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Home Important Posts In the City of the Decadents

In the City of the Decadents

Civilizations go through three stages; Barbaric, Vigorous and Decadent.

We can find all the barbaric civilizations to suit an entire faculty's worth of anthropologists in the Middle East. And then back home we can see the decadent civilization that employs their kind to bemoan the West. Vigorous civilizations are a rarer breed. They change the world. But don't last.

America used to be vigorous when it was moving west, producing at record rates and becoming a world power. It is growing decadent. And decadent civilizations fall to barbarians.

The barbaric civilization is purely crude. It runs on kinship. It is pre-rational and its guiding ethos is self-esteem often misspelled as honor. It has no notion of enduring facts or objective reasoning. It is incapable of recognizing inconsistencies in its code because truth is whatever it feels at a given time.

The barbarian has no morals. He obeys tribal codes that he does not understand, but accepts. Fairness exists only relative to his own interests. Empathy is foreign to him. He holds life cheaply and kills casually. He loathes outsiders and obeys no universal laws. His tribe is ruled by hierarchies which gain their position through brutality and trickery. And he assumes the world works the same way.

He cannot and will not interact with a more advanced civilization on any terms other than these. Cunning barbarians may learn the languages of more advanced civilizations and even ape their values for their own purposes, but they never adopt them. When a barbarian speaks of democracy, he means power. When he talks of religion, he means the worship of his own power. When he prattles of morality, he does not mean universal laws, but anything that impinges on his own power.

To the barbarian, all values are reducible to power. They are his gods, his religions and his laws.

The decadents are obsessed with filtering hierarchies of ideas and people. Their societies have grown too complex, too full of ideas, cultures and interest groups. The management of this unmanageable plenitude occupies all the energies of their fading civilization. They are the miser with the fading memory still struggling to count his gold. Decadents have too much of everything and no idea what to do with it except to squander it in fits of misguided and destructive impulses.

The decadent civilization has a million laws which it applies selectively. Its universal laws, inherited from a vigorous civilization, are buried between equivocation. Decadents don't believe in objective truths and so they cannot have universal laws. Instead they mire them in so many legalisms as to be meaningless. The laws must be interpreted by a specialized caste. Everyone is always in violation of some obscure law. Life depends on a lawless dispensation from the law. Justice is impossible. Corruption is mandatory. The only way for the decadent civilization to function is to bypass its own safeguards through corruption, black markets and lobbying. This is true in all things.

The crucial task of the law is interpretation that keeps everyone from constantly being punished. This task is accomplished by lawyers, lobbyists and the politicians who are constantly adding more laws to fix the interpretations in the old laws creating a complex mass of contradictory information.

This holds true in every other area of decadent life.

Interpretation is what the decadent civilization does best. While vigorous civilizations discover new things, decadent civilizations endlessly categorize and re-categorize them to accommodate intellectual fads. Decadents compulsively seek new systems of organization. The computer age is the glorious final era of the decadents who finally have infinite ways to manage infinite information.

What they lack is any way of distinguishing what is worthwhile in both information and systems.

The decadents are great categorizers. They know where everything should belong. They employ armies of bureaucrats to operate vast filing systems which never quite work as planned. They spend fortunes on intricate information systems and yet the more speed and storage space they have, the less they seem able to filter worthwhile information from the morass of junk clogging up their time.

The decadent civilization is convinced that if it can amass enough information, its interpretations will be superior, but its information gathering techniques and its interpretative techniques are both fatally flawed by an inability to focus, by ideological obsessions and structural  corruption. Scientists may have more rapid access to more information, but their community is more intellectually contaminated leading to worse results. Similarly, corruption undermines information gathering efforts from the start.

Vigorous civilizations understand that a process must be kept clean by open debate. Decadent civilizations operate corrupt closed processes while convinced of their own innate superiority. Decadents and barbarians both believe that they are always right and that the outcome will reflect that. They learn to forget setbacks or blame them on others. This is why they frequently fail.

