Probably not, but you’ll notice “tolerance” in quotes. Tolerance, today, seems to mean that no one has a right to “judge” another culture or religion or ethnic group based on their actions or by their “prejudices” – you know, “white privilege” and all that. That we should all understand that each of these are “equally good”, just “different”.
Thus what happened in France today is just a “different” way of reacting to certain “stimulus”. We must “understand” what motivates these sorts of actions and …
Well, you can fill in the blank. Isn’t that the natural end to that sort of “tolerance?” Putting up with it?
The question is, have we seen enough of this sort of slaughter that we can bring ourselves, as civilizations, to say “that’s bad and NOT to be tolerated” and that all those who are a part of this should be exterminated from the face of the earth? Hmmm?
Well, you’d think so – or at least you’d think there’d be some sort of an attitude change in general. I’ll be interested to see how the French react. The same country that let “youths” burn 10,000 cars a few years ago over the same sort of nonsense. Props to the French for this time calling it what it is – terrorism. Islamist terrorism. At least they’re not trying to put the “workplace violence” tag that the political cowards here in the US draped on the Ft. Hood massacre by an Islamic extremist.
Meanwhile, even with the scope of the tragedy, there are those who would excuse the killers.
Via Hot Air, here is the Financial Times take on the situation:
Two years ago it published a 65-page strip cartoon book portraying the Prophet’s life. And this week it gave special coverage to Soumission (“Submission”), a new novel by Michel Houellebecq, the idiosyncratic author, which depicts France in the grip of an Islamic regime led by a Muslim president.
In other words, Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims. If the magazine stops just short of outright insults, it is nevertheless not the most convincing champion of the principle of freedom of speech. France is the land of Voltaire, but too often editorial foolishness has prevailed at Charlie Hebdo.
This is not in the slightest to condone the murderers, who must be caught and punished, or to suggest that freedom of expression should not extend to satirical portrayals of religion. It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo, and Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.
The other day I pointed out how feminists use the same tactics as the KKK. This, on the other hand, hits me as the same thing as those who excuse rape by saying, “you know, if you hadn’t have worn that, you probably wouldn’t have been raped”.
Always entertaining to catch this type of a critic in the usual pretzel logic that, in another form, they’re sure to condemn.
Freedom ain’t free – and it is messy and dangerous. More importantly, you have to fight for it. And the first step in doing so is being intolerant of anyone who would limit it or take it away – and that includes the murderer’s fellow travelers as well.
What’s old is new again.
What you need to focus on is the way the feminists would have you take any rape allegation made, without exception. That in the wake of any number of examples of false (Duke LaCross) and exaggerated stories (Dunham/UVa, etc.) and the propensity of certain institutions to ignore due process while having no qualms at all about forever branding the alleged perpetrator as a rapist for life. Facts are not necessary, just an accusation in many cases. No appeal. No place the accused can present evidence or demand evidence be presented (I’m talking particularly here about universities and the so-called rape epidemic that feminists are trying to allege is happening). If you’re accused, you’re condemned. the accuser’s narrative is inviolate (until it comes apart).
Automatic belief of rape accusations was a central principle of the KKK’s war on rape, too. This was one of the things that most shocked Ida B Wells, the early twentieth-century African-American journalist and civil-rights activist. ‘The word of the accuser is held to be true’, she said, which means that ‘the rule of law [is] reversed, and instead of proving the accused to be guilty, the [accused] must prove himself innocent’. Wells and others were startled by the level of belief in the accusers of black men, and by the damning of anyone who dared to question such accusations, which was taken as an attack on the accuser’s ‘virtue’. The great nineteenth-century African-American reformer Frederick Douglass was disturbedby the mob’s instant acceptance of accusations of rape against black men, where ‘the charge once fairly stated, no matter by whom or in what manner, whether well or ill-founded’, was automatically believed. Wells said she was praying that ‘the time may speedily come when no human being shall be condemned without due process of law’.
The author of this article goes on to say that at least no lynching is going on today. I disagree. There are all sorts of “lynchings” going on, they just don’t result in the death of the accused. But it certainly results in his reputation being lynched.
I can hear the feminists now – “how dare you compare us to the KKK”!?
I’m not. I’m comparing your tactics to those of the KKK. You can draw your own conclusions from there.
