What’s happened in the West since Hamas terrorists’ savage Oct. 7 attacks on Israel has been an eye-opener for many.

Vast, pro-Hamas protests have become commonplace in our cities. In London, pro-Hamas protesters openly praised Hitler. In New York, anti-Israel mobs attacked and vandalized Grand Central Station and tore down American and Israeli flags near Columbus Circle.

It was reminiscent of when mobs burned American cities and toppled statues in 2020 with impunity.

But this madness hasn’t just been taking place in the streets.

Higher education has been rife with pro-Hamas sentiment and vicious antisemitism. Our educational elites apparently find more sympathy for the maniacal savages who murdered babies and violently raped women than the Founding Fathers of the United States.

Those who so relentlessly pluck at the moral failings of the great men of our past are remarkably quick to excuse outright evil in the here and now.

Many of these people have comfortably ensconced themselves in our most elite, culture-making institutions. 

How did it come to this?

Bari Weiss, a former opinion editor at The New York Times who was ousted by left-wing fanatics at the publication, delivered an important and passionate speech Friday to The Federalist Society on this problem.

Weiss, who is Jewish, titled the speech “You Are the Last Line of Defense,” and spoke about the surge in antisemitism on college campuses. 

She called the growth of antisemitism the “symptom of a much deeper crisis.” This explains why “educated people now respond to an act of savagery not with a defense of civilization, but with a defense of barbarism.”

Weiss explained how ideological attitudes that pervaded college campuses when she was a student 20 years ago—which appeared more absurd than dangerous to many at the time—directly led to the problems of today.

And here she gets to the heart of the matter. This is what the West’s new ethos, its new secular religion, has wrought:

It replaces basic ideas of good and evil with a new rubric: the powerless (good) and the powerful (bad). It replaced lots of things. Color blindness with race obsession. Ideas with identity. Debate with denunciation. Persuasion with public shaming. The rule of law with the fury of the mob. It seeks to upend the very ideas of right and wrong.


Our civilization is threatened with oblivion by an internal ideological cancer. That’s the crux of the culture war and the source of conflict in Western societies that’s become impossible to ignore—though many have and still try to.

The ideological cancer has metastasized.

What we are dealing with now is a generation of Jacobins, every bit as zealous and unreasonable as those who joined and led the Parisian mob in a cornucopia of hate and violence in the French Revolution.

Are some of these radicals, like the “queer Jews for Palestine,” ignorant? Certainly. But they know who and what their enemies are, and that gives them strength.

The radicals aim to turn traditional Western notions of justice on their head. This is why they continue to ruthlessly purge the symbols of old America, our history.

When they say statues offend them, what they really mean is that your beliefs and your existence offend them. They intend to pervert or eradicate everything you’ve known and cared for. To them, this is social justice.

No amount of pleading from college administrators or elders within the Democratic Party for temporary restraint is going to contain these radicals. Left-leaning millennials and Gen Z have spent a short lifetime drinking from the poisoned chalice of woke eliminationist rhetoric. They are deadly serious in following through.

And make no mistake, that’s fundamentally what the mobs and “racial reckoning” of 2020 were about too.

There’s a reason some Black Lives Matter organizations openly celebrate the Hamas raiders who swooped into Israel to rape, torture, and murder Jews. They “stand with Palestine” because they hate the “white” West and seek its destruction.

The alliance between Leftists and Islamists is nothing new. What’s new is that we now live in a society that has vanishingly few institutional antibodies to counter this anti-civilizational coalition.

The college-campus Left thrives by sewing together ethnic, racial, and religious hatreds with insipid liberal religious ceremonies like “land acknowledgments.”

The result is that our nation’s bastions of “tolerance” have become hives of hate. 

When you begin to take the Left’s logic on race and “decolonization” seriously, you end up with genocide and pogroms. Literally.

Do you think the people who shrug when the babies of “colonizers” are beheaded and murdered care if their political opponents are treated with equal justice under the law? No. In fact, equal justice and treatment under the law is actually a justification for “white supremacy” in their minds.

If you really want “equity” in society, this way of thinking goes, you must counter past discrimination with current discrimination.

Harvard has tried to solve its shameful antisemitism issue by insisting on creating even more diversity, equity, and inclusion programs to convince radical, pro-Hamas students that Jews aren’t quite white oppressors—so they should cool it with the whole genocidal “from the river to the sea” chants.

But antisemitism isn’t being produced by the remarkably philosemitic American folk, it’s pouring out of institutions most committed to the DEI racket.

You’ll find far more genuine opposition to antisemitism in a working-class neighborhood in Queens than on a college campus. And if you’re Jewish, you’re more likely to be targeted and killed by a college professor than a construction worker in modern America.

Maybe what our schools need isn’t DEI, it’s common decency.

What Weiss called for in her speech is a full-throated defense of Western civilization and the United States.

“There is no place like this country. And there is no second America to run to if this one fails,” she said.

That’s true. 

If America falls, the West falls.

But if we are to save America, we must both understand “what time it is” and be willing to defend what made this nation great to begin with.

It’s not just the material blessings that life in America brings. What we need to embrace and now rediscover is righteousness. That’s what’s slipping away from us.

When America was attacked on 9/11, our leaders shouldn’t have told us to go shopping. They should have told us to go to church or synagogue, to invest in what is good and true about our way of life. That’s what set us apart.

The fundamental challenge of our time is our crisis of meaning. Woke ideology has filled the void for many young Westerners, which is why we are in crisis.

Unless we rediscover our faith, unless we find a way to convince more Westerners that our civilization is good and worth saving, there will be no holding back the nihilistic black hole that eventually will consume us.

We can no longer afford to just stand athwart history yelling “stop.” History kept on rolling. We now have the great task of relearning and promoting what made our civilization great to begin with.

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