The vigorous civilization is confident and skeptical. It understands the importance of mistakes in getting the right result. Decadents and barbarians don't acknowledge mistakes. For barbarians, it is a matter of honor. For decadents, mistakes violate their confidence in their cultlike baseless theories. Unlike vigorous civilizations, their path to truth is constricted by their own intellectual corruption.

But decadent civilizations are also less interested in discovering new things than in disproving old things. The middling talents at the helm rewrite history while justifying their misrule by denouncing the achievements of their vigorous ancestors. Instead of standing on the shoulders of giants, they point out their flaws to obscure their own worthlessness.

Where the vigorous civilization disproves the old through its achievements, the decadent civilization considers the disproving of the old civilization to be an achievement in and of itself. Where the vigorous civilization outside its parent, the decadent civilization is still stuck fighting "Daddy".

If you examine our achievements today, they have much to do with the supposed social progress we have made since the fifties. Much of this progress is a matter of outlook, rather than in reality. We are better because we are morally superior. Not because we actually do more.

Despite the disdain for the past, decadent civilizations struggle to do more than deconstruct and then helplessly imitate the past. Chaotic deconstruction of past creative arts is followed by retro copying of them, first ironically and then earnestly. Nostalgia becomes the central industry of a dying civilization mired in irony and incapable of mining its own culture for creative energies.

The central cultural critique becomes updating older works to more politically correct forms. A classic character is remade black or gay. Problems with diversity or sexism are tackled. The critic becomes a commissar whose job is to sanctify the transformation of an old politically incorrect work as politically correct. That is the role of the social justice warrior.

All this energy makes it appear as if there is cultural ferment when nothing is actually being produced. Instead older works are being "cleaned up" in keeping with new social values by a civilization that frantically chews up the past in a desire to forget the problems of the present.

People living in decadent civilization have a greater need for entertainment due to leisure time, extended adolescence and the breakup of the family. But their lack of meaningful work, family engagement and adult responsibilities leaves them less able to produce it. Instead they become children putting together pieces of stories that "Daddy" once told them while taking the credit.

Decadents confuse criticism and curation with creativity. They develop great sensitivity to everything from literary styles to foods. In a decadent society, everyone is a cultivated critic, but these critics value style over substance. Their criticism is a cultural signal rather than a mastery of technique.

The decadent civilization is obsessed with taste as brand. It is sensitive to subtleties, but fails to see the large flaws in a work. Its creativity is microscopically innovative and macroscopically a failure. Its subtle refinements cannot compensate for the lack of vision. It has style, but no substance.

In a decadent civilization, everyone can be a critic or a collector of something, even as no one actually produces anything new until there are more critics and collectors than creators.

The decadent civilization spends much of its time and effort in a battle against apathy. It is forever "raising awareness" about something or other. Its sophisticated messaging however creates apathy as quickly as it erases it. Its messaging becomes more short term and more hysterical. Everything is a crisis and every message is pitched at the shrillest possible level. And the worst crime is not paying attention to its noise.

The outrage of today is quickly forgotten by the outrage of tomorrow. The organizers dream of sustaining awareness for real change only to dive into the next round of short-term messaging.

In a decadent civilization, life becomes a constant political battle. Everything is politicized and nothing is personal. The individual is constantly being trampled by mobs in the forum.

Barbaric and decadent civilizations are both so dishonest that they are incapable of seeing their own lies.

The barbaric civilization simply does not understand the concept of a fixed truth. The minds of its people are capable of understanding it as an abstract notion, but not of holding it in their minds on a specific subjective matter of interest to them. A barbarian can understand that stealing is wrong, but not that robbing you is wrong.

A decadent however can understand that stealing from you is wrong, but not that stealing itself is wrong. The decadent civilization does not have fixed truths. Its people are trained to apply mores to subjective situations, much as barbarians do naturally. While barbarians can evolve from the fixed truth to the fixed value, the decadents have devolved by rejecting the fixed truth.

Fixed truths have been deconstructed and routed through a complex array of relativistic values. A decadent understands that murdering this baby right here is wrong, but can be taught that it is acceptable to trade parts of dead babies. For decadents in an information society, definitions are very important. Decadents and barbarians have an empathy that is triggered by cultural signals.

