Dear Barbarians

 

Dear Barbarians,

You may believe that global warming is a looming crisis demanding radical changes to how we live, or you may think the data doesn’t support that conclusion and we should enjoy a growing, cheap-energy economy. You may believe that marriage should be exclusively between one man and one woman, or that other arrangements should also be recognized. You may believe that Asians are genetically smarter than other people, that men and women are fundamentally and irreversibly different, or that a boy can be a girl and vice versa.

You may believe in evolution, or astrology, or the healing power of crystals; you may want free markets or socialist central planning; you may think Jesus, Muhammad, or Buddha was a fiction or a normal man or a god walking on Earth. You may believe in affirmative action or a color-blind society; you may believe that we should value the content of a man’s character, or think the color of his skin is what’s important.

You may believe any of these things or none of them, and still be a civilized human being. You don’t have to be right, you don’t even have to make sense, to be a civilized human being.

But the moment you decide that some ideas may not be expressed, that some opinions may be silenced by force, that not everyone is entitled to believe what he wishes and to express his belief, that you’re free to intimidate and destroy other people and their property in order to make your political point — the moment you decide any of those things, you become a barbarian.

That goes for every one of you rioters in the streets, you smashers and grabbers, you thugs who try to silence others with intimidation, you Antifa and BLM goons. It goes for every one of you snowflake college students shouting down a conservative speaker, and every one of you hyper-educated college administrators punishing a student for saying something politically incorrect. It goes for you tech weenies who seek to silence heterodox views, and you journalists who drown out your guests because you don’t like what you’re hearing.

You’re barbarians, and you aren’t worthy of the culture you’ve been given.

Published in Culture
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  1. Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) Member
    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing)
    @Sisyphus

    Yeah! What he said!

    • #1
  2. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Very well said!

    • #2
  3. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    I just [heart] Henry, don’t you?

    • #3
  4. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I just [heart] Henry, don’t you?

    He’s ok I guess.

    • #4
  5. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I just [heart] Henry, don’t you?

    GD, the check is in the mail.

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I just [heart] Henry, don’t you?

    He’s ok I guess.

    Mark, the check is in the mail.

    Jerk.

    • #5
  6. Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) Member
    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing)
    @Sisyphus

    There are checks? Oh, goody! No one told me there would be checks!

    • #6
  7. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) (View Comment):

    There are checks? Oh, goody! No one told me there would be checks!

    Unless you prefer being paid in bitcoin. We have a pretty flexible — and generous — compensation scheme.

    • #7
  8. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    My mom used to call us kids barbarians when we gobbled up food.

    I’m not sure that word means what Mom thinks it means. Cuz we never did any of that smash, grab, burn kind of stuff.

    • #8
  9. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    My mom used to call us kids barbarians when we gobbled up food.

    I’m not sure that word means what Mom thinks it means. Cuz we never did any of that smash, grab, burn kind of stuff.

    Opportunity: missed.

    • #9
  10. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Henry Racette: You’re barbarians, and you aren’t worthy of the culture you’ve been given.

    They are unaware that their wealth and their safety is based on what came before them. They are unaware that all the movies and all the books (presuming they read) and everything ever is based on people who were smarter and more creative than them. 

    They take everything for granted. But please remember that they have been trained to take everything for granted. 

    • #10
  11. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I just [heart] Henry, don’t you?

    I regret his genetic make-up. 

    • #11
  12. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Hear, hear.  Very well said.  

    • #12
  13. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    But the moment you decide that some ideas may not be expressed, that some opinions may be silenced by force, that not everyone is entitled to believe what he wishes and to express his belief, that you’re free to intimidate and destroy other people and their property in order to make your political point — the moment you decide any of those things, you become a barbarian.

    To repeat others, Well Said. 

    • #13
  14. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I read today that writers at Vox had given grief to another writer for signing the letter in Harpers.  I removed Vox from my list of two dozen websites that I look over each day.

    It may be that the Atlantic will be giving grief to one or their signers.  If so, I can cancel my subscription.

    The Cancelers can get canceled.  

    • #14
  15. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Henry, spot on, as usual.  No check necessary.  Not even of your privilege, whatever that might be.

    This should be published and circulated far and wide.  Is there a newspaper or magazine anywhere out there that might…?

    • #15
  16. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    My mom used to call us kids barbarians when we gobbled up food.

    I’m not sure that word means what Mom thinks it means. Cuz we never did any of that smash, grab, burn kind of stuff.

    Opportunity: missed.

    My niece was similar to a barbarian in how she destroyed legos. 

    • #16
  17. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I just finished Jonah Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West” where he describes children as barbarians who must be civilized by their parents.

    • #17
  18. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I just finished Jonah Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West” where he describes children as barbarians who must be civilized by their parents.

