American Babylon and The Kolakovic Moment

‘Live not by Lies ‘

Pondering American pop culture’s poison as the West stumbles towards civilizational collapse

Here’s news from Europe on the edge of an economic catastrophe: a major power company in Vienna is on the verge of bankruptcy because it bought energy futures, and now, with prices soaring, it can’t cover the cost of its losses. It will likely need to be rescued by the state…but what if all state energy suppliers fail? I was told that the friend who shared this story with me suggested, “Imagine Vienna without electricity at all (at worst). It’s still not winter. Vienna can get extremely windy. These are the kinds of things that can overthrow governments. “

Yes. Viktor Orban stated this earlier in the year and has said it throughout the year. Who listens? According to Western media and Western scholars, he is a bad man.

I was having breakfast in Rome with two Polish Catholic women, who had been part of the conference that I spoke at over the weekend. They spoke about winter approaching. They’re afraid. Everyone is. I was told by one of them that those who have the money to purchase wood-heated stoves for heating their homes are trying, but there is a three month wait list.

In the same conversation, this woman — which I will call Anya but it’s not her real identity — said that she agreed with young Poles, who informed me that Poland would follow the path of Ireland over the next ten years, with near total faith collapse. When she was young, she had no faith and went to France to study. She was shocked at how ideologically-oriented the courses in one of France’s top academic schools were. Although she was not religious herself, she was not prepared to accept the politicization of scholarship. This ideology of academic life was even spreading beyond the university campuses, via the media and into daily life.

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She eventually returned to Poland and became concerned at the insecurity of her countrymen towards this ideology virus from the West. You have to realize that freedom is a matter of necessity for Poles and all those who were under Communism. This is a good thing. The West would do us harm, which was what Polish citizens didn’t know back then. It was obvious to me, and nobody believed it. It’s now happening all over Poland. “

We discussed how malignant ideas can be carried out on English-language media abroad. The poison is everywhere English media are consumed. This is a crucial point.

I shared this tweet from Steven Pinker with her, in which he decries the ideological takeover at a leading scientific journal.

Journalists & psychologists take note: Nature Human Behavior is no longer a peer-reviewed scientific journal but an enforcer of a political creed. https://t.co/3qXFGizt6h pic.twitter.com/G5BgB2hpqD. https://t.co/3qXFGizt6h pic.twitter.com/G5BgB2hpqD

— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) August 26, 2022

Also, her father, who was raised in Communist Poland believed that Science was the only way to truth. She said that there are many people who think this, and they’re being controlled by the ideologues, who have taken over scientific institutions like this one.

I thought about how, just a few decades ago, many of us believed that the ideology that was slowly rotting our humanities wouldn’t be able to penetrate the defenses of STEM. Science and technology are dependent on maintaining a relationship to reality. We were mistaken. Our ruling class would prefer to see the whole thing crumble around them than its crazy woke ideology be falsed.

After breakfast, I came upstairs to pack for the journey back to Vienna, but I put off the task to read Abigail Shrier’s latest dispatch on her invaluable Substack. She discusses the growing trend in which parents enroll their children in language-learning programs. According to her, she knew there was more than parents wanting their children to learn a foreign language. That intuition led her to conclude that parents do not want their children to speak more Japanese or Chinese but they are looking for their kids less American.

Why might this be? Excerpt:

I dislike parenting books as a rule and distrust most who hold themselves out as “parenting experts.”But I’m a sucker for excellence. I was shocked when a number of parents told me the best parenting books they had ever seen were written by Leonard Sax, MIT-educated doctor and author. Sax is an international speaker on raising children. He believes America as a nation does a poor job of it. He says that American parents don’t have the authority to enforce basic behavior standards in their homes and aren’t even able to be considered authorities. 50 years ago boys wanted to become men. Today, however, American boys want to be boys. They don’t know what the dad is doing. They just want to give their kids a good time.”

Sure, American parents are lax. But what’s the point? He explained that it’s more than just a bit of lassitude. It’s only making our kids worse by the culture that surrounds them. He said that there is now good research on American children who can speak English at their homes compared to immigrants. He said that American children who learn English at their homes are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, self-injury, and disengagement than those who do not speak English at all.

For decades, children of American-born parents performed better than those born to recent immigrants at school. They also had higher rates of crime and better mental outcomes. In recent years, however, it became clear that the length of stay in America was linked to declining outcomes. This is the “immigrant paradox,” so named because it shocked the researchers at the time: the more time immigrants spent in this country, the worse their kids fared by all sorts of metrics. “Being American-born, raised by American parents, is now a significant risk factor for poor outcomes,” said Dr. Sax. “Being American-born and raised to American parents is a major risk factor for anxiety, depression, disengagement from school non-suicidal self-injury and many other bad outcomes, being children of immigrants and not speaking English at home now predicts good outcomes.”

She continues to state that Dr. Sax struggles to believe that American culture can be toxic for children and families. The core issue is the anti-authority reflex at the heart of American pop culture. This means that everything encourages children to hate their parents. They’re destroying the concept of the family. This is the same as last summer’s popular pre-K TV show, “Blues Clues”. This song is about sexual desire and gender identity, which define the family. It is a happy, clappy song that little kids learn:

Shrier continues:

From my years of research into the stunning spike in transgender identification among teen girls, this may be the most important take-away: social media, schools, doctors, therapists, even teachers now actively work to undermine parents’ authority and pry kids away from the values and protection of their families.

Please, please, please, read the whole thing. Abigail Shrier’s book is a treasure.

