July 7, 2017

Some of the critics of Trump's Warsaw speech reject the idea of the greatness of Western Civilization.

"[A]mazingly enough, they find the West itself an offensive and exclusionary concept. Th[is] critique speaks to how the mantra 'Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western civ has got to go' is no longer just the creed of fringe activists, but is seeping into the mainstream. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post worries that Trump’s speech invites civilizational conflict. Really? Trump just had a successful trip to Saudi Arabia, where presumably it isn’t news that the West is vested in Western values. Peter Beinart of the Atlantic objects that 'the West' is allegedly 'a racial and religious term.' This is bizarre, given that countries everywhere can 'Westernize,' or adopt the norms and practices that were first adopted in the West and are uniquely suited to human flourishing. Trump warned in his speech of fighting for centuries to maintain our freedom, only to lose it to 'a lack of pride and confidence in our values.' The unhinged reaction to his address... shows how this, alas, is not an idle worry."

Writes Rich Lowry at The National Review.

Do you remember the original "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western civ has got to go"? It happened at Stanford:
By the mid-1980s, increasing dissatisfaction with the introductory humanities program known as “Western Culture” that had begun in 1980 came to the fore. The program was criticized for its lack of diversity and its predominantly Eurocentric readings. Students advocated for a curriculum that included ethnic minority and women authors. On January 15, 1987, as many as 500 students, along with the Reverend Jesse Jackson, rallied down Palm Drive chanting, "Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go." The curriculum debate drew national attention, and in 1989 Western Culture was formally replaced with the Cultures, Ideas, & Values (CIV) program that included more inclusive works on race, class, and gender.
And here's an article from last year in The Daily Beast, "Stanford Students Want Western Civilization Studies Back as the PC Backlash Begins":
At Stanford, a backlash against this censorious student culture is taking shape in the form of a petition to reinstate the university’s Western Civilization curriculum. In the next two days, students will vote on a referendum proposed by the Stanford Review, an undergraduate political magazine, urging the Stanford’s Faculty Senate to require a two-quarter course for freshman “covering the politics, history, philosophy, and culture of the Western world.”...
The referendum failed, though, by a vote of 1992 to 342.

190 comments:

Francisco D said...

Western Civ sucks, according to people who benefitted most from the economic and political liberalism of Western Civilization.

There was a point in time when people would be shocked by that observation. Not any more.

Quaestor said...

Just more ammo for the Re-Elect Trump Campaign.

Seeing Red said...

All they have to answer is 2 questions, which culture/civilization would you prefer to live under and why?

Then I suggest they move there. If I was obscenely wealthy, I'd actually pay for them to renounce their citizenship permanently and pay all their expenses and deposit some cash in their account.

Just like the commies, pontificate on the wonders, but stayed in the US.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Listening to a small bit on Hugh Hewitt in the car today.

Hewitt asked John Dickson - 'Why won't the media hear Trump, is it because they are so busy hating him?'

Dickerson baba ba ba blubbered and fumbled until he landed on "It's Trump's fault."

Peter Beinart beclowned himself, hearing nothing but **racism and **Christianist **white **nationalism, instead of pride in our freedom and our culture (which is not allowed inside the self-loathing left)

tim maguire said...

Both sides have plenty of wackos, but the right keeps its wackos on the fringe. The left puts its wackos in charge.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

(Dickerson)

Unknown said...

the perfect is the enemy of the good. These clever people have figured out that the West is imperfect, and thus must be destroyed. Of course western civ is the worst ever, except for all the others. Let them move to Venezuela (oh, I know, just bad luck) or some dictatorship and see how they like it. They really seem to idolize communism, as if no books exist showing what happened each.and.every.time.

Original Mike said...

""[A]mazingly enough, they find the West itself an offensive and exclusionary concept."

The word "traitor" comes to mind.

Bay Area Guy said...

Peter Beinart's critique of Trump's speech was so painfully weak, so pitiful, and so pathetic that it truly exposed him as a pure pajama boy. I once thought he was an honorable liberal, but no more.