In this era of absolutely absurd stories there’s this … frankly, it should be an Onion story, but it’s not – it’s real:
Columbia University has allowed law school students who feel they suffered trauma from two high-profile grand jury decisions to postpone taking their final exams, the school’s interim dean Robert Scott wrote in a message to students this weekend.
“The law school has a policy and set of procedures for students who experience trauma during exam period,” reads Scott’s message, according to the blog PowerLine.
“In accordance with these procedures and policy, students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events may petition Dean Alice Rigas to have an examination rescheduled,” Scott continued, citing a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown in August as well as a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for using a chokehold which killed 43-year-old Eric Garner in July.
Both cases have sparked heavy protests, as both officers are white while both Brown and Garner are black.
“The grand juries’ determinations to return non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have shaken the faith of some in the integrity of the grand jury system and in the law more generally,” the message says.
“For some law students, particularly, though not only, students of color, this chain of events is all the more profound as it threatens to undermine a sense that the law is a fundamental pillar of society designed to protect fairness, due process and equality.”
Oh my goodness. This is just freakin’ sad. These little special snowflakes are traumatized by these events. So, Columbia makes concessions to them because they’ve set up a policy that likely pertains to family situations and that has been used to claim trauma in general. What’s next claims of PTSD? And what do you suppose the percentage of students allegedly traumatized vs. students who will claim anything to postpone an exam? Pwned.
Consider this though, what will the real world do when one of these duffuses claims trauma when he or she loses a law suit? Well certainly not this:
The school will be holding special sessions next week with trauma specialist Dr. Shirley Matthews, Scott announced. Several faculty members have also agreed to hold special office hours to discuss the implications of the grand juries’ decisions.
The school will set up a reading group, speaker series and teach-ins next semester to “formulate a response to the implications, including racial meanings, of these non-indictments.”
And here these folks thought the legal and judicial systems were perfect. How will they ever cope? In the real world they’d hear “suck it up, buttercup, and grow up!” But of course, academia has set itself up for years for stupidity like this … and now they have it.
Nauseating. Btw, if they’re this fragile make sure you don’t hire a Columbia law school grad for your lawyer. He or she will likely have to undergo trauma care if they take your case, and you’ll likely be billed for it.
As I watch this nonsense in Ferguson, I’m simply reminded of the daily fare of poor television that reality shows bring us. That’s all Ferguson is. Give a promise of fame, indulge self-importance, ignore facts and film. That’s the formula. It’s “good TV” and the media has been as complicit as anyone in the result. In fact, they’ve egged it on. Remove the spotlight and the interest wanes.
Instead we’ve seen a steady drumbeat of coverage, almost a countdown to the Grand Jury findings and, as usual, a trial by media.
The facts don’t matter. The findings of the Grand Jury have to be racist because the court of public opinion, sans few if any concrete facts, has already found the officer guilty. Does anyone even pretend to believe that if that crowd last night had been able to find officer Wilson that he wouldn’t have later been found hanging from a lamp post?
This, as with the Trayvon Martin case, is a media event. You only have to look at all the disparate groups who’ve camped out in Ferguson since the Brown killing to gather that. The usual groups have gone through some incredible contortions to make Brown’s death relevant to their cause. And, of course, with the media lights on, the usual suspects among the race baiters are there as well, preening and goading.
Are there grievances? I’m sure there are. But burning out your neighborhood isn’t the way to settle them. I’m still trying to figure out what Panera Bread did to deserve to be torched other than be in the wrong location. This is beyond “civil disobedience”. This is criminal destruction. And yet, when this is all said and done, the denizens of the neighborhood are going to demand these businesses build again. I know what my answer would be – “you made a desert, now live in it”.
Anyway, the bottom line here is I don’t take reality shows seriously. Nor should you.
All my life, racism has been defined as you see it below. It is a “belief” that your race is superior to other races based on nothing other than racial characteristics, such as skin color.
racism [ ˈrāˌsizəm ]
1. the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
2. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
Racism, then is displaying the “prejudice, discrimination or antagonism” to others of different races based on that “belief”. Makes sense. Simple. Direct to the point. Racists think they’re superior to other races because of the color of their skin.
