This article has a somewhat conservative bias.
This may be one of the biggest geopolitical questions out there and seems as pertinent now as it was when Oswald Spengler wrote his Decline of the West (1918).
Oswald Spengler – Author of the the Decline of the West. Source: Philosophy of History Part XVII: Oswald Spengler and the Decline of the West
There are five schools of thought that I have identified here when researching this question. These in a nutshell are their respective positions.
- Better Angels (titled taken from Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined): No. The world especially the West is getting better not worse. Crime is falling, health is improving, people are living longer, science is on the march forward, superstitious belief is trending downward and we may indeed be living in the greatest of all times. There is no decline. If the west is losing ground it may be more of a function of the rest of the world catching up than anything else.
- Progressive Pessimists: Yes. Neo-liberal economic policies are amplifying wealth disparities and depriving essential services of the necessary government funding that they require. This has been expedited by Trumpism in the US and his tax cut initiatives. Add on to this the climate change crisis and the west and the rest of the world is heading for disaster. Society has to undergo a rapid transition to avoid what is essentially the inevitable. The West can be saved but it needs to transition away from market economics towards policies of ‘inclusivity’. Thinking of oneself as a global citizen would be a positive move. The End of the West and End of days: Is Western civilisation on the brink of collapse?
- Left Extreme: Yes.The West is declining. Let it collapse, after all it is racist, sexist, homophobic and was built on the backbone of oppressive policies. Long may it rot. ‘We’ will pick up the pieces afterward and build a new just society. Fuck You, Dying American Empire: Reflections of an Aging Anti-Imperialist
- Conservative Pessimists. Yes. Europe in particular has been transformed into a post-christian society that is a shadow of its former self. In the US the Gramscian walk through the institutions has wrecked higher education. Free speech is under threat, socialism is making headway and lax border policies are destabilizing the integrity of the nation state. Couple that to declining birth rates and the rise of Islamism as a political force, and the future does not bode well for the west. What is needed is a greater emphasis on the principles that form the bedrock of Western Civilization, especially Judeo-Christian values. Opinions as to the efficacy of nationalism in this area differ. Check out the links below to books by Jonah Goldberg, Patrick Buchanan and Douglas Murray.
- Alt Right: Yes.Decay is everywhere. Our systems have failed. Traditional conservatives are too ecumenical and have conserved nothing. What is needed is a return to a society that rejects the toxic brew of multiculturalism and globalism. In any case a white ethno-state is needed somewhere in the West.
So it all comes down to who you ask and what parameters they most value.
Here is my synthesis.
I think the Better Angels approach makes sense for half the story. The world is indeed improving with respect to health and economic parameters. One can credit science, market economics and the spread of democracy for this reality. Seven reasons why the world is improving.
However this is only part of the story. It is most obvious that the West is also in a demographic death spiral with respect to falling birth rates. Death Spiral Demographics: The Countries Shrinking The Fastest
Entitlement is rampant, education standards are falling and illegal immigration is out of control. Manufacturing sectors have been gutted by an outsourcing mania with power shifting away from the vital middle class to a financial elite that all to often appears as though it has no loyalty to anyone other than themselves.Culture of entitlement not limited to youth
A fixation with identity politics – both race and gender – has further poisoned the water and encouraged an odious narrative that has proved to be extremely divisive. Media spin has fueled this further. The curse of identity politics and the case for shared values – Openforum
Add to this a growing national debt load and and the markers for decline are apparent. U.S. National Debt Hits Record $22 Trillion
Across the board leadership in the First World is poor, but more than anything else most westerners can’t even articulate what our civilization stands for. Is Western Civilization a Thing? – Quillette. While the United States –the epicenter of the West – is still 10 or 15 years behind a moribund Europe in this regard its trajectory is likely to be similar. Europe Paves the Way for Its Decline and Europe is losing its soul.
The ruling class talks with an air of authority, however it often succumbs to the lure of a ‘Realpolitik’ that short-changes shared values for the sake of political expediency.The Arrogant Elite
Islamic based Jihadism will not bring down the West but the inability of centrist leaders to champion western exceptionality and defend the essence of what we have on all fronts will most certainly do. We no longer believe in ourselves and this is tragic. The decline takes the form of a whithering away. Niall Ferguson: why the West is now in decline
While we still have the luxury of the blinker world that engulfs the lives of so many of us we need to move against apathy and indifference. What is needed is a broad movement centered on the engine of the middle class that cuts across ossified party/cultural and race lines and places at its core the Western values of free speech, rule of law, rationalism, an emphasis on shared values, earned respect, and self-sufficiency. It is not too late.
- Oswald Spengler | Biography, Books, & Facts
- The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined: Steven Pinker: 8601300108858: Amazon.com: Books
- Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy: Jonah Goldberg: 9781101904930: Amazon.com: Books
- Amazon.com: The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam eBook: Douglas Murray: Kindle Store
- The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization – Kindle edition by Patrick J. Buchanan. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.