The most important question of the coming year is not “who will be the next occupant of the White House?” The single most important matter before us all is a monumental question of value. It is a question that may be stated, “Will the Western world embrace the very thing that holds it together. Or will it continue the denial of the obvious and seal its inevitable decline?” Let me explain.

In historiography — the study of history — professional historians are often torn between what is called “lower history” and “higher history.” Higher history aims to chronicle the past through grand events such as “kings and queens” and wars and treaties. Lower history, however, traces the record of mankind through often unseen events, underlying popular, philosophies and, often, obvious facts. Thinking about lower history, British historian, Dr. Niall Ferguson, has drawn our attention to a lower historical fact that, as he proposes in his latest and most exceptional (if not unsettling) work, Civilization: The West and the Rest (Penguin Press, 2011).

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