However, as such, the definition is unacceptable to the left. For the left it fails in two particular areas. It means that, based on this definition, anyone can be a racist which means, then, it doesn’t allow them to identify and cultivate a victim class (or in this case, race) while excusing what they perceive as an oppressive race. Useless. The solution? Move the goal posts. Redefine the word so it has a more culturally useful meaning for the left. Too many people were pointing out that the definition was something that correctly identified all races as susceptible to racism. No good.
Enter academia. What better place to make this happen than by pitching an ideologically biased new definition to those impressionable students who walked their hallowed halls? Here, for instance, is how the University of Delaware defines racism:
A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.
Now the left has a useful definition. Now the oppressors are clearly identified as is the victim class. This allows them to “capture” the victim classes into their entitlement schemes. And, of course, when you load in the race baiters such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, a virtual cottage industry is created in which the discontent this sort of nonsense inspires is kept hot and fresh. With this definition, all whites are racists, have been forever and will be forever if the left has anything to do with it. This definition conveniently removes the expiration date from the definition and gives it a forever fresh date. With the first definition, it is obvious that it depended on a “belief” – a belief which could be changed. However with the second definition, that belief is relegated to irrelevancy and now, per the left, racism is only based on the color of one’s skin.
Ironic, isn’t it?
An interesting article I think you’ll want to read. At least I found it interesting. It discusses the foundations of Islam and why, essentially, it is really not a “religion of peace”. In fact, as the author argues, as much as the West would like the name of the religion, Islam, to mean “peace”, in fact it means “submit”. We’ve talked here before about the need of a reformation in Islam to reorient it away from violent jihad and to a religion that actually preaches and practices “peace”. The outlook isn’t very promising. Here’s one reason:
The Qur’an contains many peaceful and tolerant verses, and these could well be used to create a genuine reformation — something several genuine reformers have tried to do. But there is a catch. All these moderate verses were written in the early phase of Muhammad’s career, when he lived in Mecca and had apparently decided to allure people. When he moved to Medina in 622, everything changed. He was soon a religious, political and military leader. During the next ten years, as his religious overtures were sometimes not welcomed, the peaceful verses gave way to the jihad verses and the intolerant diatribes against Jews, Christians and pagans. Almost all books of tafsir take for granted that the later verses abrogate the early ones. This means that the verses preaching love for all are no longer applicable, except with regard to one’s fellow Muslims. The verses that teach jihad, submission and related doctrines still form the basis for the approach of many Muslims to non-believers.
One problem is that no one can change the Qur’an in any way. If the book contains the direct word of God, then the removal of even a tiny diacritical mark or a dot above or beneath a letter would be blasphemy of the most extreme kind. Any change would suggest that the text on earth did not match the tablet in heaven — the “Mother of the Book,” much as Mary is the Mother of Christ — that is the eternal original of the Qur’an. If one dot could be moved, perhaps others could be moved, and before long words could be substituted for other words. The Qur’an itself condemns Jews and Christians for having tampered with their own holy books, so that neither the Torah nor the Gospels may be regarded as the word of God. The Qur’an traps us by its sheer unchangeability.
And, as he points out, the most “modern” interpretation does anything but put Islam in a “moderate” context:
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur’an in a “moderate” manner. The most famous modern tafsir, or interpretation, of the holy book is a multi-volume work entitled, In the Shade of the Qur’an. It was written by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue often regarded as the father of modern radicalism. His interpretation leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
So that seems to be where we stand. Here, however, is the problem that confronts the West:
The besetting sin of modern Western politicians, church leaders, and multiculturalists is their ready acceptance of ignorance and their promotion of their own ignorance to the rank of expertise. Islam is one of the most important topics in human history, but how many schoolchildren are given details such as the ones mentioned above in their history classes? How many textbooks paint an honest picture of how Islam began and how it continued as a background to how it continues today?
Furthermore, how many real experts are denied contact with government and politicians so that lies are not made the basis for governmental decisions in the West? How many times will truth be sacrificed to fable while Muslim extremists bomb and shoot and behead their way to power?
These facts do not come from modern Western accounts; they are there in the founding texts of Islam, in the histories of al-Waqidi and al-Tabari. No-one is making any of this up. Muslims who avoid their own history should be brought face to face with it in all future discussions.
