This must be what’s called an “irony of history”: Donald J. Trump, leading offender of Western Civilization, just tried to pass himself off as its leading defender?
In his recent speech in Warsaw, Poland, the president served up a book-end to his Inaugural Address, the one describing “American carnage.” Outlining the glories of Western Civilization—“We write symphonies”—he cast those glories as under siege: “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.” Then, in defense of that civilization, this supremely uncivilized man went full Churchillian, about which, more later.
With history coursing onward at dizzying speed—due in no small part to Trump the anarchic disrupter—the commentariat, lacking time and perspective, was relatively quiet about Trump’s astonishing claim. And now we’re deep into another Trumpian media frenzy, this one about the president’s son, Donald, Jr., and his alleged ties to the Russian government—the same government our intelligence community says tried to disrupt our last election—so the focus again is on collusion, possible treason or impeachment, not Western Civilization.
But any lover of the humanities and Western Civilization cannot let the moment pass. Donald Trump cannot ever be normalized as Western Civilization’s defender. In his Warsaw speech, the hypocrisies, the offenses, began immediately.
Early on, Trump invoked the Polish people’s joy when, after communism fell, they were free to celebrate mass with their Polish pope, John Paul II, saying with one voice, “We want God.” Casting himself as one of them, Trump declared, “As I stand here today….their message is as true today as ever. The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out, ‘We want God.’” This, from the un-godliest man in Christendom.
Then, after extolling a strong Europe as a “blessing to the West and to the world” (when has our crude…