How the Cold War destroyed the West | Jacob Barden

The title may appear almost comical in its summation of the Cold War, because as everybody knows – Western ideals were victorious, and the evils of communism were quashed once and for all. However, I would argue that this presented the death of our ideals, both traditionally and economically.

The Cold War can be summed up quite simply as a cultural battle between “liberty” and “authority”, with the West fighting to promote the ideas of unopposed individualist liberties and the Communist East fighting to promote their own ideas of collectivist responsibility, and whilst I could never argue against individual liberty, our fixation on it has cost us dearly.

Our family-centred values were replaced with the fast paced and individualist lifestyles that western capitalism adored, where everyone was free to work, and by God everyone must work. By stripping couples of their ability to earn a living on a single person’s wage (be that a father or a mother), the want for children and a family decreased. The new status quo post-cold war enabled corporations to exploit the working class and the influx of new workers by driving down wages and increasing housing prices, meaning that newlyweds and long-time married couples found the prospect of children to be too time consuming and a barrier to their career goals. For those who did have children, the ability to raise them became less and less the responsibility of the families and more so the schools and the television.

Laissez-faire capitalism led to the outsourcing of cheap labour to nations thousands of miles away, stripping the earnings of the mining towns and factories from their hands, and leaving many cities in the United Kingdom in particular economically ruined to this day. I live in Salford, an area hit hardest by Thatcherist policies in the 70s and 80s, which led to the moving of factories, mills and mines, and leaving a once bustling and lively city into a post-industrial wasteland. Small businesses were decimated by transnational globalist corporations who could outproduce them, sell cheaper, and earn more.

Looking back on the fruits of the Cold War, I can safely surmise that nobody truly won. Sure, our GDPs are higher, and the price of bread is cheaper; but we now shun stay-at-home parents, we mock Western religious values and our national cultures have been replaced with corporation worshipping consumerism.

Photo by James Vaughan on Flickr.

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