The Demise of Western Culture

Oswald Spengler in his book Decline of the West famously—or infamously—asserts that all civilizations go through cycles and eventually die, and that the West is now in such a downward cycle, with its final decline and death certain.

I have not yet read Spengler myself (a desideratum), though as someone once said, after the publication of Spengler’s book and in the context of the horrific mutual bloodletting of European nations in World War I, “we are all Spenglerians now”, meaning that life after WWI changed how everyone saw western civilization, excepting a few Christians like A Toynbee and G K Chesterton.

My own belief is that the rise of the corporation has been one of the leading factors in the decline of western civilization. It has little or no legal accountability (legally it’s a non-existent “person,” so individuals are rarely held to account); is concerned only with profits and not with ethics or environment; and demands a total self-effacement and submersion of self in the frenzy for profits that dehumanizes all who enter the rule and power of the corporation. It is not only a law unto itself, it is a pseudo-religion: its “high priest” is the omnipotent and all-wise, and always to be obeyed, CEO. Its set of beliefs is that the god “Profit,” if duly attended to, worshipped aright, and always submitted to, will bring “salvation”—whether  it be through higher stock values, or the glory of a new iPhone, or the spiritual (and demonically) hypnotic effect of a new cell phone- or computer game, or any other product our all-wise profit-god entices us to buy (worship).

Most damning of all is its power: a power Faust would have relished. It can—and does—make or unmake a whole community by its power to stay and provide jobs or to leave and destroy jobs—and the environing community. Thus it has that divine power of life or death in its hands: and it cares not about either the individual affected, or the larger community.

In former times the community was the “end,” and all “means” had to conform to this “end,” to ensure its health and viability. But with the god Profit being the final “end,” and all means commanded to further this single end, it’s the community which, by lot, either thrives or dies, depending on the whim of the god Profit and its high-priest the CEO. Historically not even kings held such power in their hands.

Until this “god” is un-masked and its demonic nature revealed so that its power may be circumscribed, and its negative effects on the community (and state and nation) blocked and, by law, redirected so as to include the public good, the corporation will continue its demonic ways…and eventually signal the death of western civilization.

Len Sive Jr.