The most shocking sentence in Trump’s speech—perhaps the most shocking sentence in any presidential speech delivered on foreign soil in my lifetime—was his claim that “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.” On its face, that’s absurd. Jihadist terrorists can kill people in the West, but unlike Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, they cannot topple even the weakest European government. Jihadists control no great armies. Their ideologies have limited appeal even among the Muslims they target with their propaganda. ISIS has all but lost Mosul and could lose Raqqa later this year.

Balderdash, I say.

There are two ways to kill a country: (1) invasion from a foreign country and (2) internal rot.

It's like a house. You can destroy it by a wrecking ball or by dry rot and termites.

Western Europe has mostly solved the problem of external wars. France won't be invading Germany (or vice-versa) anytime soon. Good job, Brussels.

But, Western Europe, has also pretty much abandoned its Judeo-Christian roots and much of its capitalism. It is a continent of multi-cultural, bi-sexual, socialists who don't work much.

So, in Sweden and England , Muslims come over, plant roots, get on welfare, build their own separate communities, and sometimes rape the European women.

We, here in America, don't want this to happen. We want immigration to be limited. We are big fans of assimilation, but not big fans of illegal immigrants voting for Dems in California.

Hey, Peter, it's not about race, it's about culture, you doofus.

Big Mike said...

If you don't like living in the West, by all means go live somewhere more felicitous. If your plan is to change the West, what do you plan to change it into, and why do you think the result will be more to your elitist taste than what we have now?

YoungHegelian said...

@Seeing Red,

All they have to answer is 2 questions, which culture/civilization would you prefer to live under and why?

There is no previous or existing civilization they prefer to live under. What they want is to create the New Soviet Man. They want a world create ab initio, according to their ideological wishes.

It terrifies me how much of what I see now I read about in Soviet history. The Left has been through this before, & the results weren't pretty. But, part of that starting from the Year Zero nonsense is that the Left thinks itself outside of history, so they think that they have no relation to what has happened before in their name.

Those who seek to create Heaven on earth only succeed in creating Hell.

Gahrie said...

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post worries that Trump’s speech invites civilizational conflict.

Somebody needs to give Eugene a history book. The Islamic Civilization and Western Civilization have been at war for the last 1,400 years. The reaction of the Western "elites" to this is denial. Islam knows it is at war with us.

It's very similar to the Korea problem. The Korean war never ended, yet we in the West pretend that it has. North Korea on the other hand is quite open about the fact that for them the war is very much current.

YoungHegelian said...

And, by the way, my wife heard this same anti Western Civilization theme out of a reporter's mouth on NPR. She thought it was a shout-out to the Alt-Right.

Every day that passes convinces me more & more that sort of an age related malady or physical harm, we're gonna see eight years of Trump. As his opponents in their rage show their true colors, you can't help but think that the man, jerk that he may be, sure as hell can make the right enemies.

traditionalguy said...

The Western Civilization we practice is not the Good old Priesthood supported elites submitting to Monarchs, Caesars and Tzars who rule using a hierarchy of Aristocrats who in turn despise the other 90% of humanity as semi human slaves they expect to serve them and be killed for sport.

And the fake idealist Marxists are actually the most elite system of slavery ever devised. And they occupy our Universities and brain wash our upper classes.

A really good written approach to the Western Civ that we practice is in Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking Peoples. Winston would enjoy Trump's career so much.

readering said...

The odd thing about the use of "The West" in the speech is that it was most vividly evoked in connection with Polish resistance to Germany in the Second World War (Germany lying to the west of Poland) and in connection with Polish purchases of Patriot missile defense system, which is seen as a bulwark against Russia, which lies to the east but which is otherwise generally seen today as a Western nation. Any references to threats from non-western powers were decidedly oblique and faint. Maybe because those threats are not perceived as very great in Warsaw.

Darrell said...


Fuck the Left. And everyone who doesn't think it's the greatest non-domestic Presidential speech in history.

Darrell said...

The future must not belong to anyone who insults The Prophet?
Fuck You! Stay out of my country.