For barbarians, these signals are honor-shame kin-based. For decadents, the cultural signals are  group-based signals that are routed through complex intellectual justifications. These justifications  create their own unrecognized hypocrisies. Both operate on the moral blindness of herd logic.

Groups are politicized and every moral code is routed through an identity politics based on insecurity. There are no morals, only sides. Responses are emotional to shortcut rational reasoning. Decadents function like barbarians, convinced of their own superiority with no self-awareness of their flaws.

A major difference between vigorous and decadent civilizations is objectivity and long term thinking. Decadents are incapable of either while vigorous civilizations thrive on both. If decadent civilizations could engage in long term thinking, they wouldn't be doomed. If they could engage in objective reasoning, they wouldn't be slaves to the media machines under a lawless tyranny. 

The barbaric and vigorous civilizations speak little of sex and yet have high birth rates. Decadent civilizations are obsessed with sex and have few children. Perversions multiply in decadent civilizations, especially among the elites, who have the fewest morals, the most wealth and the greatest need for new taboos to violate. This is not a cause. It is only the symptom.

Gay marriage, like so much else, is the symptom of a decadent elite that confuses its own power and privilege with civil rights, that wants to legalize its illicit behaviors even though it only embarked on them because of their illicitness. In its perversity, it must find new taboos to violate each time an old one becomes socially accepted, before then embarking on a civil rights struggle to make its latest taboo socially acceptable.

Barbarians have large families and a tolerance for limited personal space. They speak loudly, are more casual about the deaths of their children, and view success in terms of power. Decadents speak softly, have a high need for personal space, have small families while obsessively controlling and coddling them and view success in terms of their own unattainable happiness. Vigorous civilizations have medium sized families, speak loudly, view success in terms of personal accomplishment, are not too concerned about personal space and value their children while allowing them to take risks.

Decadents want emotional rewards without commitments. As a result they are constantly unhappy. They pursue happiness as if it were a quality that could be permanently obtained through the right techniques, rather than a shifting response to the rigors of daily life. The more decadents do this, the more unstable they become, obsessively self-medicating and attempting to otherwise set the conditions of their happiness by controlling its application, and blaming others for their failure.

The more deranged decadents search for those who deny them their right to happiness by failing to accept them, reward them or otherwise please them until they find meaning only in attacking others. Behind their venom is narcissistic self-pity, they are searching for revenge against a cruel world when they are the authors of their own unhappiness. 

The decadent civilization senses inwardly that it has no future. It becomes obsessed with apocalypses. Its people are always fixated on the next great threat to their health individually and the next great disaster that will bring their civilization to its knees. While vigorous civilizations boldly stride forward into the unknown, decadents are nervous and unsure. They veer between comfort zones and ritualized displays of destructive behavior that accomplish nothing.

Vigorous civilizations pursue meaningful risks. Decadent civilizations pursue meaningless ones. For a vigorous civilization, adventure ends with an accomplishment. For a decadent civilization, risk is the accomplishment.

The decadent civilization obsessively manages risk. Its layers of government are mainly dedicated to that task. Accomplishment in a decadent civilization becomes a difficult task because of the many lawyers of corporate and government risk management standing in the way of getting anything done.

Fear is the true currency of the decadent civilization. A corrupted fear that is used to expand a vast bureaucracy that claims to manage risk, but in reality manages who is allowed to circumvent it. Groups are stampeded into accepting new tiers of fear government and fear authority based on the risk that something might happen. And yet the source of the fear is never dealt with.

A vigorous civilization rushes out to deal with threats. A decadent civilization imprisons itself out of fear.

Decadence in a civilization can be reversed. While the barbarian civilization must evolve upward, the decadent civilization must undo the damage that is devolving it. This is easier than it seems. Unlike the barbarian civilization, the decadent civilization has most of the same infrastructure, physical and mental, of the vigorous civilization. Only its ideas have become corrupted. And ideas can be healed.

Barbarians advance by absorbing transformative new concepts. Decadents however must unlearn their new concepts by recognizing them for the dead ends that they are.


