Why the Demise of the Encyclopedia Britannica Means the End of Western Civilization

by Martin CothranImaginative Conservative There was the Great Flood. There were the Ten Plagues of Egypt. There was the Fall of Rome. There was the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem and the Fall of Constantinople. And now this: The Encyclopedia Britannica is going out of print.

While the Simpsons just celebrated its 500th show, the world's greatest learned publication couldn't even make it to its 250th anniversary. Will the last person who even knows what Western civilization is please turn out the lights?

I submit that this is the most significant cultural event of the last fifty years. No. Make that a hundred. The New Dark Ages are upon us.

T. S. Eliot ended his poem, "The Hollow Men," with the words:

This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

The sing-song rhythm of the first three lines evokes a child's careless playground chant, as if Eliot meant to say that the end of the world would be attended with a general lack of awareness that anything significant was really happening--and that, when it did happen, it might go unremarked or even unnoticed.

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