The West was a Spanish conquistador opening jungles with a Virgin banner. The West was an English explorer searching for the sources of the Nile. The West was Joan of Arc, saint and warrior and martyr. The West was Dante, Cervantes and Montaigne. The West was the sailor with a brackish soul who tightened the topsails of the Manila galleon. The West was Sherlock Holmes (and Watson). The West was John Wayne. The West was Tintin. And Corto Maltese. The West was a German merchant of the Hansa and also a Dutch usurer in the port of Amsterdam. The West was John of Austria at Lepanto and Charles V at Augsburg (because Luther, yes, was also the West).
The West was Rome against Carthage and Greece against the Persians. And Ivan the Terrible, that providential psychopath, driving the Tartars out of Mother Russia. The West was Waterhouse’s Lady of Shalott and Becquer’s Mount of the Souls and an aphorism by Lichtenberg, and also the Eiffel Tower and the Trans-Siberian railroad. And the West is the city and the West is the Empire, and democracy and dictatorship are also the West. And Nietzsche and Saint Augustine. Everything and the opposite of everything.
The West was a Joseph Conrad hero and a Portuguese planter in Brazil. The West was Rommel and the West was Montgomery. The West was Napoleon and the priest Merino. The sword of Garcilaso de la Vega was the West, and the pen of Shakespeare and the iron hand of Götz von Berlichingen, and Queen Isabella of Castile. The West was St. Teresa, as much as Lawrence of Arabia, not to compare the two. The West was Christ, and sometimes the devil was the West. And Pope Luna and Wallenstein. And Robespierre and Donoso Cortés. And Sister María de Ágreda and Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz, and certainly the Indian Juan Diego was also the West. The West was a hunter in the forests of Canada and a Boer lady in the Transvaal and a Castilian colonist in the Sierra de Guadarrama. The West was Goethe and a Templar in the Holy Land and a scribe in the Casa de la Contratación. And Pompadour and Petrarca’s Laura and Don Quixote’s Dulcinea. And Luisa de Medrano dictating canons at the University of Salamanca, and Maria Curie, ill, devoured by radioactivity. And Homer. And Plutarch. And the Welsh bard Taliesin. And Tristan and Isolde.
Today, the West is nothing like that.
Today the West is a decrepit old man with obvious cognitive problems, corrupt and lecherous, who tries to conceal his undisguisable senility with a certain dental smile and mechanical gestures of an articulated doll. The West today is Joe Biden (and his doubles). It is the hysteria of the woke and the curse on one’s own history and the self-hatred of those who look at themselves and only recognize the emptiness of what once existed. And the goofy gesture of the narcotized multitudes repeating to themselves “oh, how happy I am,” without taking their eyes off their cell phones, while they kneel before their own emptiness. And beings that are neither men nor women, nor have children, nor have land, nor have God, beings that are not and have nothing. Today the West has ceased to be Rome to be Carthage.
Today the West is committing suicide by its own ideology, as Emmanuel Todd says. Today the West wants to die. Ergo, today the West deserves to die. Well, let it die. And then, perhaps, the last men on this earth, no longer blessed, will discover a way to start anew. Perhaps, then, we can recover the ingenuity of that first Greek to whom the profile of the Parthenon appeared in a dream.
José Javier Esparza, journalist, writer, has published around thirty books about the history of Spain. He currently directs and presents the political debate program “El gato al agua,” the dean of its genre in Spanish audiovisual work. This article appears courtesy of El Manifiesto.
Featured: Les épouvantails (Scarecrows); Claude Verlinde; painted in 1986.