  1. Another fine essay, Daniel. "America used to be vigorous when it was moving west, producing at record rates and becoming a world power. It is growing decadent. And decadent civilizations fall to barbarians." Civilizations that choose to remain in stasis are truly doomed. Defending itself requires vigor, stamina, and self-confidence. All these virtues have been bred out of the country by academia and the Welfare State. There are no "safe places" for Western civilization. "Safe places" are clinics of stagnation, self-pity, and self-hatred. And that's when the barbarians strike. The decline of Western civilization is the spectacle of the Bataclan massacre in Paris writ large and with many more, ongoing casualties.

  2. This is an excellent article.

  3. Infidel14/4/16

    This article is a classic, deeply insightful and illuminating. Clears up a number of issues I have struggled with over the years.

  4. Decay of empires starts from its frontiers. The retreat of Western civilization is beginning to accelerate in Africa, Middle East and Central Asia where country after country fall prey to barbarians. Apparently the Western Empire is not willing to defend them any more and therefore, following the fate of Empires of the past, is doomed.

  5. Thankyou for this. First instinct is you are right! I don't think that will change!

  6. One of your best....Cheers

  7. Y. Ben-David14/4/16

    Agree with every word, but I wonder about the line near the end: "Decadence in a civilization can be reversed". Are there historical precedents for a civilization rescuing itself from final dissilution. Of course we would like to believe it is possible, but Toynbee and Spengler showed that civilizations are born, thrive and then die. They simply lose the will to survive.
    Over at the Jerusalem Post, columnist Amotz Asa-El, who is a pretty astute fellow, wrote a column on how Europe is allowing itself to be overrun by the barbarians from the Arab/Muslim world. He warns them in a way similar to what is spelled out in this piece here that they must change their ways or die. One of his presecriptions for recovery is for the Europeans to greatly increase their birth rate which is now far below replacement level. Yes, this is necessary, but how do you convince young people to get involved? Simply saying to them "Europe's future needs you to have more children". The young have the right to ask "Why should I?", "Why should I care about Europe's future"? Raising a number of children in a prosperous society (as opposed to poverty-stricken societies where children are simply a form of old-age insurance) is a sign that the people in that society believe their culture and values are of great importance and they should be propagated into the future. For the Jews, education and belief in the future are keystones to their very existence and raison-d'etre. The upcoming holiday of Pesach/Passover is wholly dedicated to educating the young to carry on the tradition.
    However, looking at Europe, where does such a sense of mission even exist. Europe's society is grossly consumerist and materialistic...instead of worry about values, character and the future, their goal is simply to have enough leisure time and entertainment to pass the time until the biological cells wear out. Amotz Asa-El, like many liberals, completely misses the SPIRITUAL aspect of national/cultural essense. Europe is already half-dead spiritually and unless this is reversed (which I believe is unlikely), preaching to the young to have more children or even increasing child allowances significantly won't help (but they will be used by the Muslims to increase their growth in Europe).
    Is there really hope?

    1. Israel are God's Chosen people.....God Himself will rescue them...AND has.....and Always will

  8. Anonymous14/4/16

    Just brilliant.

  9. Anonymous14/4/16

    Has a decadent civilization ever de-decadentized itself?

  10. Anonymous14/4/16

    "The decadent civilization is convinced that if it can amass enough information, its interpretations will be superior, but its information gathering techniques and its interpretative techniques are both fatally flawed by an inability to focus, by ideological obsessions and structural corruption."

    Public Education is a perfect example of this. Every year State Ed implements new methods of data input on students academic progress by teachers. Teachers waste time and energy as clerks re-doing lesson plans in a different formats, aligning them with yet another new set of "standards". Time and again they submit student verification reports even though all this data already exists in the local school's enrollment database.

    It's busy work disguised as addressing educational challenges by the state for public consumption.In reality, all the redundant data collected for decades still reveals the same result: Children are not mastering the basics, and doing worse. But as you stated, the State feels that by re-categorization the data the results will somehow improve. A true example of insanity in practice.

