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Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    James Burnham(Author)

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James Burnham’s 1964 classic, Suicide of the West, remains a startling account on the nature of the modern era. It offers a profound, in depth analysis of what is happening in the world today by putting into focus the intangible, often vague doctrine of American liberalism. It parallels the loosely defined liberal ideology rampant in American government and institutions, with the flow, ebb, growth, climax and the eventual decline and death of both ancient and modern civilizations.

Its author maintains that western suicidal tendencies lie not so much in the lack of resources or military power, but through an erosion of intellectual, moral, and spiritual factors abundant in modern western society and the mainstay of liberal psychology.

Devastating in its relentless dissection of the liberal syndrome, this book will lead many liberals to painful self-examination, buttress the thinking conservative’s viewpoint, and incite others, no doubt, to infuriation. None can ignore it.

''This somber, brilliantly written book attempts to fix the blame for the suicidal 'contraction of the West' over the last fifty years upon Liberalism, chiefly in the United States . . . It is at the same time a venture into the philosophy of history and an indictment of those responsible for the present disastrous plight of once triumphant Western civilization.'' --National Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. James Burnham has been a noted author, lecturer, editor, and commentator on current affairs. In 1983, Burnham was presented with the Ingersoll Foundation's award for his contributions to the conservative movement, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His books include "The Managerial Revolution, The Struggle for the World, The Machiavellians," and many others. Currently retired, Burnham resides in Connecticut.

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Book details

  • PDF | 400 pages
  • James Burnham(Author)
  • Encounter Books; Revised ed. edition (November 25, 2014)
  • English
  • 7
  • Politics & Social Sciences

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Review Text

  • By J. Myers on December 16, 2014

    Read the review of the original 1964 edition in the New York Times (search its web site by "Burnham Suicide," limit the dates to include all of 1964). Here is the link, which perhaps Amazon will not allow: The book is perhaps still valuable for its listing of liberal values from a conservative viewpoint that derides them. I am looking for such books to help me understand and talk to conservatives, with the belief that the truth (or at least mine) needs to be tested to be informed. However, this book, with its examples of Nazis and Kennedy, may make less immediate sense to current readers than something else. I'm still looking, so offer recommendations if you have them.

  • By J. Michael on July 6, 2016

    This landmark work is still valuable today because the author does yeoman work in actually providing a plausible definition of that protean hydra, liberalism. After so much confusion and misdirected energy among American patriots, Burnham defined exactly what a liberal believes; not just their positions on specific issues of the time, but their overriding philosophical values that inform their positions on political and social issues.To wit, a skepticism of traditional values and institutions, the elevation of so-called Reason above all other forms of traditional knowledge, the belief that Man has no fixed nature and can thus achieve limitless perfectibility through education. That seems like a good definition to me and can explain why liberals hate, for example, Christianity, patriarchy, aristocracy, and believe that all races are equal and can be mixed and mongrelized to produce utopia on earth under the benevolent guidance of educators and liberal functionaries. It explains why they think two men can be "married" and why women can murder their babies in the womb...or out of it for that matter. It explains why they feel guilty over the success of rich people and rich nations and agitate for the economic redistribution of their wealth. What even the author couldn't possibly fathom is the extreme insanity to which liberalism has descended.At the time of writing, he was witnessing unprecedented liberal surrender to Communism and the developing world in the arena of diplomacy and military might, resulting in a shrinking area of Western power. What even Burnham couldn't foresee was the modern liberal drive to physically dispossess and eventually destroy their own race- through both uncontrolled Third World immigration and a stifling anti-life ethos of birth control, abortion and child limitation. Liberalism is not merely undermining our political position and our relative economic and military power vis a vis our enemies; it it to the point where it will literally wipe us off the face of the Earth if we don't destroy it first.

