Return of the Huns

2002-11-25

Bruce Lindsey has published a thought-provoking three part article in which he delves into the thinking behind the enemies of Western society. They are, he writes, "utopians turned nihilist, totalitarians turned barbarian". And it is the settled way of life in the West, dependent as it is on the concentrated intellectual energy of our great cities, that makes us vulnerable to the depradations of nihilistic barbarians. Interestingly, Lindsey points to the development of small arms in the 1500s as the turning point in the battle against the last barbarians. As Jared Diamond documents in Guns, Germs, and Steel, weapons matter. It was the rifle and the pistol that enabled farmers and townspeople to fend off and vanquish the likes of the Mongols, and to retake their land for civilized purposes. A few weapons in civilian hands would have prevented the atrocities of September 11. Lindsey argues persuasively that Western civilization is built on trust between not just families and clans (even Somalia and the north of Pakistan have that), but between total strangers. It's sad today that in large measure it is a lack of trust in the citizenry by the power elites that opens Western society to threats from nihilist barbarians.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal