Monday, December 25, 2006

The Last Christmas today has a whole section dedicated to the Christmas Truce of 1914. Four months into the Great War, German, British and French troops in the trenches spontaneously ceased killing each other and spent a day exchanging gifts, playing football and caroling. Afraid that the truce might end the war altogether, generals on both sides ordered the resumption of hostilities and threatened punishment against anyone who even contemplated a truce again. The war went on for three more years, killing millions and mortally wounding European civilization.

Out of its ashes arose the Versailles system, a conflicted Middle East, a vengeful (soon to be Nazi) Germany, and the Soviet Union. Twenty years later, Europe was finished. What exists today is the pale shadow of a once-great civilization, a decadent, nihilistic, post-modernist mess. The mere mention of Christmas has become forbidden in the "tolerance"-obsessed statist anti-culture that is the West today.

The Communist experiment has nearly destroyed eastern Europe. Conflicts created by the post-1918 partition of the Middle East are fueling a global resurgence of Islamic jihad. The American Empire, which arose from World War Two and scored a Pyrrhic victory in the Cold War, is now bleeding itself to death all over the world.

In some ways, that day in 1914 was perhaps the last true Christmas in the West.

There is no going back to that time, of course. And, given that the men who stopped the truce and willingly took their countries to war were a product of that time as much as the soldiers who caroled together after four months of trying to kill each other... I would say that's a good thing. But if there is to be a future for European civilization, we must come to a realization that the past 92 years have not been "progress," but rather a tragedy of some magnitude.

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