    Instead of accepting the truth that due to the breakdown of the home and and the failure of parents that their children are doing so poorly in schools, the State continues to take responsibility as loco parentis for the children's failure, to relieve the conscience of lazy parent. In exchange for their continued vote and tax dollars, the parents pass the blame of their poor parenting to the state. Since the State cannot compensate for failure in the home, it plays shell games with new educational initiatives that are little more than a fresh coat of paint on hallways, motivation posters, and again re-mixing data collection into different colors to look like it is "doing something".

  11. Not "self esteem", ego and shame.

  12. I fear it is too late for us. Parents are now arrested for allowing their children to walk to school or around the corner without direct supervision, due to some "unnamed" fear...
    It is what you say below..

    "Fear is the true currency of the decadent civilization. A corrupted fear that is used to expand a vast bureaucracy that claims to manage risk, but in reality manages who is allowed to circumvent it. Groups are stampeded into accepting new tiers of fear government and fear authority based on the risk that something might happen. And yet the source of the fear is never dealt with.

    A vigorous civilization rushes out to deal with threats. A decadent civilization imprisons itself out of fear.

    We are already imprisoned, and somehow we have been "stampeded" as you say, based on the fear... "something" might happen, even though the odds are miniscule. The media and the government (via school boards) harp on the what ifs, endlessly instilling fear, all with the intended result of driving us all into seeking protection in the arms of Big Brother.

  13. I recognize these characteristics in every leftist I argue with every day. Great article, as always.

  14. If I give you my address will you mail my MBA certificate in Philosophical History? Very impressive!

  15. It'll have to be a philosophical certificate.

  16. Anonymous14/4/16

    Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

    Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

  17. Anonymous14/4/16

    Another brilliant article by Daniel. I wish I could learn it by heart. ;)

    It is obvious that the barbarian culture describes radical Islam, while the decadent one is a perfect description of modern liberalism (a.k.a. leftism). However, when you come down to it, the two have a lot in common. No wonder leftists and radical Islam get along so famously! The two are variations on a same theme.

  18. Anonymous14/4/16

    Excellent article! The USA has turned its collective back on God. God is letting us take a long walk off a short pier. When we turn back to God, our nation can recapture our lost vigor.


  19. We're getting very close to Passover, which, among other things, relives the escape from decadence. Every step in the process is anti-decadent.

  20. I really appreciated this writing, just like your previous one (Aug/2015 I think) on the subject. But I've got to say that in a way, it also makes me sad. Because, as a generation X-er, I never experienced living in a vigorous civilization, only in a decadent one, and I'm not quite sure I completely grasp its real essence. I wish you would write more on the subject of vigorous.

  21. I'm Gen X myself. But we still experience some of its technological tailwind and some of the leftover prosperity. What's missing is the constant forward movement and the sense that tomorrow is going to be better today because we can get things done.

  22. A great article, and the best you have written (to my knowledge). Especially good on substance, if a bit long-winded.

  23. Anonymous14/4/16

    Thoroughly enjoyed this piece. You’ve many important observations, some of which other posters have mentioned; surely, this article warrants broad exposure.

    As an aside, one wonders if ‘campaign’ replaced ‘civilization’, then might decadent vs. vigorous metaphorically describe the respective Trump and Cruz campaigns? Perhaps ‘barbaric’ could apply to early in the race when some 17 candidates sold themselves as future leaders of the free world.

    Speaking of “mastery of technique”, you render opinion article form a high art … maestro Greenfield.

  24. Anonymous14/4/16

    Thoroughly enjoyed this piece. You've many important observations, some of which other posters have mentioned; surely, this article warrants broad exposure.
    As an aside, one wonders if ‘campaign’ replaced ‘civilization’, then might decadent vs. vigorous metaphorically describe the respective Trump and Cruz campaigns? Perhaps ‘barbaric’ could apply to early in the race when some 17 candidates sold themselves as future leaders of the free world.
    Speaking of “mastery of technique”, you render opinion article form a high art … maestro Greenfield.

