One cannot but be grateful to Messrs. Xavier Azalbert and Stanislas Berton for their recent, rewarding discussion of “how the West has been intoxicated.”
Thought-provoking, that word intoxication, from the Greek toxicon, which means a poison sped by arrow. As it happens, toxon means a bow, so that the original meaning of intoxication is thus a willful act of harm, an act that is calculated and not some accident of nature. An act designed to kill.
The poison that Azalbert and Berton describe; is the act of lying. In biblical tradition, lying is more of the deed than a word. It stands for the betrayal of trust to, first and foremost God’s trust, because God will keep the faith. Lying is thus peculiar to the diabolic deed, aimed to wreck divine creation and bring down mankind as a whole.
Mr. Berton has also drawn a distinction between the lying by political figures as they attempt to protect the citizenry and the poison lie. Indeed, Plato himself acknowledges the utilitarian lie uttered by a government, which he calls “lying by the word”, as a thing excusable owing to its purpose—to protect the people—as distinguished from the “actual lie”, uttered to lead another soul into error, and a despicable act 5.
All these factors are now found combined. Lying is the weapon wielded by the powerful against the citizens of every Western country whose trust they betray as they twist the straitjacket strings and poison the citizenry’s mind. Their arrows are propaganda-vectors, whether in politics, culture or the mass media, who by their maneuvers, their Newspeak, and in fine by outright persecution, poison minds and mores.
Since what is at stake in the battle between truth and lying has always to do with how one judges things in their essence, whether that clearly be identified or cunningly disguised, it is hardly surprising that the poison of lying intoxicates Man’s very identity. Identity, by definition, pertains to the reality of what one Is and Is Not.
Not by chance, then, does one find subverting “identity” at the core of the mass-lying served up to strike a death blow at whatever resists that still deserves the name “Mankind”.
Whether conscious of the fact or not, this “intoxicated West” has taken to lying about itself above all. Although in history, the West may once have deserved the admiration Mr. Berton recalls, its prestige is now usurped as it claims a worldwide moral authority it no longer deserves. Whether the individual, society, the family, all have come under unrelenting onslaught from a West which denies and savages its founding principles. Elsewhere, I have referred to this, in French, as l’Oxydant rather than l’Occident, which in English would be something like the Wastrel West (the Oxidizing West).
Once the all-pervading lie has been identified, it must be fought—and not simply by ascertaining whether one is well or poorly informed, manipulated or not, or whether or not rights are under attack. The issue is whether Man as a free and rational being, will survive.
Despite the very high stakes—and Orwell’s Nineteen Eight-Four is the textbook—this is little understood. Those who would revolt still tend to think and react based on forms of intoxication instilled by education and the mass media. Lies about their dignity as Men, their rights, and the meaning of life or their political existence. Those who attack globalization, for example, do so on behalf of the very individualism, subjectivism and egoism on which globalization relies.
If he who would rise up is infected by the principles which led to his enslavement, he will only tighten his chains, like an insect struggling in the spider’s web.
A revolt will succeed only when the citizen cuts himself free from whatever enslaves him. How to defeat Wokism, if one clings to the “truth” of one’s personal opinions? If one insists on lying to oneself by living by the principles one purportedly rejects, repelling the Army of Lies becomes a pious wish.
The crises into which we are now plunged do nevertheless present the great advantage of compelling us to face a dilemma that can be solved only by choosing truth: either we continue to feed the monster, living and thinking as the monster would have us do docilely, consuming material and ideological objects and fashions—or we starve out the monster by opting for the truth as it is, accordance with objective reality—rather than caprice and fallacies of construction.
When a Roman came before a Judge, the latter would first ask him this: “By which law art thou ruled?” And by that law would he be judged. If my own, personal law, the law which rules my life and thoughts, is liberalism, i.e. individualism whereby the supreme authority is one’s own opinion, by what right do I groan at the yoke I have myself chosen? If however, I wish to be free of it, for myself and the society of men around me, I must reflect upon myself and upon the principles that liberalism seeks to undermine.
In that respect, a common error is to see Christianity as the enemy, whereas it is that belief that historically, forged the principles underpinning the West. In aiming at the wrong target, Christianity’s opponents become putty in the hands of those who would destroy them. On the other hand, there are observers whom one would scarcely call “Catholic”—Michel Onfray, Douglas Murray, Niall Fergusson or Tom Holland—who have studied history and contend that the survival of Christianity, too often betrayed by its own clerics, is critical to the survival of a true West if freedom and law still have any meaning.
There is a valuable lesson to be learnt from what is now taking place worldwide. As Russia moves away from the West’s decadence and totalitarianism she embraces her unique identity and rejects self-hatred. The nations of Africa should do the same. Each country will do best to act and live according to its own, distinct identity. China, India, and Iran would be well advised to follow suit. If the West is to overcome its intoxicated obsession with liberalism, it too will have to return to its traditional roots.
Patrick de Pontonx is a lawyer based in Paris. [Translated from the French by Mendelssohn Moses].
Featured: The Judgment of Solomon, by Nicolas Poussin; painted in 1649.