Gahrie said...

Western Civilization is almost totally responsible for our modern world. It has brought about wealth and raised the worldwide standard of living in ways unimaginable even a single lifetime ago.

Cultural appropriation? Every society, culture and nation on Earth has appropriated from Western Civilization. Why? Because it works better than everything else.

But just as a fish takes water for granted, our "elites" take Western Civilization for granted. To be fair, much of this is due to simple ignorance.

Gahrie said...

Maybe because those threats are not perceived as very great in Warsaw.

Which is why the Poles refuse to allow Muslim migrants into their country despite the demands of the EU...right?

Virgil Hilts said...

Jonah also had a similar essay today that I thought was great.
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449274/historical-literacy-lacking-america-ignorance-political-polarization
The readers at Instapundit trashed it, but that's a problem with the site - the comments are rarely worth reading any more.

readering said...

Me I'm more interested in getting to the bottom of when homo sapiens started breeding with homo neanderthalensis. Was it really as long ago as the latest aging techniques are suggesting?

rcocean said...

I actually liked Jesse Jackson when he ran for president in 1984. I thought he was for the "the little guy".

'course, I was young and didn't know much about him.

The Stanford thing shocked me. I've never liked him since.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Hey, Peter, it's not about race, it's about culture, you doofus.

7/7/17, 5:44 PM

The people who are the quickest to scream "racist!" are incapable of seeing anything but race.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I can understand why readering would rather change the subject.

Bay Area Guy said...

I thought Trump's speech in Poland was magnificent. Poland, more than any other European country, has experienced the twin evils of Nazism and Communism. America may have its flaws, but compared to those two past evils and potential future evils of Sharia Law and/or Venezuela-type socialism, America looks pretty damn good.

I'm pro-Western Civilization. Those who are uncomfortable with Trump's speech are totally lost.

Darrell said...

This is why Trump Tweets. It's the only time his actual words reach Americans' ears.

Gahrie said...

Me I'm more interested in getting to the bottom of when homo sapiens started breeding with homo neanderthalensis. Was it really as long ago as the latest aging techniques are suggesting?

There are some really interesting ideas being thrown around in the field of man's migration out of africa, and his inbreeding with other hominids. I believe the best theory now is that several different wave of sapiens left Africa and interbred with neanderthal before the neanderthal disappeared. Some of these sapiens/neanderthal hybrids moved east, and interbred with another hominid (densovians?).

rcocean said...

The key moment for me was when Yale rejected a $20 million grant from Billionaire Bass for "western civilization studies".

They didn't want money to study western civilization.

Its hilarious when you realize that Buckley wrote "God and Man at Yale" in 1950, upset that Yale wasn't teaching Christianity and Conservatism, and all the liberals protested that Buckley had gotten it all wrong.

44 years later and Yale was telling Western Civilization to fuck off.

Never trust a liberal.

David Begley said...

Trump's critics can go pound sand. Better yet, move to Pakistan.

rcocean said...

Of course, its only Peter Beinart.

This is the guy who told Jonah Goldberg that "Jews don't have dogs".

And not as a joke.

Otto said...

University officials and faculty have a long history, dating back to 1968, of being gutless human beings. They sh*t in their pants when physical confrontation evolves.

Bay Area Guy said...

Plato, Cicero, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante, Cervantes, Bach, Mozart, Copernicus, Lincoln, Churchill, Reagan -- that's a whole lotta Western Civilization for ya.

Edmund said...

@Darrell wrote: And everyone who doesn't think it's the greatest non-domestic Presidential speech in history,

Sorry, the pair of "Ich bin ein Berliner" and "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" surpass it.

Dave from Minnesota said...

I'll say it. Most of modern civilization that everyone loves was created by western white Christians and Jews.

Not everything great in the world came from this society, but so much has.

Michael said...

"Stand, men of the West! The hour of Doom is at hand."

Dave from Minnesota said...

the perfect is the enemy of the good. These clever people have figured out that the West is imperfect, and thus must be destroyed.

