it would have been unimaginable that the great and glorious Third Reich would ever come to this.

Western Civilization is rapidly approaching the point when it will have to awaken from its own dream. But the analogy with the end of Nazi Germany is not particularly apt, since the Third Reich existed for a mere twelve years. And the crucial period of modern history, in which Europe was all but destroyed, lasted for only thirty-one years: from June 28, 1914 until the summer of 1945.

The origins of the Dream of the West may be traced to various dates, depending on the ideological lens through which the past is scrutinized. Did our current Weltanschauung begin with the American Revolution in 1776? The French Revolution in 1789? Or should we move further back, to the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648?

Americans may want to assign the birth of our current behemoth to the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Europeans might trace their modern system to the Congress of Vienna in 1815, or to the novel nationalist-democratic arrangements that emerged after the Revolutions of 1848.

In any case, the order which is now coming to an end is at least a century old, and probably much older. Its history encompasses the codification of the sovereign nation-state, the emergence of nationalism, the (often reluctant) transition to modern democracy, the creation of the socialist welfare state, and finally the invention of the “fiat money” system to pay for the rest of it.

Our venerated cultural order will breathe its last within a generation. Whether it departs the scene with a bang or a whimper, it must needs give way to something else, a different way of ordering society. Its collapse is mathematically inevitable, for it is a house built upon the sand.

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

— Matthew 7:27

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In the comments on Wednesday’s post “Punching Down”, an anonymous commenter left the following observation:

Every now and then when I think about it, I’m astonished again by the fantasy world in which the European elites must dwell.

It must be a fantasy that they hold to with religious fervor. Otherwise, how could one account for the fact that they act as if they do not care what kind of world they leave for their children and grandchildren?

Not that our American counterparts are much better.

Yes, the fantasy is coming to an end. The political and cultural leaders of Europe, North America, and Australia share the same dream. Those at the highest levels of government and business generally view themselves as a trans-national ruling class with no great attachment to any single nation or people. Their collective dream is one of global governance — presided over by themselves, of course — propped up by a financial system that keeps power in the hands of the oligarchs who run it, and prevents any serious irruption from “the mutable, rank-scented many” beneath.

The fall of a system as extensive, wealthy, powerful, and well-entrenched as ours will be catastrophic in scope. Rather than the end of the Third Reich, the fall of the Roman Empire provides an event of comparable historical significance.

The fall of Rome was a slow-motion process that took place over several centuries, even though it appeared rapid in hindsight a millennium later. The collapse of the Westphalian Order may occur more suddenly, given the existence of instantaneous worldwide communication networks. Alternatively, we may be in for a gradual descent into poverty, social degradation, and disorder, followed by the emergence of a new order whose form cannot yet be imagined.

Yet the change will come. The leaders of the Western democracies are in deep denial, for they have driven their countries so far into debt that the bill can never be paid off. As is true of all Ponzi schemes, the collapse of the current fiat money regime is a mathematical certainty. The only question is when it will happen.

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The Roman Empire depended for its political hegemony on the strength and discipline of its legions, which conquered new territories and then garrisoned them as they were incorporated into the Empire. The well-being of the center depended on taxation and slavery, both of which institutions were maintained by soldiers sent from Rome.

In our modern transnational imperium, what is analogous to the Roman legions?

EUSSRThe American military is obviously crucial to the maintenance of international order, but it hardly accounts for the success of, say, the European Union in subduing its citizenry and suppressing any significant dissent. The EU can scarcely muster more divisions than were proverbially available to the Pope, yet it manages to control its subjects with unprecedented efficacy. Stalin and Mao could only dream of ruling over such a passive and compliant populace. To a lesser extent, the same is true of the political order in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

The secret of our rulers’ success lies in the combined carrot-and-stick incentives provided by the all-encompassing welfare state. Compliant citizens are rewarded with short working hours, subsidized amenities of all kinds, long paid vacations, “free” health coverage, and early retirement. Dissenters may be ruthlessly suppressed by the withdrawal of some or all of these perquisites, augmented by various forms of official harassment whose Kafkaesque intricacies are made possible by the technological ingenuities of a bloated state bureaucracy.