But, of course, that isn’t what is happening is it? We’re told over and over again that Islam is a religion of “peace” by those in the West who would rather believe that than confront the awful fact that its own founding documents portray anything but a peaceful religion — not to mention its history. For instance, were you aware that it is estimated that “between sixty and eighty million Hindus may have been put to death during the centuries of invasions by Muslim armies from 1000 to 1525.” That’s Stalin and Mao territory.
If you can’t or won’t deal truthfully with the problem, how can you ever expect to confront it successfully? When you remain in denial and you let the practitioners of the religion also deny the truth, how does one “reform” anything? And what does the continuous denial portend for the West in the not to distant future?
It is in that benighted land that irony, reason and hypocrisy are unknown concepts:
In California, Ventura High School Principal Val Wyatt barred the football booster club from selling meals donated by Chick-fil-A at back-to-school night to raise money. Wyatt cited company President Dan Cathy’s opposition to gay marriage as the reason for the ban. Superintendent Trudy Tuttle Arriaga backed up Wyatt. “We value inclusivity and diversity on our campus and all of our events and activities are going to adhere to our mission,” she said.
What could be more “inclusive” than allowing opinion that doesn’t agree with you to “coexist” without forcing everyone to suffer your biases because you have the power? I mean if you’re really, honestly and truly interested in “inclusiveness”. Oh, and what happened to tolerance, Arriaga and Wyatt? What could be more diverse than a community that welcomes all opinions as long as they don’t advocate violence or other forms of coercion? Is there something wrong with having a differing opinion about a subject based on principles that may be different than yours but are certainly shared by much of the mainstream (such as students at this school)? Apparently. Conformity with the opinion in power is the rule there it seems. The irony? This sort of action is blatantly exclusive and it makes a laughing stock of the word “diversity”. It says diverse opinion certainly isn’t welcome if it doesn’t conform with the people in power’s opinion.
Mouthing of platitudes doesn’t change that. Their “mission” has nothing to do with “inclusivity and diversity”. It has to do with ideology. A particular ideology. One that abuses the english language daily as well as our freedoms.
Large quote from Andy McCarthy. This is an important point that so many in the West simply refuse to acknowledge:
This point has been made so many times it should hardly be necessary to point out that Obama and Kerry, like Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton, and like many Bush-administration officials before them (including President Bush), are dead wrong when they deny the nexus between Islamic doctrine –– the literal scriptures –- and terrorism, decapitations, totalitarian government, repression of women, rabid anti-Semitism, the murder of homosexuals, and so on. Still, it would be a serious error merely to observe that they are wrong, snicker at their fecklessness, and move on.
There is a reason they are taking a position diametrically opposed to reality.
Obama and Kerry, like transnational progressives in both of our major political parties, believe there are “moderate Islamists” who are the key to stability in the Middle East. Now, the term “moderate Islamist” is contradictory: an Islamist wants government by sharia, Islam’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code. There is nothing moderate about sharia. Those who want it implemented are not “moderates” even if they don’t commit mass-murder to get their way. Sharia is also anti-liberty, anti-equality, and anti-Western. Therefore, we should oppose Islamism just as we oppose other freedom-killing ideologies. That doesn’t mean we need to go to war with all Islamists, but we should work to diminish their influence and we should never regard them as a solution to anything.
Notwithstanding their abhorrence of the West, “moderate Islamists” are regarded by Obama and Kerry as potential allies: people, groups, and, in the case of Turkey, for example, countries that we can work with to solve the problems plaguing the Middle East and overcome our own security challenges. It is thus critically important to Obama and Kerry for the public to believe that (a) all Islamists are not basically the same and (b) there is a sharp difference — a day-and-night difference — between “moderate Islamists” and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. If, instead, the public becomes convinced that all Islamists, violent or non-violent, adhere to essentially the same ideology, the administration’s goal of working with Islamic supremacists becomes politically untenable.
It is impossible to convince people that non-violent (or, at least, purportedly non-violent) Islamists are not representative of Islam. The administration tried that with its “largely secular” Muslim Brotherhood flyer . . . and has been embarrassed ever since by the howls of laughter. Most significant Islamist groups are rooted in or affiliated with the Brotherhood. Not only do these groups claim the mantle of Islam’s representative; our government concedes that status to them.