Hence the war on Columbus.

Darrell said...

Kennedy, no. The rest of the speech was mediocre. Reagan, close. I still think Trump's was better in its totality.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Where'd we be without devout Catholic Mozart, devout Lutheran Bach, and nominal Catholic Beethoven?

sean said...

Prof. Althouse, with her usual gift for avoidance of uncomfortable truths, blames Stanford students, but neglects to mention that the overwhelming majority of her faculty colleagues at Wisconsin despise Western civilization, and that she never in her professional career had the courage to confront them. She was, however, very brave in pointing out how libertarians are just closet racists.

Drago said...

Western Civ is just a bunch of Dead White European Males (not really, as all of early Christianity was led by converted Jews, North Africans and the folks from around modern day central and coastal Turkey).

Whats astonishing is how effective the leftists have been convincing several generations in a row that general human condition kind of stuff is really all the fault of the west, whites and Christians.

Dangerously large percentages of college students actually believe slavery was invented by whites and the west. Some even believe that slavery was invented by the US and its precursor colonies.

But then, if you are going to rebuild society as the leftists want to do, you have to lay the predicate for why the necessary complete destruction of current society is warranted. And lets face it, the lefties aren't shy about putting forth the monstrous lies necessary to achieve that.

readering said...

'The key moment for me was when Yale rejected a $20 million grant from Billionaire Bass for "western civilization studies".'

Actually at the time that gift was offered Yale already had such a program (and still does).It's called Directed Studies. http://directedstudies.yale.edu/

So Yale was grappling with how to integrate the Bass proposal at a time when it was undergoing upheaval with short-term presidencies (Schmidt-Lamar) Then when Levin became president, he did not make settling the gift an urgent priority because, as he later confessed, he took the Bass family's patience for granted given their leadership role at the university. But he admitted that the screw-up was one of the biggest mistakes of his (very successful) presidency.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Dangerously large percentages of college students actually believe slavery was invented by whites and the west. Some even believe that slavery was invented by the US and its precursor colonies.

I respect a committed intelligent KNOWLEDGEABLE lefty. Someone who just sees the world differently than me. But I HATE ignorant people. Do you know how many liberals out there don't believe that Bill Clinton was for strong border enforcement? That he enthusiastically signed in the religious freedom act. Or even the Hillary and Obama were anti-gay marriage a decade after Trump said he was cool with it.

Bay Area Guy said...

Kennedy's Ich Bin ein Berliner speech was a monster speech.

There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.

There was an old saying that if you control Germany, you control Europe -- and if you control Berlin, you control Germany.

After WWII, West Berlin was an outpost of freedom in a desolate sea of misery.

The Commies wanted nothing more than to invade West Berlin. They built that damnable wall to keep East Germans from the leaving the "worker's paradise" for freedom in the west.

We beat the Commies. Now, we face twin adversaries: Radical Islam from without, leftist rot from within.

Trump is on the right side of this struggle.

buwaya said...

Beinart is of course an idiot.
And as noted above, Western Civ, in its foundational sense, is being chased out of universities. It is being replaced by nothing.

Lets take UCLA and Cervantes. One would think that Cervantes, being rather ... influential in Spanish lit, ubiquitous and foundational in even Latin American literature - see Borges, et al - but in UCLA there is only one class offered, only occasionally, and not in Spanish.

Paco Wové said...

Even Rod Dreher managed to wax eloquent on this subject:

Yes, They Really Do Despise Their Civilization

rcocean said...

Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I'm sure Yale had its *Public* excuses - but bottom line. I don't think they rejected it because they didn't need any more studies of western civilization. Which they weren't really studying anyway.

BTW, one thing I've noticed in the last 20 years is the total decline in good history books - I'm not talking about texbooks - from College professors. Either the current ones are are too stupid or too left wing but they rarely write anything that a normal person wants to read. Instead, journalists have taken over. Too bad, because the best written history books of the 40s and 50s were written by college professors.

buwaya said...

"But he admitted that the screw-up was one of the biggest mistakes of his (very successful) presidency."