  • By Rodolf Velicky on April 24, 2015

    The book confirmed ideas expressed in to family and friends in the enclosed disertationTyranny is the Legacy of a Nation Without GodRodolf W. Velicky Education does not make an intellectual nor does an intellectual make truth. In the 1960's a cultural revolution, grounded in the philosophies of European Age of Enlightened thinking reached our Nation as the common knowledge of intellectuals; declaring that the world's Christian heritage is a manifestation of superstitious ignorance. Overnight, virtually everyone claiming the status of an educated modern suddenly became an intellectual with the freedom to create a vision of reality providing a permissive moral order defining truth as a variable, limited only by a political correctness, encouraged and legalized by political power. Prior to this intellectual revolution truth was simply a fact that conformed with reality. Under this new paradigm, truth becomes a versatile construct, developed for the convenience and advantage of political power. Modernism’s call to Multiculturalism, Religious Diversity and Moral Relativism rejects the law of cause and effect and the law of non-contradiction along with the nature of justice that every child know instinctively by the time he reaches the age of seven, when the Church would prepare him for Holy Communion with God. Violating these principals is much like trying to add one and one to make three. It is impossible unless the mind is conditioned in double-think to achieve a predisposed result. When motives are taken into consideration, this is the definition of lying and when governments participate in the promotion of such lies, you can bet your last dollar that the Common Man’s constitutional freedoms are the target. This is an example of “Creative Ignorance” that revealed the relationship[s] of contempt, held by pseudo-Intellectuals for the common man; his rights to self-governance and the grounding of these rights found in the faith, hope and love of God, as proclaimed and defended by the Catholic Church, consistently for two thousand years. Modern snobs, pretending to an intellectualism in support of ignorance are deserving of ridicule for allowing their passions to think for them, under the legal and public pressure of political correctness. Sexual license and crumbs from the table of political power come at the extremely high price of our democratic freedoms within this life and, more than likely, an eternal regret for a life lived selfishly. America’s Cultural Revolution is not and never has been a search for truth. Man is a social animal, dependent on each other for survival, however he dies as an individual and in justice should answer for how this life was lived. There always have been Culture Wars designed to organize a segment of the population to prey upon the rest of Mankind for pleasure and profit. This modern attempt is a brilliant manufactured excuse to deny the justice owed individually and collectively to Mankind, as grounded in the doctrines of the Catholic Church and hinted at in our Nation’s Declaration of Independence—allowing individuals and governments to Choose a world-view as if the universe were designed for one's personal pleasure and comfort. Modernism has provided a self-serving excuse for the pompous autonomous individual to feast at the table of political power under the security of public law and public approval. America’s Cultural Revolution is a creation of a dog-eat-dog world in which there is no one to trust or love but ones self—a world in which Culture functions as a vulture feeding on the carrion of Western Civilization; symbolized as a snake feeding on its own tail. My life experiences, examined through the simple common sense of a common man, revealed that intellectual genius has absolutely no relationship to mankind's hope for happiness. This mysterious thing called happiness is the driving force for human existence—everyone wants it, however, if its true nature is not recognized substitutes can result only in misery and unhappiness. Instinctively, every-man comprehends God-like attributes of divinity within himself, manifested as the gift of intellect and free-will. If this gift is to be appreciated properly it must be loved correctly: that is with a love for the Gift-Giver that must be shared with others with the same generosity it has been received. It follows if there is any reality to the spiritual concept of happiness it must be locked into the nature of love that can only be received if freely given away. The hope of being happy is unobtainable when love is turned inward by the self into the self. This insight is experienced as Common Sense and is an instinctive inheritance of the common man, passed on generation to generation through the traditions of the family structure where the concept of sacrificial love can be nurtured to become the foundation for happiness to the degree possible in this world. When the common man and these traditions are held in contempt, denigrated and mocked by a snobbish culture it turns this concept of love into hate and can only be grounded on the foundation of creative stupidity intended for a devious purpose. The consequences are so disastrous for human kind that every civilization throughout the history of