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(American Thinker) — Last week, at his website – “The Blade of Perseus” – Victor Davis Hanson wrote about the nihilism that’s destroying our society. Hanson surveys the American scene better than any observer. The recent acceleration of that destruction may surprise us, but shouldn’t. The dam holding back these deadly forces has been under relentless assault for decades.

Hanson says that nihilism is the root of modern leftism. He is quite right. In fact, he’s frighteningly right. Yet, there’s nothing new about the connection between leftism and nihilism.

Nihilism is a school of thought – often expressed in political and social terms – holding that traditional values are worthless and empty due to the meaninglessness of existence. The sole stance of nihilism is defiance; the sole goal is the destruction of all that stands. Back in 1946, the great C.S. Lewis “warned that ‘post-Christian’ thought, a way of thinking that rejects absolute rights and wrongs, leads to nihilism.” In the mid-20th Century, existentialism was in full flower. It was mostly a movement among agnostics and atheists (Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, notably) to urge the invention of meaning to render a meaningless world livable. Fictions were needed to stave off the life-draining sense of purposelessness that atheists, in particular, are prone to.

Nihilism has always been at the heart of leftism. In 19th century Russia, the nihilist movement grew in tandem with Marxism. Marx himself had nihilistic tendencies, and figures such as Nikolai Chernyshevski and Sergei Nechaev were a strong influence on Russian Marxists (Chernyshevski was likely Lenin’s greatest inspiration). That destructive thread has continued down to this day.

Marxism, throughout its history, has been a refuge for the resentful, for those who nurse grudges, for those who project their hurts, failures, and unfairness done them – real or imagined – on the societies in which they live and on others: rich men and the bourgeoisie earlier and now Whites, who are accused of inherent racism. And to a slightly lesser degree, Asians resented for their successes, academically and professionally. Jews are back in vogue as hate targets, too. Leftists need villains to justify ruin.

The traditional family – foundational to a healthy society – is subject to the wrecking ball. Children are specifically targeted. The smut peddled in schools isn’t just about a means of shattering time-honored beliefs and values but shattering fragile souls. An “anything goes” moral squalor is being forced on malleable minds and the rest of us. No society in history has sustained itself – much less thrived – morally debauched.

Hanson opened his commentary – “Civilization versus the New Nihilism” – with this sentence:

Nihilism is the religion of the Left. Anarchy is now at the core of the new Democratic Party.

He closed with this thought:

The old politics of right versus left, and Republican opposed to Democrat have now given way to a new existential struggle: Americans must choose between civilization – or its destroyers.

Yes, we must choose. The struggle isn’t between competing visions of society that overlap in important ways – in other words, that share cultural basics, like old liberalism and conservatism did – but between a successful, free, tradition-based America versus the new leftism that is spreading cancer.

America’s cultural degradation began in the late 1960s. The counterculture was the primary agent. Libertinism has been battling traditionalism ever since, with traditional America giving ground, sometimes in inches, other times in feet, proving that it’s much easier to destroy than preserve and build.

In this quest to ruin America, institutions, public and private, have been thoroughly infiltrated – actually, in some ways, ceded by traditionalists. Schools, media, and entertainment have seen decades of steady retreat by traditionalists who prefer other pursuits. Culture is the captive of the degenerate elite.

Americans are required to swim in the cesspool that nihilists choose to fashion or shut up and slink away – for the time being. Any objection deemed a notable threat leads to cancellation, a form of oppression. Government and private institutions are used to cancel objectors. If not stopped and reversed, the oppression will only increase.

Cancel culture, as now practiced here, is a step toward China’s Orwellian social credit system, which aims to ostracize offenders. The worst offenders are condemned to struggle to feed and shelter themselves. And what awaits the worst of the worst among offenders and objectors? Gulags thinly disguised as “reeducation camps.”

The unconstitutional and inhumane treatment of J6 prisoners are previews of the fates awaiting opponents of the new decadent order. The FBI’s infiltration of tradition-based Catholic communities, alleging that such pose “threat[s] of domestic terrorism,” is a canary in the coal mine for all Christians and other faiths. The traditional Catholic is to be persecuted for being pro-life, pro-family, and against the fiction that’s transgenderism.

Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol has proven farsighted in a sense.

The fictional Scrooge (pre-conversion) and Lenin, for example, had a couple of key things in common: both were godless, and both were materialists. Despite rationalizations, both were destructive in their ways. Christmas was humbug for Scrooge. His was a pitiless world of moneymaking, exploitation, and self-absorption. He was a man nursing childhood hurts, drawing all the wrong lessons. He eschewed love and kindness.

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Lenin loathed Christianity. He loathed traditional Russian society. His animus ventured well beyond a reaction to perceived systemic unfairness toward Russia’s peasantry. Unlike Scrooge, but like a good Marxist, Lenin chose not to exploit existing society but to destroy it – or he began the process; Stalin eagerly continued the project. Destruction was a prerequisite to a new, bright communist society, went the rationale.

In practice, Russian society became a countrywide gulag. Tens of millions died. The human spirit was trampled. Bleakness was unremitting. Lenin, an unwitting existentialist, and his spawn imposed a horrid meaning on their meaningless world: totalitarianism and the cruel iron boot that came with it. In fact, they chose evil.

A couple of days ago, Tucker Carlson spoke at America Fest in Phoenix. He spoke of an elite, a Left, an establishment, in fact, that was engaged in destroying the nation. Paraphrasing Hanson, he said that this elite has no plan. Finally, it’s about destruction for its own sake. When in history have elites intentionally destroyed their own country?

Carlson noted that there’s a spiritual component at work. These modern nihilists are acting as conduits for an evil that preexists humanity. It flows through them, animating every act of ruin that the nihilists engage in. What these godless people don’t grasp is that, in the process of destroying all around them, they end of destroying themselves. Evil is self-consuming.

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This is what decent, common-sense Americans are up against today. The dangers are acute and growing rapidly. There isn’t anything across the land that’s wholesome and beneficial to the commonweal that isn’t targeted for ruin. Christ’s birth is mocked in public squares.

The purveyors of ruin claim to hold an alternative worldview aimed at stamping out historic, systemic wrongs to make America a better, fairer, more equitable place. Their rhetoric is delusory; it’s easily measured against their actions. They’re flat-out liars.

There’s no reconciliation – no middle ground – with people so dedicated. Either this powerful minority prevails or the good majority of Americans will. And how does the majority win? As Carlson said, by living the truth thoroughly, by telling the truth in the face of a barrage of deceits, and by standing strong. As Carlson remarked, there’s a power in doing so that defeats evildoers.

It’s a sound prescription to start with, anyway.

Reprinted with permission from American Thinker.