Transparent excuses.

Sebastian said...

"created by western white Christians and Jews" And what's worse: men.

Of course, they also argued about a bunch of stuff, and occasionally killed each other over it. Western civ is great but not nice.

Anyway, sounds like the critics are confirming Trump's point.

rcocean said...

"Even Rod Dreher managed to wax eloquent on this subject:"

Yeah, when you got a cuck like Rod upset about it, you've really hit a nerve. Of course, he couldn't resist attacking Trump in his article.

Fernandinande said...

countries everywhere can 'Westernize,'

The ability to emulate civilization depends on the existing population, and many countries can't so it.

rhhardin said...

Natural law is an event of Western culture. As a rational discipline, it can spread anywhere that wants to adopt it.

See Levinas, "The Rights of Man and the Rights of the Other."

Angel-Dyne said...

Young Hegelian: It terrifies me how much of what I see now I read about in Soviet history.

Intelligent lefties have read Soviet history, too. And apparently it's all gone whooooosh, right over their heads.

That's the truly gobsmacking thing.

It's one thing when illiterate twitterati think 1984 is about guys like Trump. But the ever more inane ramblings of intelligent, educated lefties indicate that their understanding of things isn't much sharper than that.

jimbino said...

The following report of an interview with Mohandas Gandhi may well be spurious, but funny nevertheless:

Interviewer: Mr. Gandhi, what do you think about Western civilization?
Gandhi: I think it would be a good idea.
—Quoted by Luigi Barzini

wild chicken said...

Schools offered a course called "Western Culture"? I know culture is an old term but that usage seems inapt for those times.

I thought it was almost always called Western Civilization.

And I have known since I was 12 that I loved western civ.

Fabi said...

Where would the world be without Western civilization?

Luke Lea said...

My alma mater, Reed College, is reconsidering its humanities program which traditionally has been the centerpiece of its curriculum: https://goo.gl/ez6GZZ

What's next? U. of Chicago? Columbia?

buwaya said...

UCLA Department of Classics - faculty

http://classics.ucla.edu/faculty/

These are it, to cover what used to be the main subject of traditional elite education, Latin, Greek, and their literatures. These alone, for 45,000 students, in one of the two top campuses of the public university system of the largest state in the union.

And many of these are part-time multi-subject teachers.

Sebastian said...

"the total decline in good history books" I'm not sure how you'd measure "total decline," but outstanding works of history, very accessible to the "general reader," based on incredible scholarship, appear frequently. I am on Reformations by Carlos Eire -- who teaches at . . . Yale!

rcocean said...

"Dangerously large percentages of college students actually believe slavery was invented by whites and the west."

Yeah, I feel like I'm really a "student of history" aka a guy of time on his hands, and I didn't know how widespread slavery was in the rest of the world.

How many people know that the Barbary pirates took almost a million Europeans into captivity from 1530-1830? How many people know that the Muslim tartars "the golden horde" in Crimea went on raids and took millions of Russians/Ukrainians into slavery from 1400-1700? How many people know the Ottoman turks would take Christians from the Balkans and use them as slave soldiers before 1800?

Darrell said...

Yeah. Let them come to Berlin. Where the US helped defeat the Soviet Union and East Germany. Then the victorious Western Germans elected a Commie cocksucker from East Germany to run the whole thing.

Kennedy speech matches the middle highs of Trump speech, but it doesn't begin to touch the biggest issues, like saving the whole of Western civilization, after defining it. Of course, Kennedy would have never thought that people needed such a speech--because people weren't fucking stupid back than. For example, Great Britain would have never let millions of able-bodied German men immigrate between 1939 and 1945. Because they were at war and they weren't fucking stupid.

Luke Lea said...

How does Western civilization compare with the various archaic and barbarous forms of civilization that continue to exist in other parts of the world (most notably Islam and China)? Or do liberal institutions not count anymore?

rcocean said...

