Civilization Versus the New Nihilists

Nihilism is the religion of the Left. Anarchy is now at the core of the new Democratic Party.

If the Left wished radically to alter the demography of the U.S., it could have expanded legal immigration through legislation or the courts.

Instead, it simply erased the border and dynamited federal immigration law.

By fiat, nihilists ended the wall, and stopped detaining and deporting illegal aliens altogether.

Or was it worse than that when candidate Joe Biden in September 2019 urged would-be illegal aliens to “surge” the border?

As a result, through laxity and entitlement incentives, eight-million illegal entrants have swarmed the southern border under the Biden administration.

They are swamping border towns, bankrupting big-city budgets, and infuriating even Democratic constituencies.

The same nihilism applies to crime.

In the old days liberals gave light sentences to criminals or reduced bail. But today leftist prosecutors do not even seek bail. They hardly prosecute theft or random assaults.

Criminals are arrested and released the same day. Is the nihilist plan to destroy the entire body of American jurisprudence, and to ensure “equity” in being victimized?

Is the woke idea that all Americans—inclusive of diverse Beverly Hills elites, Hollywood celebrities, or members of Congress alike—must share victim equity, and thus experience first-hand street robbery, car-jacking, smash-and-grab, and home invasion?

The United States can produce annually more natural gas and oil than any nation on earth. It once pioneered nuclear power. It has vast coal reserves and sophisticated hydroelectric plants.

The old idea was to use these unmatched resources to transition gradually to other cleaner fuels such as hydrogen, fusion power, solar, and wind. That way consumers would still enjoy affordable energy. And the United States could remain independent of coercion by the oil-producing Middle East.

But that was not the nihilist way.

Instead, the left deliberately cut back on pipelines, new energy leases, and fracking. It bragged of an upcoming ban on fossil fuels. In drought-stricken, energy-short California, the state is blowing up, not building new dams.

Is the nihilist agenda to punish with bankrupcy the energy-using middle class?

Is the hope that Americans will have to beg the Saudis, Iranians, Venezuelans, and Russians to pump more of the hated goo for our benefit so we would not have to dirty ourselves helping ourselves?

When Joe Biden entered office in January 2021 the U.S. was naturally rebounding from more than a year of Covid-enforced lockdowns.

Overtaxed supply chains were still fragile. Pent-up demand was soaring. Consumers were flush with government cash. Trillions of dollars had been printed and infused into the economy to ward off a feared recession.

All economists advised not to increase the deficit, spike further consumer demand, and expand entitlements.

Instead the Left did just the opposite.

Four-trillion dollars were printed and distributed. In no time, Americans, recovering from Covid, next experienced the worst, but entirely preventable, inflation in 40 years.

Three years later prices on staples remain 30-40 percent higher than when Biden took office. Mortgage rates tripled.

Abroad the nihilism is even more inexplicable and terrifying.

All nations suffer military setbacks. But none in memory have shamefully hightailed out of a theater as we did from Afghanistan.

Few countries could even imagine discarding billions of dollars of weapons and hardware into the hands of the terrorist Taliban, or abandoning a $1 billion new embassy, and a huge, remodeled air base.

Why did the administration simply allow a huge Chinese spy balloon to float and photograph leisurely over the continental U.S.?

Naïve countries might endure two or three attacks on their overseas bases without serious retaliation. But how could the U.S. military permit 135 rocket barrages by Iranian-supplied terrorists on American soldiers without a major and sustained response?

Is the point to humiliate our own troops? To destroy what is left of U.S. deterrence?

Popular culture is especially captive to leftist nihilism.

It is not enough to object to a statue or artwork. Instead, without deliberation or public input, they must be defaced or destroyed, all the better stealthily and by night.

After the massacres of October 7—but well before Israel had even responded to the barbaric invasion—thousands of students swarmed their elite universities cheering on the violence.

And what so exhilarated them?

The nihilist, ghoulish beheading, torture, mutilation, mass rape, dismemberment, and necrophilia of unarmed, civilian Israeli elderly, women, children, and infants.

In sum, we are witnessing an epidemic of leftist nihilism similar to the 16th-century European mad wave of iconoclastic destruction of religious art.

Or is the better parallel the suicidal insanity that Mao Zedong unleashed during his cultural revolution of the 1960s?

The old politics of right versus left, and Republican opposed to Democrat have now given way to a new existential struggle: Americans must choose between civilization—or its destroyers.


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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004, and is the 2023 Giles O'Malley Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson is also a farmer (growing almonds on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author of the just released New York Times best seller, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation, published by Basic Books on May 7, 2024, as well as the recent  The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump, and The Dying Citizen.

Photo: ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 11: U.S. First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff await the arrival of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Ceremony on November 11, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. Harris visited Arlington National Cemetary to deliver remarks at the National Veterans Day Observance ceremony. In her remarks Harris noted that this is the first Veteran's day since U.S. President Joe Biden passed the PACT act, which expandd health care for service members who were exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan or or other chemical irritants used in previous conflicts. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Notable Replies

  1. “Nihilism is the religion of the left.” VDH

    You pegged them again, Victor, and it’s critical that we acknowledge their true character and beliefs in order to best counter their destructive nature, for within the basis of that belief lies the seed of it’s own destruction.

    Nihilism as a religion is of course an oxymoron, for in it’s pure sense it is the rejection not only of religion, but also all morality and truth. However, for those that ascribe to that dismal philosophy it ironically fulfills the human psychological need to believe in something, even if that something is the rejection of everything essential to maintaining human civilization and progress. Their Achilles Heel is the innate human intuition of morality, for pointing out the nihilism inherent within their policies and actions negates the moral authority they proclaim that justifies those.

  2. Why bother making slow changes to energy policies when doing it rapidly means the paradigm shift puts ownership in the hands of donors. Sadly, enough GOP policy makers get on board because they too will benefit if they will only go along.

  3. Avatar for cdor cdor says:

    Short, sweet, and precise. It’s a takedown that defies argument. If only the Republicans could express themselves so concisely we might get through to the great American electorate.

  4. If only elected Republicans were as informed and as concerned as their base.

  5. I think it is a mistake to think that our liberal friends believe in nothing.They believe passionately that they are fighting for the Oppressed Peoples against the White Oppressors.

    So, the border? It is unjust to keep out victimized Oppressed Peoples.

    Crime? How can we use the unjust justice system against historically Oppressed Peoples?

    Climate change? But 97 percent of scientists say the world is going to burn!

    I think the best way to understand our liberal and radical friends is that, as their whole world view collapses they are upping the rhetoric. See French Revolution: reign of terror. Bolshevik Revolution: Great Purge. Mao Revolution: Cultural Revolution.

    When your whole reason for being is collapsing, you lash out against the “enemy.”

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