The system is further strengthened through state-sponsored propaganda, which once again is made devastatingly effective through modern technology, especially television. Indoctrination begins early in state crèches and kindergartens, intensifies in school, and reaches a baroque extreme at the university level.

The necessity for such programming is underlined by the hostility of all Western governments to home-schooling, which is outlawed entirely in some countries. The state cannot tolerate parental guidance of children, because adults — some of whom are less than fully programmed — cannot be relied upon to indoctrinate their offspring properly in the attitudes and habits that serve to maintain the system.

The result over a period of three or four generations has been to create an ill-educated, infantile, and atomized populace. The impulses to community and national solidarity have been stunted, making it difficult for dissatisfied and demoralized citizens to band together to change their circumstances.

All of the above serves to add to the wealth and the power of the elites who administer the bureaucratic and financial behemoth that drives the system. Yet it has also contributed to the demographic implosion that will make itself felt over the next generation or so. The skilled and compliant worker-bees who maintain the current order are dying out. Their replacements, who have been imported into Western countries en masse over the last thirty years, are neither skilled nor compliant. The existing order thus becomes unsustainable.

The system now depends on ever-increasing debt, at both the personal and the national level. Individuals mired in debt postpone having children, or fail to have them at all, knowing that the state has promised to take care of them in their old age. The state itself must devise more and more ingenious and occluded ways of borrowing money to maintain and increase its power. We have now reached the point where the collective debt of the Western democracies far exceeds the wealth-creating abilities of the current generation, or the next, or the one after that.

It doesn’t take a mathematician to predict that such a system is bound to end in a major FAIL. The collapse may proceed gradually, or it may arrive suddenly, but come it must.

Yet, based on the analogy with the Roman Empire, the collapse of the current order does not portend the end of the world. As Fjordman points out, it simply means the end of the world as we know it.

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The parallels between the current period and the decline of Rome are interesting and instructive, and I hope to examine them more fully in a later essay.

26 thoughts on “The End of the Dream

  1. As things change there will be those that resist.

    “Dissenters may be ruthlessly suppressed by the withdrawal of some or all of these perquisites, augmented by various forms of official harassment whose Kafkaesque intricacies are made possible by the technological ingenuities of a bloated state bureaucracy.”

    After the Russian Revolution, during Lenin’s time there came to be an organization called the Cheka. Dissidents that came to their attention disappeared.

    There was a movie made in 1992 called The Chekist. There is a full length version on Youtube at Chekist

    Things were dreadful then and God help us if that ever happens again.

    If you are prone to nightmares, do not watch the movie.

  2. A wonderfully expressed post Baron. The West is bankrupt on all fronts. As a whole, we have willingly acceded to our racial, demographic, religious, moral, societal, educational and economic breakdown.

    The people who have inflicted this upon the West are Socialists/Marxists/Communists. An economically bankrupt West with an ever declining tax-payer base and an ever growing tax-eater base does not seem to bother them greatly though. After all, if enough people are mired in poverty and social unrest (as they will be) perhaps a return to Communism will become an attractive alternative to “failed” Democratic Capitalism.

    If nothing changes this will be our future I am afraid, and I have yet to be convinced that this has not been caused by planned leftist evil intent, rather than liberalism’s criminal incompetence.

    If the people who caused this were not Socialists/Marxists then perhaps I could be accused of being a right-wing conspiracy theorist.

    But they ARE Socialists…..and we have a lot of turmoil ahead of us. Europe is in a far more dangerous position in 2011 than it was in 1911, and look what happened after that….

    We will wake up tomorrow morning to an unchanged world, as we will the day after that and the day after that.

    But we will NOT wake up to an unchanged world in 2030, let alone 2111.

  3. ChristianInfidel says:

    So beautifully written that I had to remind myself more than once that beauty of presentation does not in any way guarantee quality of substance, and that I therefore needed to evaluate what I was reading and not simply take it in unquestioningly.