"the total decline in good history books" I'm not sure how you'd measure "total decline," but outstanding works of history, very accessible to the "general reader," based on incredible scholarship, appear frequently. I am on Reformations by Carlos Eire -- who teaches at . . . Yale!"

Well, thanks for the 1 example.

Seeing Red said...

I remember when The Reverend Jessah! Went to the Wall and looked over and said something like its a lack of communication.

Ummm, no, it wasn't.

Kate said...

Reagan's The Boys of Pointe du Hoc is a damn fine speech.

Seeing Red said...

The most shocking sentence in Trump’s speech—perhaps the most shocking sentence in any presidential speech delivered on foreign soil in my lifetime—was his claim that “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”


Sounds like something Inga would say, oh, that will never happen.

Just can't imagine how it could happen.



We will just ignore history as to how.

Seeing Red said...

Cos we are living it.

buwaya said...

"most notably Islam and China"

China hasn't been barbarous in thousands of years.
The modern Chinese are much more careful to pass on their intellectual patrimony, not withstanding their communist interlude.

They have rediscovered an interest in their classics. I don't know how many iterations and variants and segments of 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms" I have seen or heard of, all immensely popular, and including their top video game apparently.

There is a new very popular film series on "Journey to the West".

rcocean said...

Of course, I was using Hyperbole to make a point. The decline in good/popular history books written by professors over the last 50 years is obvious and quite significant.

Steven Ambrose and Admiral Morrison were both College professors. The latest WW 2 popular histories are written by journalists.

AlbertAnonymous said...

"...they find the West itself an offensive and exclusionary concept"

well they can feelz as offended and excluded as they like, as they write from the hallowed ivory towers of their academia and/or liberal elite media corporations. Jackasses.

True colors are showing.

This is how you got Trump. Keep fighting it, you'll get more of him.

Rick said...

Missed one: James Fallows was on NPR claiming the speech was tribalism in contrast to how other presidents have spoken internationally by stressing our values. To his credit the NPR interviewer read a section which sounded exactly as Fallows claimed other presidents spoke, but to his detriment didn't challenge Fallows characterization that these excerpts weren't representative of the speech.

It's almost like this group of journalists got together to decide how best to frame the speech in order to attack Trump.

Unknown said...

>Blogger Fabi said...
>Where would the world be without Western civilization?

You knew this was coming, right?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc7HmhrgTuQ

Darrell said...

Back then, not "back than."

Angel-Dyne said...

buwaya: Lets take UCLA and Cervantes. One would think that Cervantes, being rather ... influential in Spanish lit, ubiquitous and foundational in even Latin American literature - see Borges, et al - but in UCLA there is only one class offered, only occasionally, and not in Spanish.

If it's any consolation, at a super-cucky shitlib public U in a state that is not California and has a negligible Hispanic population, my daughter read Cervantes, in Spanish.

buwaya said...

"The latest WW 2 popular histories are written by journalists.'

I recommend "An Army at Dawn", Rick Atkinson, a journalist.

His other books in that series somewhat less so, but they are worthwhile.

A large number of old-time popular military histories were written by journalists.
Notably Cornelius Ryan, especially "The Longest Day", which is in a highly journalistic style.
That should be required reading in the High Schools.

Seeing Red said...

There was an old saying that if you control Germany, you control Europe -- and if you control Berlin, you control Germany.



Still true, they and the frogs did to Britain with the law and contracts what they couldn't do by war--submit.

AMDG said...

Our society faces three existential threats,

1. The growing national debt

2. Crazies (Iranians and Norks) with Nukes

3. The rise of tribalism - best exemplified by the SJW takeover of liberal arts education. The denigration of Western Civ is a key weapon in the SJW arsenal.

Darrell said...

Yeah Mohandas Gandhi is a good one to quote. Ask him about his South African quotes and adventures.

mockturtle said...

Oh, yes. The PC backlash coming, all right. Students will find themselves hungry for genuine Western Civilization textbooks [wow, I sure wish I'd kept mine!] about real history without apology.

Tarrou said...