Because they refuse to acknowledge this they simply hold out a “solution” that doesn’t exist. So-called “moderate Islam” is only a ratcheted down version of the extremists. Perhaps “moderate Islam” doesn’t want to take part in killing you, but they’re not particularly upset that the extremist version is doing it for them. They may differ in the methods, but they’re not indifferent to the result – i.e. the world converting to Islam and the establishment of Sharia law. That is the ultimate goal of Islam. Weasel wording it doesn’t change that fact.
So how does one go about convincing “moderate Islam” to back off? Well one way to to recognize the threat, and the threat isn’t just limited to “extremists”. However, such recognition is antithetical to the tenets of the left’s multi-culturalism. Every culture is “worthwhile” and has “value”. Even those which justify the murder of non-believers and homosexuals, enslave and mutilate women, and essentially redefine misogyny. The very people who support this sort of “tolerance” would likely be its first victims.
Back to the question – how do we back off “moderate Islam?” Well this is going to sound exceedingly violent, but it is meant to be. You have to ruthlessly and completely wipe out the extremists. But instead, we seem to be contemplating a strategy of “managing” the threat. As Michael Totten notes:
The reason we must reject the tempting tendency to close our eyes and hope this problem goes away is that Allah doesn’t always sort things out according to American interests.
Life is filled with things we don’t want to do but have to do anyway. No one wants radiation or chemotherapy, but if you get cancer, you’re going to have to take it despite the fact that it might not work and that it will certainly feel like it’s killing you.
Let’s not kid ourselves. ISIS — or ISIL as the President calls it — is cancerous. And it is not a benign tumor. It is metastasizing and will not stop growing stronger and deadlier until it is dealt with aggressively and, at the absolute minimum, contained.
And only that sort of treatment will impress “moderate Islam” – period. Of course, that’s only step 1. Step 2 will be even more painful for the Western left. It is all about intolerance. That’s right, it’s about being intolerant of ideas, principles and cultural norms that attack and would eventually destroy Western culture as we know it. Islam is as intolerant of our Western culture is we should be of it’s culture. Just because some group of elitists on the left decided one day that all cultures are equal and valuable has now been shown to be simplistic pap. And unless Western civ is in the mood to commit suicide, it is going to have to make some very hard and intolerant decisions in the near future.
So if the West is to survive, it’s time to take a real “step 1″, not some half-measure that I am pretty sure is being contemplated as we speak.
Many violent jihadists who go on to join al-Qaeda and, now, the Islamic State (an offshoot of al-Qaeda) got their start in the Muslim Brotherhood. They seamlessly graduate from Brotherhood teaching to insatiable jihad because Brotherhood teaching lauds jihad. In fact, the transition happens because many of those who receive Brotherhood instruction become frustrated by the contradiction between the Brotherhood’s aim of a worldwide caliphate and endorsement of jihad to achieve it, on the one hand, and its counsel of patience in pursuing it, on the other.
It is precisely because Islamists share an ideology rooted in Islam, and what they see as a divinely mandated mission of conquest, that a Muslim can so predictably evolve from student to sharia adherent to “moderate Islamist” to not-so-moderate Islamist to terrorist. It happens frequently. And the common ideology rooted in Islam also explains why so many “moderate Islamists” financially and morally support violent jihadist organizations even if they don’t take up arms themselves.
Why? Because, as I said, the “moderates” are not at all indifferent to the outcome brought about by the extremists. And until we wrap our heads around that and do what is necessary to actually and finally address the real threat we face, it’s not going to get any better and could easily get much worse. It isn’t about extremists and moderates, it’s about a toxic culture/religion that was recognized as such by the West centuries ago as a threat. As for the present, there’s very little difference between “moderate” and “extremists” with regard to the final outcome they seek:
The Islamic State has presumed to declare a caliphate. Al-Qaeda franchises think that is hasty — especially since someone else is running the caliphate — and would proceed more gradually, setting up emirates and hoping for more consensus among Islamists. Both organizations want to confront the West only violently; the Muslim Brotherhood, on the contrary, teaches that, while violent jihad has its place (see Hamas), it is valid to negotiate with the West, to infiltrate the West’s institutions, and to achieve whatever conquest can be achieved without violence.
