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“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little safety, deserve neither and will lose both” — Ben Franklin

MOSCOW – Despite the stubborn March cold, heroic young ladies in the Russian capital have already shortened (one might say improved) their skirts by at least 15 centimeters. Surely this should give us all confidence to carry on, even as the pillars of western civilization melt away like the last winter frost. What on earth happened, anyway?

German state media reports that benevolent lockdowns have been imposed across the country, even while conceding that Germans have been extremely well-behaved – the alleged precondition for avoiding the indefinite suspension of basic privileges enjoyed even by their feudal ancestors. Of course, there were still a handful of outrageous acts of insubordination. Bavarian police dutifully sniffed out “isolated incidents of violations” such as “five youths celebrating a birthday party at a construction site”, and – prepare yourself – “a group of three people drinking around a bonfire.” These existential dangers to the German Volk were given “warnings” – for now.

In France you need to print out a certificate from a government website to even show your face in public. Failure to produce the necessary documents permitting you to go outside results in a hefty fine. For now. Being homeless won’t exempt you from this decree, either. Because why should it?

Testimonials from family and friends in the United States – many of them healthy young people terrified of imminent death – have convinced us that it would be unsportsmanlike to finish this sentence candidly.

Fear and mindless acquiescence has gripped the western world, and there’s simply no going back. Cultural, political, spiritual and economic suicide are all around the corner. Maybe even a fun little war.

(The Netherlands might be a notable exception in all this, but would you rather live in Mad Max Massachusetts or Holland? That’s a coin flip.)

We will not bore you with the well-established realities of the COVID-19 “pandemic”: That according to the best available evidence, 99% of cases are minor and require no serious medical treatment of any kind. Or the criminally under-reported fact that an overwhelming percentage of coronavirus-attributed deaths occur in elderly people who were already suffering from non-trivial health issues, or that many of these reported deaths are likely not even due to the virus. Even the BBC had to quietly admit that many coronavirus victims – infirm old people – would have probably died anyway. That’s what infirm old people do best, after all.

Similarly, we can hardly be bothered to relay the huge number of fatalities, from an impressive range of seemingly benign ailments, which occur each and every year like clockwork. Did you know that 1.2 million children die annually from diarrhea? They’re brown or black and definitely poor, of course.

There is simply no need for rational, data-driven analysis at this point. That ship has already sailed. Bon voyage, any semblance of reason. Just make sure you have your documents ready, in case you get boarded by the French coast guard.

Myopic observers might conclude that western civilization was brought to its knees because in our current age of unapologetic self-pity and collective victimhood, it suddenly became really hip to identify as an Italian octogenarian, or a bloated American diabetic. This take is far too sympathetic, even if probably true.

The regrettable truth is that western civilization – please understand we’re using this term in the most general and generous way possible – was dead-on-arrival when COVID-19 came knocking. Europeans and their hapless American offspring are bored, entirely without hope and completely exhausted. You could squeeze all 320 million Americans like lemons and you’d be lucky to find yourself with a shot glass-worth of confidence or vitality. Centuries of artistic and scientific triumphs have been almost entirely erased by modern Europe’s bureaucrat-driven stagnation and apathy – no small accomplishment, all sarcasm aside.

There is bankruptcy at every level. Nothing solid is left to fall back on. Apparently some of you are not even entirely sure if you are male or female. This is not exactly a recipe for longevity, we’re very sorry to say.

Predicting what comes next is easy – just try to imagine the worst possible scenario. Now multiple that by a factor of ten. Your outlook is still too rosy, but optimism is only human.

We understand that some might be in partial agreement with us but still might find this internet article to be an irresponsible over-exaggeration. Allow us a closing thought.

In his timeless television series ‘Civilisation’, the badly-missed Sir Kenneth Clark meditated on how seemingly indestructible societies fall into ruin and vanish from the earth:

However complex and solid it seems, civilization is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed. What are its enemies? First of all, fear. Fear of war, fear of invasion, fear of plague. And fear of the supernatural, which means that you don’t question anything or change anything. The late antique world was full of meaningless rituals, mystery religions that destroyed self-confidence. And then, boredom. The feeling of hopelessness, which can overtake people with a high degree of material prosperity.

Clark summed up: “It’s lack of confidence, more than anything else, which destroys a civilization.”

See you on the other side.

Edward Slavsquat is an American in self-exile in Russia who sometimes writes things on the internet