  25. Excellent read, but I have to wonder about the suggestion that societies in decadent free-fall can reverse that track and reinvigorate themselves. Persia, Egypt, Byzantium, Athens, Rome, the Aztecs, Czarist Russia, 18th Century France, Imperial China - all became decadent and all met grisly ends before reinvention - to the extent they ever fully recovered - some did not. Can a truly decadent society escape a nasty demise from which - occasionally - a new and more robust example might emerge?
    A peaceful transition from decadence to something more viable seldom seems to just happen and I fear it will not this time either - to the West, all of us.

  26. Excellent commentary, wonderfully well written. It makes me sad though, as I see no way to re-invigorate our Western culture; the barbarians are already within the gates.

  27. >Decadence in a civilization can be reversed.

    That's a comforting sentiment, but I can think of no example in the historical record. Kindly provide one.

  28. Anonymous15/4/16

    Suddenly I am between the pages of "Atlas Shrugged".
    Rand's heroes were full throttle strivers.
    Villains were all Woody Allen types,
    narcissistic navel-gazers.

    I fear Atheist Rand correct that religion was the
    Trojan Horse that brought in guilt and self-doubt.
    Our societal paralysis now derives from our "sins"
    against slaves, natives, biosphere.

    Rand's renaissance required a die-off
    of the decadent. They were too self-deluded to
    mend their ways.

  29. A strange thing: Adherence to the rules of a religious system while being allowed textual interpretation prevents the fall into decadence through constant renovate rebirth while clinging to the root, the prime example Judaism.
    Adherence to the rules of a religious system on a strictly dogmatic basis with absolute prohibition of individual interpretation causes stagnant barbarity, prime example Islam.

  30. Anonymous15/4/16

    Best yet, Sultan . . . but I noticed this Freudian typo:

    "Accomplishment in a decadent civilization becomes a difficult task because of the many lawyers of corporate and government risk management standing in the way of getting anything done.

    Assume you meant "layers of corporate. . ." but it works either way, doesn't it? Elegant!

  31. Barbarianism is the darkest/most aggressive masculine traits dominant. Decadence is the darkest/feminine imperative female traits dominant. Vigorous is the masculine traits dominant, but the ones that build and protect a family and society for the female and children, giving the man pride and responsibilities to fulfill.

  32. Anonymous15/4/16

    Good point Ostar.

  33. Anonymous15/4/16

    Therefore, the following article is in defense of a VIGOROUS civilization:

  34. Anonymous15/4/16

    What a great and insightful article. I'm studying Ecclesiastes and this article more than ties into it. Vanity - Vanity.

  35. Anonymous15/4/16

    Somebody might want to tell The EU the barbarians have breached the gate.

  36. Anonymous who opened with, "Suddenly I am between the pages of 'Atlas Shrugged...' Good comment. However, the decadent won't die off unless Americans stopped voting for them. Americans must learn sooner or later that they're being cannibalized and eaten alive by the GOP, the Democrats, and the other barbarians in our midst.

  37. I think Daniel is a terrific thinker, one of the most interesting around, but he isn't a good writer. The articles are invariably too long and rambling and the message gets lost. There is too much repetition and the style makes for hard going. All this is a shame because I can't think of anyone whose ideas I am more interested in and who has genuinely original things to say on all the big topics of today. In short, he either needs an editor or to study someone like John Derbyshire's writing to find out why they are so easy to read.

    As far as this particular article is concerned, I would have liked some specific examples from history to illustrate the three-stage thesis. I can see how America presently fits the barbarian-vigorous-decadent model and I am told that Rome does too but how about all other empires that have come and gone? Knowing nothing about history myself, for all I know this model could be nothing of a kind but instead just a one-off. Of course, this would have made the piece even longer but the balance between theory and illustration would have been better.

  38. Daniel: Is it your theory that it is human nature to destroy civilization at a certain point ?

  39. Anonymous17/4/16

    to Edward from Atlas:
    Great point. The founders only gave franchise to
    landed males; hard to return to. How about every
    citizen gets one vote for each $1,000 tax paid?

  40. Michael, civilization is a temporary state that must be maintained at great cost and with great energies, so at some point entropy simply kicks in. Human nature has more than enough negatives to pull down a civilization

  41. Anonymous18/4/16

    Daniel, civilization as free as ours only lived
    as an expression of a free and moral people.
    It came from us and we deserved it.
    We had so much to be proud of!