    Having said that, and having done that (evaluation) as best I can in my relative ignorance, this makes a lot of sad sense to me, and I think a fair amount of the beauty I sense is substantial, not just a matter of presentation. I think it is a function of clarity and truth in the words. Even sad clarity and truth can feel like water to a thirsty person when they are hard to come by.

    And, speaking of that hard-to-find truth, the article about Hungary (Hurrah!) and the video about the OIC at the UN both had me asking myself why I have not heard about these truths from the mainstream media. (Is the French video a mainstream French media production?)

  4. “The parallels between the current period and the decline of Rome are interesting and instructive, and I hope to examine them more fully in a later essay.”

    Research about the Foederati in the Roman Empire. The Later Roman Empire, due to lack of manpower (not unlike Europe today), allowed barbarian tribes to settle in the Empire. These autonomous areas (enclaves) within the empire were called Foederati. The barbarian Foederatis (states within the state) were expected to protect the borders, but in the end, many of them turned against the Empire and looted many provinces.
    The last emperor of the Western Roman Empire was deposed by barbarian foederati leader named Odoacer, who led an internal barbarian revolt against the Empire, captured Rome, and later became the king of Italy.

    Even the Guardian sees connection between the Foederati and the current situation in Europe.

    “What the Romans can teach us about refugees. The disastrous battle of Adrianople shows that treating asylum seekers badly cannot end well”

  5. It’s probably already been done, but a bumber sticker saying “Western Civilization: FAIL” seems appropriate. Perhaps it will be the last product of capitalism before we transition to the barter system, advertised on the last infomercial ever seen before the electric grids go out, never to come on again. Or perhaps there will be one final infomercial after that one: Western Civilization – on sale for three easy payments of $19.95! Call now! – RoR

  6. I would hesitate to identify the major break with fundamentally sustainable economics as being so ancient. The pressure for nations to devalue their currency to fund government spending is more ancient than money itself, after all. And while the new international socialist movements are novel, the fundamental tendency of every privileged class in history has been to imagine the society which granted those privileges as the ultimate good because it was the easiest way to justify their own importance.

    What is new is the global imposition of reliance on a single fiat currency. And the dollar was (at least nominally) backed by gold as late as 1971. A world in which dollars (and all currencies based on them) are worthless may be unimaginable to many in the West, but the Chinese (for whom the “gold standard” had less magic) and those currently seeking alternatives can well imagine the level of international and intranational breakdown that will occur. And of course the constant production of fiat money is essential to the scheme by which the majority of people are enabled to belong to the privileged class via the welfare state. It is no longer only the elite who think as the French Aristocracy came to think, but everyone for whom money is considered an intrinsic good rather than a medium of exchange subject to the unconstrained theoretical operation of the law of supply and demand.

    For those that can think of what they will do when money is no accepted as a means of paying for goods, services, or protection, the adjustment to the new ways of the world will be difficult but hardly unimaginable.

    Chiu Chun-Ling.

  7. One should see thinks in a much more broader historical context. Civilizations born, grow up, flourish and die. This is the natural course of things. This cannot be stopped.

  8. And I think of you now as a dream that I had long ago
    In a Kingdom lost to time…..
    Down the legion of years
    The invaders have taken this land….

    Al Stewart – Merlin’s Time

    Harder and harder to be optimistic.

  9. The end of the road, maybe beginning this year 2012 (Mayas or not) will be when all these fiat-money funded state bureaucracies and amenities come to an end. Civil servants, who never learned but to relax in a warm office may begin to feel starvation and find themselves unable to even grow a carrot. They might take courses with itinerant people on how to survive on the road. Those trained in weapons and combat may form, or associate with, marauding gangs. And Europe will see ethnic cleansing just as Yugoslavia demonstrated in a nutshell. About what happened after the Roman empire collapsed. Only Rome didn’t have nuclear power stations that can run dry and overheat and create a few dozen Fukushimas in Europe. After several hundred years -most records destroyed- historians will once again scratch their heads and wonder how it came to this – after all, such a developped “culture”.

