When Will the World End?

With the commemoration of Christ’s first Advent, the end of the calendar year and a widespread (and justified) sense that we are all walking on the edge of a precipice, an old question pops up again: when will the world end?  Many seers, prophets, and charlatans have predicted a date when the world will end, only to find themselves both relieved and disappointed.  Unlike them, I know with complete certainty when the world will end.  It will end on June 28, 1914.

Had Archduke Franz Ferdinand lived, we would almost certainly inhabit a better world.  There would have been no war; he was the leader of the peace party in Vienna.  Without the vast civilizational catastrophe that was World War I, the West would not have lost faith in itself, its culture, and religion.  Instead of cultural Marxism, we could still have Christian, conservative monarchy as the West’s leading paradigm.  I doubt the House of Hapsburg, which had twice repelled the Moslem hordes from the gates of Vienna, would have opened those gates to more than a million Islamic “refugees” (really migrants).  Interestingly, it is mostly states that were part of the Empire, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, that have the moral courage to say no to the EU’s refugee quotas.  Had the Archduke lived, there would be no Lenin, no Stalin, no Hitler, no Holocaust.  Israel might have been established as a province of the Ottoman Empire, under German and Austro-Hungarian protection; the Zionists were quite influential at the Viennese court and Kaiser Wilhelm II had a number of close Jewish friends.  Russia, which by 1910 had reached the economic takeoff point, would not have lost the 60 million people killed by Soviet Communism, the figure revealed when the Soviet archives were opened in 1989.  Economically, the Russian people might enjoy the same standard of living Americans have today, while still residing under a Christian monarch in an Orthodox country. 

Vienna was not only a political capital, it was a cultural capital as well, the rival of Paris.  While the cultural pessimism that now rules the West was already stirring, without World War I and the fall of the Empire it probably would not have become dominant.  Music, art, and architecture would still strive for beauty, not alienation (thank you Adorno). Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of all values,” where the old sins become virtues and the old virtues sins, would have remained the delusion of a syphilitic philosopher instead of the guiding rule of Western elites.  In the year 2017, a Hapsburg Vienna might well be the source of much of the world’s cultural and intellectual greatness.

Only a handful of people are left who understand how much was lost on that June day in 1914.  With those pistol shots in Sarajevo, the West put a gun to its own head and blew its brains out.  Our history since has been the twitching of a corpse.

In 1971, when doing graduate work in Vienna, I had the good fortune to meet the Empire face-to-face.  My landlady was Frau Baron von Garabedian-Elislago.  Her father was General von Krauss-Elislago, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s aide-de-camp and favorite soldier.  She knew the Archduke and the last Emperor, Kaiser Karl.  As you entered her apartment, you saw two magnificent Renaissance chests, gifts to her father from the Archduke.  She could remember the picnics on the decks of Austrian battleships in the Adriatic. 

The good Frau Baron was lively, funny, and a window into all that was lost.  She spoke six languages fluently.  She enjoyed high culture as only a truly educated person can.  One night as we were coming out of the Burgtheater she gestured dismissively to two statues and said, “Those are the monkeys who founded the republic.”

Now, we Americans live in a country where the monkeys seem to be running everything.  Our downward spiral accelerates.  Soon, education and cultural levels will be so low that no one will be able to understand the value of a place governed by Christian monarchy and devoted to the life of the mind.  But Hapsburg Vienna was such a place.  Until, on June 28, 1914, the world ended.

17 thoughts on “When Will the World End?”

  1. For whatever my opinion might be worth, Perihelion for the West occurred in the three decades 1879 to 1914, the so-called “Banquet years” or the “Golden Age of Security.” But the wheel continued turning, and World War One began the moral slippage, in the United States with Woodrow Wilson’s fascism (the plain-clothes American Protective League as its own Sturmabteilung), far worse in the East with the Russian revolution and establishment of the CheKa. Moral slippage has progressed since then. I believe we are seenig the beginning of the end, Twilight of the West.

  2. One little comment..
    The hola hoax was invented quite a while after WW2.
    And my great uncle Tom Gregory was a doughboy.

  3. All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
    From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
    A light from the shadows shall spring;
    Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
    The crownless again shall be king

  4. The world is not ready to understand cycles. Unfortunately, the standard method of analysis is reducing everything to a single cause of action. That methodology is lethal to knowledge and the future.

  5. The world indeed did end already, and not once.

    Sergey Akhromeyev, who had been head of Soviet armed forces, committed suicide in August 1991, leaving a note that “I cannot live when my country has been murdered and everything that gave meaning to my life has been destroyed. My age and what I have accomplished give me the right to exit life. I have fought until the end”
    [ http://www.warheroes.ru/hero/hero.asp?Hero_id=1029 ]

    Just another of those worlds that did come to an end.

    However, some choose to continue living. And they eventually rebuild, even though they might build differently.

  6. Oh, wow. Man, that’s so deep. I’m glad we have people like you to share your great knowledge with the rest of us.

  7. What was that line in that Gladiator movie? Something like, “What we do in life, echoes through eternity”. I fought in one of the “Echo Wars” of those shots fired in Sarajevo, Viet-Nam. Didn’t realize it until around 2005. Knowledge gives Clarity to ones outlook, and now I know. Thanks.

  8. America got soft from economic success. That excessive softness has led America into the jaws of the hyneas. Enjoy the rest to come because it’s as ineveitable as WW1 and WW2 and the continued foreign adventurism up to this day.

  9. Herr Hitler was the only hope for europe, and the Americans sided with the bolsheviks. Communism is alive and winning.

  10. It is an insult to monkeys to compare the rotten to the core animals that are running things now to them. They are sub-human and sub-simian. Monkeys would be a YUGE leap upward!

  11. that is a cogent observation . I have read history for 50 years now and that day in 1914 changed the world in unfathomable ways . The universal understanding of human society and eistance was uprooted , and nothing has grown in it’s place.

  12. Bull Shit. If the marxists had not succeeded that day they would have tried another day. Commies never give up. They are like cancer. Once established, they continue to grow and maim their host. They must all be routed out and killed.

  13. Adorno didn’t create alienation – he simply encouraged musical expression for alienated people. I mean, we’re not all Christian conservatives who enjoy retroculture… everyone finds some alienation, and some identification in this life. Deal with that yourself rather than blaming other people or lamenting an alternate history which didn’t occur, and was before your time anyways.

    [edit: I bet this comment alienates you – see.]

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