    Franklin, Jefferson et al foresaw the entropy:
    multiculturism, cynicism, gaming the system.

  42. Anonymous18/4/16

    Brilliant synopsis of the decadent society we have today. In particular, I have lamented for many years the insanely expensive measures taken by governments at local, state and federal levels to try to remove every possible iota of "danger" from people's lives. In economic terms, the cost for diminishing returns is staggering! And now with 9/11 as the "excuse" the economic cost has gone geometric and is dragging personal freedoms along with it. Fear, the weapon of the terrorists has hit home and is still doing its work so many years later. And to make matters worse, the gates have not only been breached, but torn down by those sworn to protect the country. Decadence also seems to have the tell tale signs of old age, failing memory, eyesight, hearing, balance, and inability to focus on things that matter.

  43. Y. Ben-David18/4/16

    I must disagree with you regarding Daniels style of writing. Too many people with good ideas, for example Dennis Prager, feel they have to keep their articles very short, fearing that people won't read them if they are more that a few paragraphs long. This prevents them from properly developing and exposing their thinking. I like Daniel's articles because he DOES develop his ideas, not worrying about the length of the piece.

  44. Anonymous19/4/16

    [The founders only gave franchise to landed males; hard to return to. How about every citizen gets one vote for each $1,000 tax paid?]

    I like the position put forward by Robert Heinlein in "Starship Troopers": only those who served in the military can vote. If one isn't prepared to put ones life on the line, if necessary, to defend the nation-state, why in the name of John Moses Browning should one have any say in how it's run?

  45. Another superb essay by Daniel Greenfield. My frustration with it is a small linguistic one: we need a single descriptive noun parallel with "decadents" and "barbarians", to describe the active members of a vigorous civilization.

  46. Anonymous30/5/16

    to Heinlein citer from $1,000 tax: Good idea; also the military experience brings a certain sobriety.

  47. I would enjoy seeing a proposed list of currently-vigorous nations (or at least large groups).

  48. To bhami3-
    Perhaps refer instead to a state of Barbarism or Vigor or Decadence.
    Otherwise, characterizing individuals as "decadents" or "barbarians" might include "citizens" or "civilians", paying attention to the roots of those two words. I like a civil society.

    To Anonymous-
    Robert Heinlein developed his outlook over many years and many books. I have been reading him for perhaps 80 % of my 71 years. His definitions of a polite society and a civil society have worn much better than some of his other writings.

  49. Helen124/11/19

    This is a brilliant article. Well done! The West needs to understand and treasure traditional values even if we do not agree with every single one. We need to respect our history, knowledge, accomplishments, inventions and more.

  50. This is a brilliant article. Well done! The West should be proud of our culture, history and traditional values. Not everything in our history was good. But we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater! The West started the Industrial Revolution and invented many devices. If The Industrial Revolution did not start in The West it might not have happened for centuries later. We should appreciate what our ancestors have done. We should not despise our culture. Self-loathing is unhealthy. The West invented the steam engine, the telephone, computers, the electric light bulb and railway trains. Sir Isaac Newton discovered modern physics. The modern world would not exist without the West. We should respect our culture and achievements while also respecting other cultures.

  51. Nicholas vanRijn30/1/21

    A brilliant analysis as always Daniel. Upon reading your articles I often feel as though you've read my mind but yet expressed my thoughts more clearly and completely than I could ever hope to do.Bravo good sir. Bravo!

    1. Thank you. It's good to hear and good to see people reading some of the most classic articles.

      Also appreciate the name.

    2. Hard to believe this was written in April of 2016 (linked to by "J.J Sefton" at the "Ace of Spades HQ" blog earlier this week) as it is even more obvious, relevant, and accurate today -- with the exception that your prescription in the 2nd-to-last paragraph for reversing our Decadence and becoming Vigorous once again was ignored (never really having a chance after a century of communist infiltration), and is now impossible to attain.

      2020: The Year that America went Full-Decadent.

      Always enjoy reading your thoughtful analysis, Daniel. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of (the former) America and (our former) liberties.


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