  10. Thank you, Baron, for your, as always, perspicacious and prospective article, based on your vast knowledge. However, there are more between present and future than are dreamt of in any human’s philosophy. We can acknowledge the headlines of developments and draw conclusions from them in macro-terms, but there is also an onoverseeable sea of currents, under-currents and micro-factors in this complicated processs. And, foremost, there may still rise unexpected people with unexpected visions and influence. On the whole, the situation in America is more dangerous than that in Europe as the American states are less different from each other than the European ones, and the American culture is more egalitarian and more adaptive to new mass developments than the European one. On the other hand, the general mindset in the USA is more feedom-based than that in Europe. Much will depend on the presidential elections in France and in the USA this year. Are there candidates who really understand the situation and the unique challenges of this time, and can they provide an effective answer ? And will they be able to convince the majority of the voters ? Most candidates seem to be more the representatives, if not prisoners, of the past, than the trendsetters for the future.


  11. Probably Romans in the Western Empire didn’t realize that their civilization was slowly disappearing. They noticed an increase in the number of barbarian men with beards and trousers in the cities and countryside. Of course these immigrants would, as for the past 700 years, become assimilated Romans, nothing to worry about really, Roman ‘soft power’ would prevail.

  12. Once the Welfare State collapses along with the fiat money/banking system which props up the Welfare State. So does the dream of the elites of wiping out Western Civilization.

    The thing is, the Welfare State has been their club, their jack-boot on the necks tradition Western Civilization. Once it’s gone, so is the bread and circuses that has kept people distracted while the elite degraded and destroyed the West’s culture and values.

    This is why the elites are doing everything to keep the system going, even as the wheels are slowly coming. They know once their system collapses the backlash will be horrific.

    Think about it, the record number of weapons purchased in the U.S. since Obama was elected, isn’t about self-defense any more, but preparations for something far worse. People know it’s coming.

    The Lefties/Marxists/Globalists don’t see this, since most live in a self-referential world.

  13. Paul Weston –

    “The people who have inflicted this upon the West are Socialists/Marxists/Communists.”

    This telling simplification of the article’s message seems to be just (over) half of the story, and I don’t know if the Baron would agree. Would you consider Pres. Nixon, Reagan, father & son Bush to be Marxists?

    Kind regs from Amsterdam,

  14. The origins of the Dream of the West may be traced to various dates, depending on the ideological lens through which the past is scrutinized.

    The final flicker of the Easter Roman Empire extinguished in 1452 with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. The Holy Roman Empire saw itself as the heir to the Western Roman empire and ancient Greece. And, in a way, we can argue a continuity of vision between the vision of a Europe of Charlemagne and the vision behind the European Economic Community post WWII. However, today’s EU has no connection with this vision. As many have pointed out, the monstrosity of the EU is closer to being the heirs of the USSR.

    So one can argue that the somewhere between 1945 and 2012 the final flicker of the the Western Roman empire went out. The exact date is hard to pinpoint from our immersed perspective but key contributing elements are 1) the culture of self hatred stemming from the holocaust, colonialism, and segregation, that opened the door to the systematic instrumentalisation of the UN Asylumn and Refuge conventions to break the social cohesion of European peoples, 2) for Germany the fatal signing, as a result of pressure from the United States, of the Anwerbeabkommen between West Germany and Turkey in 1961 (for France and GB the ending of Colonialism and the resulting guilt tripping), and 3) the end of the USSR (26 December 1991).

    So we could date the final flicker as 1991. The disintegration has been gathering pace since then and of course contributed to the events of 2001, ten years later (see Hamburg cell). The love embrace of left-wing terrorism and Islamic terrorism was the training ground for the Greens like Joschka Fischer and Daniel Cohn-Bendit (1994 he was elected to the European parliament), thinking that became mainstream EU-thinking post-1991.

  15. I disagree. The elites are not stupid nor crazy nor particularly suicidal. They want Western Civ changed “for the better” (amounts to “destroyed” for the rest of us) but they persist.

