When we were younger, we wondered about what it was like to live through the Fall of Rome. At least, this was the case in Generation X. There was an inherent attraction to disasters, collapses, defeats and disintegrations.
Our experience involved from an early age being both aware that something was really wrong in the world because everyone seemed insane, and having the same people ignore us while they raced off to follow whatever trend, fad, trope, panic or mania was fascinating the crowd at that very moment. They wanted to be popular, so they did popular things.
For this reason, we were dubbed “the Cassandra Generation” after a mythological figure who was cursed with prophecy:
According to Aeschylusâ€™s tragedy Agamemnon, Cassandra was loved by the god Apollo, who promised her the power of prophecy if she would comply with his desires. Cassandra accepted the proposal, received the gift, and then refused the god her favours. Apollo revenged himself by ordaining that her prophecies should never be believed. She accurately predicted such events as the fall of Troy and the death of Agamemnon, but her warnings went unheeded.
Another comparison might be found in the Biblical figure of Josiah, who like us was aware of coming doom but unable to do more than watch:
Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, â€œI have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.â€ He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: â€œYour officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the Lord and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.â€ Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, â€œHilkiah the priest has given me a book.â€ And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the kingâ€™s attendant: â€œGo and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lordâ€™s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.â€
Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.
She said to them, â€œThis is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, â€˜This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made,[a] my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.â€™ Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, â€˜This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its peopleâ€”that they would become a curse[b] and be laid wasteâ€”and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.â€™â€
The days of the old West are over. Liberal democracy has failed and will end its days in a miasma of corrupt, debt, racial warfare, pollution, debauchery and obesity. We who have seen it are few now, soon to be more, and eventually, will be uncontroversial in our beliefs. But between now and that point, we will be screaming into the wind as the herd goes deeper into denial.