Western Civilization's Ticking Clock

Ashley Thorne

Can our civilization self-destruct? It can and it will if we do not change course, says a new documentary film about the erosion of the values that undergird free society.

The Fight of Our Lives - Defeating the Ideological War Against the West premiered in New York on May 1, attended by over 100 audience members at Symphony Space.

“Civilizations, empires, great powers, can fall apart very fast. Collapse can come suddenly, like a thief in the night. And we should be very wary of assuming that our civilization, the civilization of the early twenty-first century West, will oblige us by declining gradually,” said Hoover Institution historian Niall Ferguson in the opening lines of the film.

No single narrator tells this tale. Instead, some thirty scholars take turns diagnosing threats to Western civilization. Relativism replaces the search for truth, feminism crushes chivalry, identity politics supersedes American unity, Islamic radicalism wars against the Judeo-Christian world, and political correctness silences those who disagree.

Among the featured experts are National Association of Scholars board members Stephen Balch and Peter Berkowitz, as well as figures well-known to NAS members such as Victor Davis Hanson, Robert Paquette, Alan Dershowitz, and Ibn Warraq.  

Various speakers suggested what is needed to turn the tide. Ruth Wisse, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Tikvah Fund, spoke of “the preservation of moral confidence.” She asked, “Can you explain why what this civilization has created and become is so precious that it should be maintained?”

Niall Ferguson quoted Edmund Burke, “Society is a partnership of the dead, the living and the unborn.” Our forefathers sacrificed so that their posterity might enjoy freedom and happier lives, Ferguson said. Today’s generation thinks mainly of itself, and even borrows against the wellbeing of its descendants.

The National Association of Scholars exists to offer coming generations the chance to benefit from knowledge of the past, both its wisdom and its follies. We aim to meet the challenges to Western civilization in American higher education and to empower our members to articulate the importance of the rule of law, reason, freedom, virtuous citizenship, and the search for truth. In that sense, we believe NAS plays a vital role in this fight of our lives.

We hope many people will view and share this powerful film; the DVD may be ordered on its website thefightofourlives.com, where there are also extras from the interviews and the dates and locations of upcoming screenings. 


Photo: Budapest - Hungarian Parliament Bldg - panoramio by Alireza Javaheri // CC BY 3.0

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