Jonah Goldberg argues that the healthy, modern civilization is unnatural, not far from Hobbes’s assertion that the natural life is nasty, brutish and short. Civilization is unnatural and corruption, like rust, is what naturally happens to every good institution. Something happened about 300 years ago that gave us an unnatural world of full bellies, sanitation, medicine, and human rights which he calls “the Miracle”.
When people say that the government or the nation is — or should be — like a family (or a military unit or any other microcosmic group), they argue for erasing everything that enables the Miracle. But that is what people crave today.
This is all to introduce his new book, “The Suicide of the West“. He says large factions on all sides are like the farmer who killed the golden goose.
When the goose politely demurs, he kills it out of a sense of entitlement — the opposite of gratitude.
The Miracle is our goose. And rather than be grateful for it, our schools, our culture, and many of our politicians say we should resent it for not doing more. Conservatism is a form of gratitude, because we conserve only what we are grateful for. Our society is talking itself out of gratitude for the Miracle and teaching our children resentment. Our culture affirms our feelings as the most authentic sources of truth when they are merely the expressions of instincts, and considers the Miracle a code word for white privilege, greed, and oppression.
This is corruption. And it is a choice. Collectively, we are embracing entitlement over gratitude. That is suicidal. I did not call my book “Decline of the West” or “Death of the West,” because suicide is a choice.