    With respect to Jonah, he wasn’t new or original in that observation. 

    • #18
  19. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I just finished Jonah Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West” where he describes children as barbarians who must be civilized by their parents.

    With respect to Jonah, he wasn’t new or original in that observation.

    Seawriter attributed it to Thomas Sowell here, but I think it was said earlier by Hannah Arendt.  I found another delicious and apposite quote by Arendt at the same site: “The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.”  Indeed.

    • #19
  20. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I just finished Jonah Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West” where he describes children as barbarians who must be civilized by their parents.

    With respect to Jonah, he wasn’t new or original in that observation.

    Seawriter attributed it to Thomas Sowell here, but I think it was said earlier by Hannah Arendt. I found another delicious and apposite quote by Arendt at the same site: “The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.” Indeed.

    Yes.  Jonah properly attributed it to Hannah Arnedt at page 277:

    “Hannah Arendt once observed that in every generation, Western Civilization is invaded by barbarians.  We call them ‘children.'”

    • #20
  21. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I just finished Jonah Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West” where he describes children as barbarians who must be civilized by their parents.

    With respect to Jonah, he wasn’t new or original in that observation.

    Seawriter attributed it to Thomas Sowell here, but I think it was said earlier by Hannah Arendt. I found another delicious and apposite quote by Arendt at the same site: “The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.” Indeed.

    Indeed, but the word conservative means what it used to mean, not how we use it now as a neoclassical liberal.

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I nominate @henryracette for the first Ricochet “Rant of the Week” award . . .

    • #22
  23. Brandon Member
    Brandon
    @Brandon

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    My mom used to call us kids barbarians when we gobbled up food.

    I’m not sure that word means what Mom thinks it means. Cuz we never did any of that smash, grab, burn kind of stuff.

    From the Online Etymology Dictionary (Emphasis mine):  

    early 15c., in reference to classical history, “a non-Roman or non-Greek,” earlier barbar (late 14c.) “non-Roman or non-Greek person; non-Christian; person speaking a language different from one’s own,” from Medieval Latin barbarinus (source of Old French barbarin “Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian”), from Latin barbarus “strange, foreign, barbarous,” from Greek barbaros “foreign, strange; ignorant,” from PIE root *barbar- echoic of unintelligible speech of foreigners (compare Sanskrit barbara- “stammering,” also “non-Aryan,” Latin balbus “stammering,” Czech blblati “to stammer”).

     

    Turns out that the word barbarian fits our antagonist better than we thought.  

     

    • #23
  24. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I read today that writers at Vox had given grief to another writer for signing the letter in Harpers. I removed Vox from my list of two dozen websites that I look over each day.

    It may be that the Atlantic will be giving grief to one or their signers. If so, I can cancel my subscription.

    The Cancelers can get canceled.

    Let’s cancel these Cancelers first.

    • #24
  25. Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) Member
    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing)
    @Sisyphus

    I like Thomas Sowell’s phrasing: Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.

    Evergreen.

    • #25
  26. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    On a related note, I just watched the first episode of Band of Brothers for the first time last night. We owe so much.

    And, since we’re looking at everything through a racial lens these days, there were a bunch of white kids who did that.

    Barbarians and ingrates.

    • #26
  27. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I read today that writers at Vox had given grief to another writer for signing the letter in Harpers. I removed Vox from my list of two dozen websites that I look over each day.

    It may be that the Atlantic will be giving grief to one or their signers. If so, I can cancel my subscription.

    The Cancelers can get canceled.

    Let’s cancel these Cancelers first.

    By that you mean that we should cancel Trump?

    • #27
  28. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    On a related note, I just watched the first episode of Band of Brothers for the first time last night. We owe so much.

    And, since we’re looking at everything through a racial lens these days, there were a bunch of white kids who did that.

    Barbarians and ingrates.

    What a great series!

    • #28
  29. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I read today that writers at Vox had given grief to another writer for signing the letter in Harpers. I removed Vox from my list of two dozen websites that I look over each day.

    It may be that the Atlantic will be giving grief to one or their signers. If so, I can cancel my subscription.

    The Cancelers can get canceled.

    Let’s cancel these Cancelers first.

    By that you mean that we should cancel Trump?

    All in good time, Gary, all in good time.

    My brother, if we Reagan Republicans don’t stop the Nazis first, and soon, there will only be one Party, and it won’t be the party of Reagan. They are already burning our cities, and rapidly wiping out or silencing opposition in every single institution of American democracy: organized religion, science, academia, the press, Hollywood, the big corporations, and all levels of government.  I think you need to abandon your quest to find a Republican, Libertarian, or Democrat alternative to Trump in the short term and join us.

    • #29