None of our physical enemies poses an existential threat to us. ISIS is incapable of seizing victory. But if the left has their way, we can lose. The entire program of leftism has as its goal the end of western civilization, the subjugation of its political edifices and the genocide of its people. Internal leftism is the only existential threat we face. And we should treat it as such.

MountainMan said...

Someone tweeted this in the last year or so: "In 100 years we've gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching remedial English in college."

sinz52 said...

Beinart has totally lost it.

Even the Wikipedia article on the Cold War describes it as a struggle between the Western bloc and the Eastern bloc.

Google searches and Google Scholar searches will return zillions more hits like that.

The obvious reason for that metaphor was that Russia (leading power in the Eastern Bloc) is in the Eastern Hemisphere and America (leading power in the Western bloc) is in the Western hemisphere.

William said...

Western Civ is neither static nor monolithic. The people from North Africa were founding members, and the people of Northern Europe were late arrivals. Most of the North Africans are no longer on the shipping manifest, but the Northern Europeans are overly booked. I predict that in the near future some other group or groups will have a disproportionate impact......,They say that the last people in Europe to be civilized were the Scots. A few years later the lowland Scots of Edinburgh and Glasgow were having a huge impact on Western Civ. Nowadays, they're mostly all sodden drunks and football hooligans, but, at one time, men like Hume and Adam Smith defined what it was to be civilized.......Germany's Jews were only allowed into German society in the mid eighteenth century. In a few years they were producing men like Heine and Mendelssohn....Blacks aren't overly represented in the sciences, but the many of the giants of 20th century western music were black. They're part of western Civ whether they want to be or not.

Rick said...

Michael said...
"Stand, men of the West! The hour of Doom is at hand."


A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day.

Angel-Dyne said...

If Trump is good for nothing else, he has opened the eyes of a lot of well-meaning, cluelessly tolerant, thoughtlessly progressive-minded Americans to the fact that they have real enemies here - a whole class of respectable great-and-gooders who sincerely believe that everything that they love is either worthless or a potential satanic danger that must be eradicated. Enemies who are now desperately angry that there is a serious reaction to the last half-century of their anti-human New World Order fantasy, and its ever more crude, memory-holing, historical-revisionist bullshit.

Skipper said...

Voter fraud!

JPS said...

Paco Wové, 6:37:

Thanks for that link. I thought the piece was very good. In it, at the end, he quotes (in partial but substantial disagreement) David Frum:

"Yet the most troubling thing about the speech was the falsehood at its core; the problem is not with the speech, but with the speaker."

I think there's something useful in what Frum wrote: He's admitting that it doesn't matter what Trump says, Frum will still object. When Trump is right, he will get exactly as little credit from Frum and his ilk as if he's wrong.

Which I think I knew, but it's good to see such candor amid so many disingenuous criticisms.

Michael K said...

Whats astonishing is how effective the leftists have been convincing several generations in a row that general human condition kind of stuff is really all the fault of the west, whites and Christians.

It was all Gramsci's plan. And it has worked beautifully,.

To counter the notion that bourgeois values represented "natural" or "normal" values for society, the working class needed to develop a culture of its own. Lenin held that culture was "ancillary" to political objectives, but for Gramsci it was fundamental to the attainment of power that cultural hegemony be achieved first. In Gramsci's view, a class cannot dominate in modern conditions by merely advancing its own narrow economic interests; neither can it dominate purely through force and coercion. Rather, it must exert intellectual and moral leadership, and make alliances and compromises with a variety of forces. Gramsci calls this union of social forces a "historic bloc", taking a term from Georges Sorel. This bloc forms the basis of consent to a certain social order, which produces and re-produces the hegemony of the dominant class through a nexus of institutions, social relations, and ideas. In this way, Gramsci's theory emphasized the importance of the political and ideological superstructure in both maintaining and fracturing relations of the economic base.

