The Drumbeat vs The Heartbeat

Two incredibly relevant articles were released over the weekend. The Drumbeat by William Staneski and The Undefended City by Bill Whittle. I cannot recommend them any more highly. I only wish I had taken the time to compose my thoughts and feelings over the past few years. I might have written something half as brilliant. Maybe. Probably not.
While Staneski may be seen as terribly pessimistic by some, he’ll be seen as realistic by most. I could not pick out any one paragraph to quote, but did settle on this one:
The principles upon which Western culture rests and upon which America was built are under attack by these slow acting but deadly forces. The drumbeat is grinding down the will of the West to maintain itself. The ideas of individual sovereignty and responsibility, natural rights, and objective truth have been derided by the left to the point that many of our young people reject them, if, indeed, they are even aware of them as the basis for our culture. All that ensures that a culture will pass its ideas down from one generation to the next is its cultural memory. The drumbeat is slowly but surely replacing our cultural memory.
Whittle’s piece does not hearken to a drumbeat as metaphor, but instead to a heartbeat. He uses one of my favorite pieces of literature to make his point: The Lord of the Rings.
If you step far enough back to look at the whole of human history, you will begin to see a very plain rhythm: a heartbeat of civilization. Steep climbs out of disease and ignorance into the light of medicine and learning — and then a sudden collapse back into darkness. And it is in that darkness that most humans have lived their lives: poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

The pattern is always the same: at the height of a civilization’s powers something catastrophic seems to occur — a loss of will, a failure of nerve, and above all an unwillingness to identify with the values and customs that have produced such wonders.

The Russians say a fish rots from the head down. They ought to know. It may not be factually true that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the saying has passed into common usage because the image as the ring of truth to it: time and time again, the good and decent common people have manned the walls of the city, and have been ready to give their lives in its defense, only to discover too late that some silk-robed son of a bitch has snuck out of the palace at midnight and thrown open the gates to the barbarians outside.

Whittle attempts to end on a positive note and tell us that all is not lost. That there are still good men and women out there. Still those who believe and remember and have faith. Remember how everyone felt about the NYPD and NYFD in those days and weeks following 9/11? Heroes were still among us. Silent. Proud. Selfless. Ready. I believe they still are, but the drumbeat of narcissism alluded to by Staneski is growing louder and is beginning to drown out the statements of the city’s defenders with its hypnotic and incessant rhythm since 1963.

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