The black and white images of the students in the Latin Quarter of Paris will dominate a series of exhibitions, books and events by which France is preparing to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of 1968 when students rioted against traditional institutions, values and order, almost bringing the country to a halt. It is still unclear how and if Emmanuel Macron, the first French president born after that year, wants to celebrate the “event”.
Meanwhile, columnist Eric Zemmour began to stumble against the anniversary with a long article in the Figaro. 1968, writes Zemmour, is the year when family, school, church, sex, nation, all the Western hierarchical structures, were subverted and inverted. In the name of freedom, we would have only rights. Nothing would be biological anymore, everything from now on would be cultural. It meant the “disintegration of Western societies”.
Zemmour is right. 1968 is the year when the abominations of the post-civilization in which we live started to manifest themselves, from placid hedonism to radical demographic decline. Welcome to the contemporary Western nightmare.
1968 also marked a turning point in the American political culture with internal divisions threatening to tear apart a nation.
In 1968 the children of the richest society in history began to bite the culture in which they were raised. 1968 eroded, most insidiously, the foundations of Western culture. In 1968, the West sunk into a kind of malaise.
Our art and architecture no longer inspire anyone. After 1968, the West has no more narrative beyond material prosperity or the proliferation of “rights”. Our art is banal and kitsch, the nihilism of works we accumulate in the museums in which indifferent visitors are lost among piles of trash and heaps of clothes.
We don't even know anymore why we should defend our own civilization.
In 1968 the war in Vietnam crushed, probably forever, faith in the American mission. Barack Obama is the perfect son of 1968.
That is the year of the Tet offensive and the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. 1968 also saw the start of the decline of the Catholic Church. Then Professor Joseph Ratzinger, who would become Pope as Benedict XVI, called it “a reverse turn on the scale of history”.
It is the fall into chaos and barbarism that we clearly see today. 1968 created the perfect storm of social forces militating against the Western culture. A semi-official religion, the new atheism, has taken the place of Christianity and has assumed the appearance of a real Church.
Anti-Semitism is devouring democracies again.
Multiculturalism is a new gospel.
Moral panic is pushing the liberals towards a new mad authoritarianism.
Pagan witchcraft lives through a great awakening.
The Nazi swastikas have reappeared in the public arena.
The athletes are the new heroes and saints, the fake heroes of a post-heroic society. Islam is now filling the cultural vacuum the West created in its own heart.
Our honor is in tatters.