But the architects of our future still can’t see the present for the future. They also can’t see that the present has become the past. In the urban mosques it is not to the infidel Queen or the Republic that allegiance is owed, but to the Caliph and the Mahdi, to the martyrs who give their lives in orgies of death so that the wheel of time may turn back and that yesterday may replace tomorrow.
Their own native culture is equally decadent. In art and literature, in film and fashion, the new is still the old. The two biggest summer films are based on characters that debuted in 1939 and 1963. Stop by Broadway and you can choose between a musical based on Abba, another based on a Disney movie from twenty years ago, and Sister Act, Ghost and Bring It On, musicals based on more movies from the last twenty years. We are remaking remakes with tongue firmly in cheek to show that we don’t really mean it, that we aren’t truly culturally bankrupt, only ironic connoisseurs of the past.
Liberal websites denounce the 1950’s in retro fonts painstakingly designed to look like they are from the 1950’s. Clothing brands aimed at young people aim for that same retro look. Abercrombie and Fitch’s popular Hollister brand is pegged to 1922. American Apparel is rooted in the 70’s. There is nothing modern because there is no modern. Only bits of cultural appropriation to give the retro a more exotic flavor.
The progressive sneers at the past but cannot escape it. Whatever creative energy his assaults on culture unleashed have long been spent. He has nothing new to offer, only rationing plans for the old. Our technocracy has made us into sophisticated communicators, even if we have nothing new to say. Institutionally we harvest and wield massive amounts of data and use it to manipulate people. We cheered so loudly for Curiosity’s arrival on Mars because it has been a long time since our culture did anything noteworthy. Even if it isn’t truly new, it’s new to us.
There is no world of tomorrow because there is no tomorrow. A decaying culture has no future. Only a stasis that is easily ruptured by internal and external enemies. To have a future we must have a culture again and to have that we must rebuild an identity by meeting challenges. We can discover who we are through what we can do. It is not futurism that makes futures, but a people striving to make something because they believe that the future is worth making.
The great progressive project of the future is a rotting stench that blows across the Atlantic. It is a formless dream that died. It is a future without a future. It is a million conferences and a billion regulations. It is a world where everything is known, where each atom is weighed and every man is found wanting. It is a closed room and a white bed on which to lay down and die on while the machines count off the seconds.
If we are to have a tomorrow it will not come from those places. It will be not be the Everycity or the eternal conference. It will not be from the men and women who have appointed themselves the rulers of the earth and all that is within it. Rather it will come from those who defy the decay, who cope with the chaos that the progressive program has spawned, who hang on to their homes and their businesses and fight for their dreams.