Viswalingam is a former SBS TV presenter whose credits include Fork in the Road and Class. Having devoted a career to analysing culture and society, he says the symptoms of decay and decadence are unmistakeable.
Those symptoms include soaring suicide rates and the west's addiction to anti-depressants. They include rampant individualism, emptying churches and disintegrating families. And they include the west's obsessive devotion to money as the only true measure of worth.
The good thing about this is that Viswalingam is asking the right questions. He is concerned about what holds a society together and what allows it to continue as a tradition into the future. Liberals are relatively indifferent to this. They don't identify much with communal traditions and are more likely to worry about meeting the political aims of liberalism itself.
So a liberal might think of the West as progressing because it is becoming, say, more multicultural (i.e. more liberal), even whilst someone like Viswalingam sees signs of decadence that threaten the future of the West.
What's interesting is that we seem to have reached a point at which some intellectuals are beginning to look outside of the liberal framework and recognise that it's not just a question of progress toward liberalism. I've noticed that even in solidly liberal papers like the Melbourne Age, that the rise of China has started to focus some minds on the possibility of Western decline.
Some of the reviews of Viswalingam's film have also been surprisingly positive. The review in the Melbourne Age was even titled "Society is past its use by date" and included the following quote from Alexander McCall Smith:
"People have been talking about the 'broken society' for some time now," Smith wrote in a complementary article. "[The British] riots demonstrated just how broken. The broken society is a consequence partly of social change and cultural change.
"The social change is familiar: the destruction of the family as the fundamental social unit would be fine if we had replaced it with something. We have not. [And] it’s a culture in which we seem to have abandoned many of the values on which we based our civilisation.
"We don’t know what we believe in and are busy bringing up children who share our confusion ... We have created a strange culture perpetuated by television and other media that rejoices in and celebrates dysfunction, violence and anti-social behaviour."
It's even significant that Viswalingam pinpoints 1969 as the turning point. I think he's wrong here - the problems go back much further than 1969. But the fact that Western intellectuals are starting to talk about the 1960s as a source of decline shows how things can change. The 1960s were once held up by the left as a golden age of political radicalism.
And that's an important lesson to draw from this. There are some people who are sympathetic to traditionalism but who are too defeatist. They believe that things will just go on as before with a rock solid liberal orthodoxy. It discourages them from a more active participation in a traditionalist movement.
But politics can change. It's possible that there will be more favourable conditions for us to build a movement and to argue our politics amongst the intellectual/political class. We need to keep trying to push ourselves forward.
Finally, although many of the talking heads in the film come from the left, I was pleased to see that Professor John Carroll also has a role. He is the writer of "Humanism: The Wreck of Western Culture" - one of the best of the recent books that could broadly be described as traditionalist.
So we have a major documentary film which actually has a traditionalist-leaning academic featured in it. That is not a common occurrence in the Australian film industry. It's enough to make me want to find time to go and see the film in the cinemas.