the world that have pursued such philosophies have all come to an ignoble end. America's cultural revolution of the 1960's is not the product of any reasoned system of logic; it is a pseudo-religious belief, grounded on ancient Pantheism or Atheistic permissiveness; modernized with a facade of pseudo-science on a foundation of modern psychology, euphemisms and philosophical double-speak for which no one is willing or able to provide a reasonable explanation. The rules of logic, as developed in Platonic philosophy and used in Catholic Theology must be undermined to persuade the gullible that science has made the existence of God unnecessary for explaining ours. This is an intentional dumbing down of the culture by those with the talent, intent and opportunity to do so. The concept of happiness and God's unconditional love for mankind is inexplicable without His revelation of Himself as one God in three Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is a deep mystery, examined with the same logic science uses to penetrate physical mysteries such as light simultaneously being a particle and wave; as strong, weak and gravitational forces are postulated to deal with mysteries of time, space and the singularity of the universe at its beginning. Subverting the rules of logic to deny the existence of God destroys the tools of reasoned thinking and the road to science. As I continue to reflect on the concept of Love I recall Jesus' command to, Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect and Love one another as I Love you. These statements define an awesome relationship between God and Man; especially when it is realized that God is offering to share His divinity with us. In John 17; 21-22 Jesus says, I pray not only for them [the Apostles] but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they all may be one, as you Father, are in me and I in you, THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE IN US.... This relationship is grounded on God's ineffable Love for Man: a Love that is reflected in the relationship among three persons in God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So that Pope Benedict XVI can say with authority, God is Love and has Loved Mankind into existence. Modernism is the antithesis of sacrificial love. Whatever it wishes to call itself, that is, Liberalism, Socialism, Secular Humanism, Communism or Fascism, it is an artificial construct designed to use the inherent selfish gullibility of mankind to enhance and perpetuate political power. When the substance of modern thought is boiled down to its essence there is nothing left but the autonomous individual—a poorly educated common man, intentionally persuaded to visualize the self as the center of the universe in order to become willing participants in a modern version of ancient paganism. The modern autonomous individual becomes a convert to a Secular Civil Religion by simply denying the reality of evil and redefining vices as virtues, thereby transferring the moral authority of God to themselves under the control of political power. Votes are substituted for prayers with the hope for all good things confiscated and distributed through that power to the faithful. It is a false religion grounded on wishful thinking that reinvents ancient pantheism flavored with a dose of atheism to deify each pompous ego with the authority to define the meaning and purpose for ones personal existence. Modernism is a fantasy grounded on wishful thinking allowing the ego to worship The Self in a no holds barred competition with all other Selves—a recipe for anarchy and barbarism, a universal divisiveness of all against all, that is noticeably accelerating toward this logical end around the world and in our Nation. There is no Happiness, in this world or the next, for winners or losers driven by selfishness, envy and hate, through a world-view well described as a snake feeding on its own tail. Modernism has an extremely long history of failures and disasters for humanity. It began with the Renascence about five hundred years ago. It was followed by a Post-renascence era that gave us the Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, the French Revolution, World War I & II, Fascism, Communism, the Cold War and a cowardice that allows today's Islamic Terrorism. The common denominator among all these roads to Utopia is the belief among pseudo-Intellectuals that it is possible to make truth and with a good line of bulls... to restore the absolute power enjoyed by ruling classes throughout the ages. The fruits of these ideologies are and always have been a disaster for the common man and as always the intelligentsia have given him evermore clever ways to suffer evil, experienced as reality under the misnomer social justice. The autonomous individual promoting a world defined by Moral Relativism, Multiculturalism and Religious Diversity without an intellectual rationale for doing so is setting up the world for Political Tyranny. Digesting evil to justify personal lusts fosters a world of chaos that can only be controlled by economic coercion and physical force—a legacy of oppression defined as Tyranny.Rodolf W. VelickyApril 16, 2015111 Ridge Road, Factoryville, PA [email protected]

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