In a piece that hits some pretty important points, Victor Davis Hanson concludes:
In truth, the world has dropped its vigilance since 9/11; Western populations are exhausted by economic hard times and acrimony over the wars in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan. The charge of Islamaphobia means that Western societies have trouble confronting radical Islamists in their midst, like Major Hasan, the Tsarnaev Boston Marathon bombers, and throngs of virulently anti-Semitic Muslim immigrants in Europe. The United Nations is about as useful as was the League of Nations during the rise of fascism. As in the case of the rise of the Nazis, we naively write off the savagery of ISIS as having no place in our century, as if brutality is always premodern rather than enhanced by postmodern technology. Neo-isolationism and appeasement have swept the West and have eroded the national will to confront radical Islam in the manner of the last 1930s—with all the familiar scapegoating of the Jews and “war-mongers.”
Make sure to read the whole thing.
Meanwhile, right here at QandO we’ve had to suffer through the brainless rantings of those who claim that such brutality has no place in this century. Of course and as usual, reality bitch slaps that nonsense to death. Quite simply, brutality and inhumanity have never confined themselves to man-made centuries and any thinking person would know that. Actually any person with the IQ of a persimmon knows that.
However, we’re caught in a postmodern web of our own making – spun by such concepts as “multi-culturalism” and its hand-maidens, “political correctness” and the grievance industry. The left has done a fine job in helping us handcuff ourselves at a crucial time in our history. We’re now afraid to confront that which is a threat to our existence for fear of … what? Offending the gods of multi-culturalism who dictate that all cultures are of value and equal? Of being politically incorrect when we correctly identify the threat as an extremist form of a religious death cult? My goodness, we might be called “Islamaphobes”. Of not being “tolerant”. Well I’m not tolerant of ignorant religious zealots who have declared their intention to kill me and my kind. Live with it.
Nor am I tolerant of those who would cosset them, excuse them or otherwise play down who and what they are. Instead they need to be exterminated, just like any infestation of vermin you might discover that threatens your life.
Minor rant aside, Hanson’s point is important. The threat is new in name only and the West is acting just as it did when its own home-grown version in Germany began its horrific rise. However there’s a huge difference, at least as I see it. The Nazis didn’t infiltrate other cultures before they attempted their conquest. This insidious enemy has. As Hanson points out Europe has allowed “throngs of virulently anti-Semitic Muslim immigrants” and has, in many places, all but lost control.
So what does that portend, and how does the West address it … if it will address it? Meanwhile, in the US, we have no idea of who or what what the throngs of illegal immigrants bring to this country. Our government refuses to enforce our immigration laws or secure our borders. Because? Because borders, apparently, have no place in the 21st century … or something.
The threat is real as is the seeming choice of the West to repeat the mistakes of the 20th century. All in the name of a failed ideology and an unwillingness to deal with reality in a way which ensures both the safety and survival of its citizens.
The West’s actions might “offend” somebody, and we know that is the worst offense known to man in this day and age, isn’t it?
In the comments to my previous post, “The Shark” writes:
What is civilization? Sanitation, clean water, viable infrastructure, decent standard of living? England has all that yet I don’t think it qualifies as civilization anymore. Watch it burn? No need, it’s decaying not-so-slowly.
The thing is that “sanitation, clean water, viable infrastructure, decent standard of living” and other amenities are not the characteristics of civilization. They are merely the products of it. They are what results from civilization, i.e., a standard of law, culture, science, and domestic peace that allows “sanitation, clean water, viable infrastructure, decent standard of living” and other amenities to be built.
Once a civilization has built these amenities, they have a physical capacity that everyone can use long after the civilization itself collapses. The men of the Middle Ages couldn’t build the Roman roads–in fact, they literally had no idea how the Romans had built them–but they still used them. So the question is not whether you still have the infrastructure amenities built by your predecessors, but whether your civilization is still improving on them and building new ones.
For instance, forty years ago, the United States sent 2 men to the surface of the moon every eight months or so from 1969 to 1972. In the space of a single decade, we went from having no manned space capability at all, to having multiple manned lunar landings. Forty years later, we don’t have a vehicle capable of sending a single American into earth orbit. We have the same manned space capability now that we had in 1960, 54 years ago.
Think about that for a minute, and what implications for our civilization we can draw from that decline.