    I maintain and I insist there is something they know that we don’t – something they’re banking on to keep them safe and insulated and in power in perpetuity, come what may…absolute financial and societal collapse, revolution, invasion…

    There IS something they know (or think they know) that we don’t. Yet.

  16. Sag. —

    No, I don’t agree, at least not in an uncomplicated way.

    If you’ve hung around here a long time, you’ve heard me say repeatedly: “I’m not a Republican — I hate Republicans! The only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat!”

    Even most Democrats are not avowed Marxists, and most Democrats are not out-and-out socialists like Obama. Yet they pick up the virus nonetheless, without realizing it. It’s in the air, the water, and the food. It’s in the books, the magazines, the newspapers, on the TV, on the internet. You can’t help but be infected by it. Almost no one is immune.

    This is why Republicans have gradually become more and more like Democrats. Without knowing where they come from, they pick up Progressive ideas — the American alternative to Marxism — and incorporate them in their political repertoire. How could they do anything else? There is virtually no other corpus of ideology available to them in the public space.

    Back in 1932 Republicans were still different from Democrats. And in 1968 Nixon was less like a Democrat than Romney is in 2012. Thanks to Universal Media Indoctrination, the basic programs offered by the two parties have all but merged.

    The only significant difference remains the fact that some Republicans — some, mind you — are still staunch proponents of defending their country and securing its borders against hostile foreigners. There are almost NO such Democrats anymore; the last few will die out in the near future.

  17. Hi Baron –

    “No, I don’t agree, at least not in an uncomplicated way. [..] If you’ve hung around here a long time, you’ve heard me say repeatedly: “I’m not a Republican — I hate Republicans! The only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat!”

    That’s what I figured, but it’s certainly good to be reminded of it.

    Only thing that had me puzzled, well somewhat still, is the endorsement of this “Foundry”, pro Central Banking, Enterprise Fnd site on economic matters, since, i.m.o. at least, they’re only pro small government and free market in name and rhetoric.

    Kind regs from Amsterdam,

  18. “There IS something they know (or think they know) that we don’t. Yet.”

    Yes. Very shortly, elites are going to RFID chip every product and every person in the world.

    All gates and doors will require chips to open and will track your movements – and there will be far more gates and doors.

    All purchases will require chips that will track you from cradle to grave – and even track your trash so that they can tax your trash.

    Universal healthcare is just a big fat evil excuse to chip everyone.

    Mandatory Microchip in Obamacare (fair warning, there are religious overtones to this site)

    Read SpyChips by Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre.

    Three minute video of Katherine Albrecht – A MUST SEE!

    RFID chips are real and patented and being implemented by EVERY major company as we speak.

    People poo-poo this BUT there are all sorts of trade articles where companies are incorporating RFID chips into their products – and employees!

    RFID Journal – look at the top bar – every type of human enterprise has chip initiatives

  19. Those who have taught that “all cultures are equal” in the witless, unhistorical, delusional, m.c./p.c. illusion that “being nice [qua nonjudgmental] to everybody will make them nice back to you” have poisoned the once-pragmatic soul of the West for the past three or four generations.

    Essentially since the rise of the one-world/ all-comrades communist movement… and these same wellsprings-of-being poisoners- and their heirs- have studiously ignored its bloodthirsty reign and absolutely bankrupt Fall, ~conveniently ~ for the survival their socialist/communist-lite philosophical vacuity.

    If you do NOT know the meaning, basis, and fundamental worth of your own culture, you are prey to any invasive group who still values their own.

    Islam values itself highly.

    As crocodiles don’t question their right to drag wildebeests under the river’s surface and happily gnaw on their corpses, Islam and other “healthy” (in the most narrow sense of the word) forces in the world will prey on those lands and peoples who have lost their moral, philosophical, historical and cultural bearings.

    Our bearings have been largely eviscrated by the influx of toxic alien nonsense about “standard human evils” –faults that are common to all peoples and placesas being specific to the West.

