Is the West collapsing?
The West is going through quite serious crises; this can be seen, with all its colors, in the rise of populism.
In the political system field, instead of pluralist and liberal democracy; authoritarian and populist trends are coming out of the ballot boxes and tensions are rising.
In the scientific mentality field, instead of searching the truth through objective methodical researches, which is the characteristic of Western civilization, thinking with sentiments and popular superstitions dominate; it is called the “post truth” thinking style.
For instance, millions of Americans who are fans of Donald Trump see “climate change” not as an atmospheric issue, but as a conspiracy from China that would hit the American industry. They “believe” in this.
Europeans see immigrants as the cause of unemployment. They “believe” in this.
It is not a new argument that Western civilization has collapsed or is collapsing. The most famous one was written a century ago by Oswald Spengler in “The Decline of the West.”
In the years leading to the First World War and the following heavy crises years, people’s trust in values and institutions had collapsed.
Marx and Lenin said the “bourgeoisie” was collapsing and suggested the “proletariat dictatorship” instead of democracy.
How many millions of deaths have they caused?
According to Hitler, the civilization of the “pure race” was being destroyed by the “Jewish virus” with poisons such as freedom and democracy. Why were the Nazis, who caused the death of millions, crazed people and zombies? It was because they have been conditioned to this.
Following extremely bloody experiments, especially after the Second World War, democracy spread to the world outside the West; international institutions strengthened. The concept of “human rights” advanced.
European countries opted to form a “union” to prevent new authoritarian regime emerging. Legal institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) were reinforced. Constitutional Courts went widespread to protect the individual against the state.
Peace and pluralistic ideas were supported.
Now, all of these are shaking. We have almost entered a new kind of “Spengler era,” where law, institutions and free thought are doubted and savior leaders are pursued.
It is a very typical indication that Islamophobic populists such as Trump in the U.S., Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders in Europe are against the European Union.
I absolutely rule out a new world war but I am concerned that populism would have a heavy toll on humanity.
“The West collapsed/ is about to collapse” discourse is a popular one ever since a long time among Islamist segments.
Today, certain writers prefer the propaganda: “The West is collapsing, Ankara is rising.”
It is apparent that we are going through a crisis era in the 21st century. But this crisis is not the end of modern science and liberal democracy. Just as how the “Spengler era” in the past was overcome, the crisis of our time, represented by populist movements, will be overcome by science and democracy. Let’s just wish the price would not be too heavy.
Well, another model was not able to replace democracy; any attempt to do so ended in bloody failures. What can we replace scientific mentality with? Without scientific methods, institutions and practices, how can billions of people be fed? How would they be organized?
Islamic thought also can only renew itself by containing pluralist democracy and modern scientific mindset.