“The horrifying reality is that radical Islam and the various brands of Communism actually practice what they preach. Hundreds of millions of murdered souls testify to that plain truth.“
You don’t need an electron microscope to see the line separating civilization and barbarism.
In the twenty-first century, the indulged and soft generations in the West, unbolted from the legacy of Moral Order, human freedom, and individual responsibility that first secured their comfortable lives, are stunned to see the raw violence in Ukraine, and now the unconscionable and horrifying viciousness of the October 7th attack by Hamas terrorists on Israeli citizens and the resultant military assault on Gaza it demanded.
Ukraine’s violence is a bit more camouflaged – tanks and planes destroyed or buildings blowing up. You have to dig a bit more to see the bloated, mutilated bodies killed by modern munitions and the brutal warfare dragging on.
But the footage from Israel – captured in part by Hamas terrorists themselves as well as security and dashboard cams – is heart-stopping, perhaps as no other war modern war documentation has been. Merely a list of the terrorist atrocities is shocking enough – beheadings, repeated raping, crushed skulls, eyes torn out, infants stuffed in ovens.
But this is the real world in every century, at some level. Only the smallest space separates our civilization – or any that has ever been – from plunging into barbarism. An evil and deafening thunder rock the human soul, and the sounds of any decency, mercy, or goodness turn to whispers. The beautiful flees in the din of chaos and collapse. Disorder arrests innocence, and death lingers everywhere.
The best among us become capable of the worst of us. That’s history’s story.
Ignoring the sweep of 5,000 years of history, the last one-hundred-ten years alone have produced two World Wars, the first taking 40-50 million lives and the second killing 100 million or more. Two world-changing communist “revolutions” in Russia and China produced over 100 million more deaths, possibly much more between Stalin and Mao, as they consolidated power or put down opposition created by their disastrous social and economic programs.
And there were hundreds of other wars and civil wars across those decades, each as horrific as the next.
It is a very long and sobering list.
Some have suggested, led by Harvard professor, psychologist, and author Steven Pinker in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature, that the incidence and depth of violence are decreasing with generally improving human conditions worldwide. He believes that the applications of reason, science, and “humanism” are responsible.
But it seems that the last 50 years aren’t trendsetting but rather a modest dip at best.
Three dangerous world-changing movements speak loudly to the ever-present danger of barbarism gathering like a towering thunderhead on the horizon, announcing the coming storm: Radical Islam, totalitarian Russia, and communist China. They are all adversaries of human freedom and peace loose on the world stage – who love death more than life.
The Western World seems unwilling or unable to react to the coming storm other than fund these countries, appease them, and pretend they are normal countries who want the same thing – civilized freedom – as the Western World wants when it’s clear they don’t.
We import their citizens virtually unfiltered, clothe them, and feed them. We allow their people total access to our commerce and freedom of movement – and we’re surprised when some of them curse us and hate us instead of assimilating into civilization’s opportunity.
The rise of Radical Islam in the post-World War II world has seen 11 million Muslims killed by other Muslims across the globe (the Iran-Iraq War in 1982 and the ongoing Syrian Civil War have killed 2 to 3 million alone). Its various radical groups have also carried out terror attacks across the world from Asia, Africa, and the Americas, including the 9-11 attack in the US (and innumerable mass murders around the world, such as the Fort Hood massacre in Texas).
Iran is only the largest of the radical web of Islam and the most active – with an extensive network of front groups receiving its support, if not proxy status. These groups include Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon (with branches in Europe, Latin America, and Africa), the Houthi in Yemen, and others in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Southeast Asia.
The movement of Radical Islam – as shown in the Israeli attacks, among countless others – is always pursuing two objectives – the elimination of Jews and Americans anywhere and the implementation of Sharia law everywhere – even among other Muslims. Jihad or Holy War always intends to practice what the Quran teaches, which is a theocracy based on Sharia law and full submission to the point of death. They continually tell us that. (The name Islam derives from “aslama,” or “total submission.”)
Meanwhile, the Russian Federation has lost the outward ornaments of the communist-era Soviet Union. But replacing a politburo with a handful of billionaire oligarchs doesn’t make it less so. And despite the historical failure of socialism in all its various iterations, President Vladimir Putin is, of course, a former officer in the KGB and still loves “Marxism,” as he has stated publicly.
The evidence supports his contention. Freedom of expression, official opposition, and press freedom in Russia are strictly controlled and becoming more so. The government monitoring of social media has become increasingly invasive and used to track and detain citizens who are activists or draft dodgers. Numerous journalists have disappeared, and some have been “executed” by poisoning by unknown assailants. The Russian Orthodox church is in lockstep with the Putin government, while other religions are strictly supervised or banned. (Even the US Commission on International Religious Freedom has labeled Russia one of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom.)
Russia’s economy is as feeble as ever, which makes it as dangerous as ever. With over 145 million citizens, its economy is smaller than Italy’s, which has a population of under 60 million. One proponent of free market economic reforms after the Soviet Union’s collapse, Grigory Yavlinsky, gave a grim diagnosis of the economy in a 2015 interview that is more true today:
“[Businesses] are dependent [on bureaucrats]. No one can escape the influence of the state in Russia. And everyone lives in fear that their property will be taken from them if they resist. Business and state power are so interdependent in Russia to an extent that almost no one in the West can really imagine.”
One thing Russia does have in abundance is an arsenal of nuclear missiles. So there’s that.
The invasion of Ukraine – following the uncontested invasion of Crimea in 2012 – is a historical pattern that should be historically obvious. (Stalin, of course, starved millions of Ukrainians to death in 1932.) Mr. Putin wants the old empire back. Yet this time, Mr. Putin is throwing around threats of using nuclear weapons and is already joining the ideological, anti-American diatribes by China — a world-spanning tag team.
Communist China, saved by Western investments and technology from the depths of national poverty and starvation brought on by its collectivist economic policies and unending blood-letting, is now the Asian powerhouse both economically and militarily. Having stolen virtually any patent, idea, or business not nailed down, China makes no secret of its intentions to “dominate and reshape the world,” to use its own words – ironically employing the West’s own money.
To that end, China claims the entire South China Sea, from Taiwan in the North to Malaysia and Brunei in the South, sitting astride the Philippines. (One would think Japan to the north and Australia to the South would be thinking that is uncomfortably close.)
China’s modern Mao impersonator, Xi Jinping, is nothing if not ambitious. He’s the son of a high-level communist official imprisoned by Mao and is himself a well-studied communist who has climbed over bodies to gain power. Currently, Mr. Xi runs the world’s largest slave camps, holding up to 2 million prisoners. Forced labor, sterilizations, and organ harvesting are commonplace. During the second COVID wave (that they released initially deliberately, but you’re not supposed to say it), whole towns and cities, including 26 million in Shanghai, were placed on draconian lockdowns without food or water, and many had their doors welded shut.
That’s just how China rolls.
The romanticized story of China that came to the public’s mind with Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth in the 1930s still lingers in the West. But the history of China begs to differ. A causal scan of the list of the hundreds upon hundreds of internal wars, sieges, coups, and civil wars alone over the last 4,000 years is enlightening. The historical story of China is that of a nation always at war with itself and those around it.
Hundreds of millions of people have died at the hands of these three powerful adversaries of freedom, civilization, and God in only the past hundred-plus years. Why wouldn’t we believe them when they publicly state that they intend to drag the world into modern barbarism?
More to the point, where are the serious voices in the West speaking about the coming storm and how to prepare for it?