    As if the Islamic “crescades” (the Muslim expansionistic precursor of the reviled Christian crusades) were not an “evil”, somehow, ~just because “non-Christian”/”non-European” people pursued them.

    How the “educated” and educating fools in the West swallowed this cosmic tripe so eaily, so unskeptically, so totally and so (perhaps) fatally for so long is the stunning part of this unfolding catastrophe.

    If you do it, it’s bad. If they do the same thing, it’s good. (Especially when it harms you… nyah-nyah-nyah!)”

    How was this believed?

    How is it still swallowed?

  20. Certainly the plans of the elites go beyond such trinkets as the use of implanted RFID chips and such. But it is worth remembering that they have been thinking about the peoples of the West as enemies for a long time.

    Some of this kind of thinking is indeed imposed by the influence of Marxism, but to a degree “class struggle” is not so much an invention of Marx as an observation of what always will exist in some degree between the privileged elites of society and the great masses on whose labors those elites are supported. Genuine social mobility helps to reduce this hostility, but never obviates it (and the dislike of the established elites for the real effects of social mobility means that they would always rather find other ways of dealing with the effects of social envy).

    The actual policies which have led to the current crisis are definitely forwarded by Marxists even where they could not be said to have the power to ‘impose’ them outright. Of course the same thing could be said of communist revolutions…how many of those actually putting their lives on the line for “the cause” were the Marxists themselves?

    The chimerical fantasy of a totalitarian arrangement of society overseen by the Marxists somehow leading to a perfect Utopia of total equality and the dissolution of any need for the tools of oppressive government is different only in superficial form from the promises made to to the elites if they forward socialist programs put forward by the Marxist. It is the devil speaking out both sides of his mouth, is all.

    Chiu Chun-Ling.

  21. Chiu: The entire point of RFID chips is the ability of Marxist governments to track and control ALL human activity.

    At the end of the video above, Katherine Albrecht mentions that governments will be willing to turn RFID chips OFF in order to make people into non-citizens who will be unable to perform the most tasks in society including buying food, traveling roads, obtaining education, and getting employment.

  22. Certainly. But the ability to make someone a “non-person” in the official sense doesn’t count for much if you don’t foreclose on their natural ability to continue being a person unofficially. That is to say, they can remove you from the system, but all the good things that the system allows access to came from outside the system in the first place, and it will be those outside the system that will naturally have the primary access to them (though only to those goods proximate them).

    Which is why the totalitarians also must invest heavily in ways to enact direct force against those that are not part of the system anymore.

    Chiu Chun-Ling.

  23. ‘Those at the highest levels of government and business generally view themselves as a trans-national ruling class with no great attachment to any single nation or people. Their collective dream is one of global governance — presided over by themselves, of course — propped up by a financial system that keeps power in the hands of the oligarchs who run it’

    Paul Weston: ‘The people who have inflicted this upon the West are Socialists/Marxists/Communists’

    Hmm … who of all the tribes in the world does that remind me of?

  24. Great post, but what do we DO?

    Stand around and blog?
    Join a commune and start learning sustainable agriculture in a post-technological world?

    Buy a gun (been there, done that, then realized the USA is not the nation it once was (Cf. Patriot Act, NDAA, Lieberman’s ‘deny citizenship’ bill), and is ruled by ONE class alone, who HATE WHites/Europeans/Christians?

    Become an EXPAT? Where do we go? Can we be like the Amish in Nicaragua? Would we WANT to live in Nevis? really?

    Great to have observations, but short on the solutions.. don’t help much, now, do it?

    – Fr. John+

  25. Fr. John —

    You evidently have not been a reader at Gates of Vienna very long.

    Since the 910 Group formed 5 years ago, a network of committed translatlantic activists has been steadily at work, attempting to make a difference. Our numbers are growing, and we are having an effect.

    It should be obvious, however, that not all we do is described here. This site simply acts as a “bulletin board” for the transatlantic Counterjhad.

    There’s no alternative: in order to do something, one has to leave the keyboard and the monitor and interact with other people face to face.

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