Lamenting the death of the West.
Conservatives love little more than to lament the death of the West. Each year brings new books on the subject, almost all soon forgotten. A handful endure: Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West (1923) comes to mind, as does Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn To Decadence (2000), and now, I’d wager, Spencer Klavan’s How To Save The West. The associate editor of this journal, as well as the features editor for The American Mind and host of the Young Heretics podcast, Klavan might well outperform those two predecessors in educating and edifying the public. Unlike the sometimes inscrutable Spengler, Klavan writes in clear and eloquent prose, and unlike the venerable Barzun, he confines his vision of civilizational collapse to just a couple hundred pages. Best of all for an anxious modern audience, the author illuminates a path forward in our rapidly darkening times.
Klavan identifies five key modern crises: of reality, body, meaning, religion, and regime. As technological wizards such as Mark Zuckerberg threaten to wrest us from the real world and thrust our minds into a “metaverse” of their own imaginations, we begin to wonder whether objective reality—“truth independent of authority, including the authority of ‘experts’ and of majority opinion”—even exists.
The virtual realities in which we now
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