This is the same point I make in The Benedict Option: that if you want your children to hold on to the faith, or even moral sanity, you are going to have to understand that to be a faithful Christian (or Jew, or Muslim) in post-Christian America requires you to be consciously countercultural. And that means not simply holding the correct countercultural views, but undertaking practices that inculcate resistance to the poison of post-Christian American (or European) society.

It is so important to create small communities. Yesterday, I was part of a small group who heard from Cardinal George Pell about his bravery in facing false child molestation charges. We should surround ourselves with people who are able to understand our world and help us all keep focused. This resonated with the advice I received from dissidents against Communism, and relayed to readers of Live Not By Lies: that forming small intentional groups is the most important thing we can do now, because it is within the solidarity of those groups that we keep our sanity, and we are able to help each other.

Readers. You might dismiss my books as alarmism. What they predicted is actually happening now. The culture and values of America are causing a free fall in civilization. This is affecting the West’s ability to think clearly. Back in 2015, before I started writing The Benedict Option, I visited the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, the saint’s birthplace, and put my ideas to Father Cassian Folsom, at the time the prior of the monastery. After listening, he said that any Christian family who wanted it to be intact, meaning that they would have their faith preserved, through the coming years, should commit to this idea.

We’re here. Catholic Poland is in decline. At this conference, every single Polish Catholic that I spoke to said the exact same thing. There were many. Many of them echoed the sentiments of Wlodzimierz Zatski (the late Polish Benedictine priest-monk), and blamed the calamitous situation in large part on the corruption of the Polish Catholic hierarchy. The institutional church is not the only culprit. However, Polish Catholics told me they feel that the institution church doesn’t know what’s going on and has been contributing to its collapse.

In any event, it is too late to point fingers and get distracted. As I explain in Live Not By Lies, the Croatian priest Father Tomislav Kolakovic arrived in Slovakia in 1943 bearing the prophetic news that when the war ended, the Soviets were going to be ruling Slovakia — and that the first thing they were going to do is persecute the Church. He set up groups to pray, study and take action in order to resist the Soviets. He was opposed by the Slovak bishops. They believed he was alarming people and didn’t like the way his activism empowered laity. (They were very, very clericalist back in those days). Because they knew they were as blind and dangerously blind, Father Kolakovic continued to work, knowing that if they trusted their bishops they would all be destroyed.

Everything happened just as Father Kolakovic predicted. The Slovak underground church thrived because Kolakovic and his friends worked hard to build a network for prayer and activism cells.

I can’t say it often enough: We are in a Kolakovic moment in the West! The collapse we are seeing in energy markets, and in scientific journals, mirrors a deeper moral and spiritual collapse. It hurts me to admit that the United States is leading the West towards a steep cliff. Get up and look at the time. Now is the best time to prepare yourself and your family for difficult times. Abigail Shrier says you must do everything you can to protect your children from American culture. Last summer in Hungary, I talked to a puzzled Hungarian woman — a conservative Catholic — who couldn’t imagine why her 19-year-old son had accepted gender ideology. She told me in conversation that her generation of Hungarians was exploring gender and sexuality. This was not something they were learning in school. It was being fed into Hungarian youth through English-language media and social media. She told me that when the boy turned 17, he announced to his parents that he was only going to pay attention to English-language media, which is to say, media from the US and the UK. It worked.

I never imagined that I’d live to witness the day the United States of America would be a direct and present danger to faith and morals around the globe. Do not take my words to mean that Russia and China are trustworthy and sensible. That is not what I believe. However, I don’t think that Putin’s Russia’s cruelty and repression makes America and Europe the great guys. They don’t. Listening to Christians across western Europe speak out about their country’s collapse was a great way to spend the weekend. A young Catholic man from Germany spoke to me about his family’s decision to flee persecution for their homeschooling. The Macron government has begun to crack down on French homeschoolers. A French Catholic spoke out about the way gender-idealists suddenly took over their primary school and how their parents now find out how much garbage was pumped into their kids’ heads, even though they were not aware.

A Kolakovic Moment. We’re there. Do not sit and allow corruption to take over your life and family. To save the future, get involved in fighting corruption wherever you live. However, you must also make an effort to keep your children away from American pop culture. Understanding Dr. Sax’s statement is important: Parents are abandoning their responsibilities towards children because they too have given in to the poison.

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America has become Babylon. It was impossible to imagine that we would see the Shining City On A Hill disappear, which gave hope and light to all those who were living in the shadow of Orwellian totalitarianism. Instead, it is now a Huxleyan totalitarianism. After Communism fell, Pope John Paul II told his country that although they were free from communism (Communism), they should be careful not to replace it with Western hedonism or individualism. This warning was not heeded. PBS’s Frontline featured a documentary on John Paul II years ago. Here’s a quote from Roberto Suro, a Washington Post journalist who covered him, talking about John Paul’s legacy:

At the end of the day, when you look at this extraordinary life and you see all that he’s accomplished, all the lives he’s touched, the nations whose history he’s changed, the way he’s become such a powerful figure in our culture, in all of modern culture–among believers and not–taking all of that into account, you’re left with one very disturbing and difficult question. The Pope could be seen as a lonely and pessimistic figure. He is a man who sees only the negative side of modernity. A man who believes that humanity has lost its way. He is so depressed and despairing that his audience loses him. He would be a terrible figure.

On the other side, one has to wonder, was he a prophet or not? Was he bringing a message with him? Was he able to see what many people are not seeing? The tragedy in that instance is ours.

The tragedy is ours. Resist!

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