Gramsci stated that bourgeois cultural values were tied to folklore, popular culture and religion, and therefore much of his analysis of hegemonic culture is aimed at these. He was also impressed by the influence Roman Catholicism had and the care the Church had taken to prevent an excessive gap developing between the religion of the learned and that of the less educated. Gramsci saw Marxism as a marriage of the purely intellectual critique of religion found in Renaissance humanism and the elements of the Reformation that had appealed to the masses. For Gramsci, Marxism could supersede religion only if it met people's spiritual needs, and to do so people would have to think of it as an expression of their own experience.

For Gramsci, hegemonic dominance ultimately relied on a "consented" coercion, and in a "crisis of authority" the "masks of consent" slip away, revealing the fist of force.


Richard Fernandez has some things to say about this.

The West is filled with millions of people like Alex, all of them waiting for Someone. They are the product of a multi-decade campaign to deliberately empty people of their culture; to actually make them ashamed of it. They were purposely drained of God, country, family like chickens so they could be stuffed with the latest narrative of the progressive meme machine. The Gramscian idea was to produce a blank slate upon which the Marxist narrative could be written.

Darrell said...

I can't seem to find anything Frum wrote when the Obama administration lied to the American people about a video on YouTube being the cause of the Egyptian/Benghazi terror attacks.

brylun said...

Trump is absolutely right on this point, as is Lowry. Western Civilization got us to a
"horn of plenty." Other civilizations just don't compare.

Bill Peschel said...

tim mcgruie wrote Both sides have plenty of wackos, but the right keeps its wackos on the fringe. The left puts its wackos in charge.

This is why I can't take the hand-wringing about the "alt-right" seriously, not when the co-organizer of the anti-Trump women's march is calling for jihad right now.

Bill Peschel said...

JPS wrote:
I think there's something useful in what Frum wrote: He's admitting that it doesn't matter what Trump says, Frum will still object. When Trump is right, he will get exactly as little credit from Frum and his ilk as if he's wrong.

Which I think I knew, but it's good to see such candor amid so many disingenuous criticisms.


Wasn't it the Nineth Circuit that said if Hillary had proposed the travel ban they were fine with it, but because it came from Trump it wasn't?

Which meant that the act was Constitutional, but only when the right person signed it.

Which is exactly what the rule of law is about.[/sarcasm]

Comanche Voter said...

The left keeps on demonstrating that if you keep your head in a dim dark place where the Son don't shine, you wind up with some weird thoughts. Pathologies even one might say.

The folks getting all wee wee'd up about the Warsaw speech are just not too bright.

DanTheMan said...

>>It's almost like this group of journalists got together to decide how best to frame the speech in order to attack Trump.


"It's almost like" ??

Yes, and 2+2 is almost like 4.

Tommy Duncan said...

Darrell said: "Kennedy's speech matches the middle heights of Trump's speech, but it doesn't begin to touch the biggest issues, like saving the whole of Western civilization, after defining it. Of course, Kennedy would have never thought that people needed such a speech--because people weren't fucking stupid back then."

Western Civilization is difficult to defend because its critics are either politicized liars or profoundly ignorant. It requires a two semester course in history to rebut a one sentence progressive cheap shot.

Henry said...

If you google Obama Western Civilization you will find a host of articles accusing Mr. Obama of betraying/abandoning/ending/being-ignorant-of Western Civilization.

This is the way it works. You pick your enemy and work from there.

Michael said...

buwaya
Thank you for the link to the Classics Dept at UCLA. Stunning. Hilarious to see that the professor specializing in Latin literature also teaches the History of Sexuality and Feminist Theory. Of course. I somehow think the literature is much diminished by her perspectives. It is worth examining her CV.
Victor David Hanson's question "Who Killed Homer" is answered right there.

rcocean said...

"A large number of old-time popular military histories were written by journalists.
Notably Cornelius Ryan, especially "The Longest Day", which is in a highly journalistic style.
That should be required reading in the High Schools."

I'd agree. There's a old-timey good British one: "The struggle for Europe" by Chester Wilmont.

Henry said...

Obama was Teflon (Reagan was Teflon). Trump is cast iron. You can burn anything in cast iron on any kind of heat and you can always scrub it back to cast iron.

Maybe you need to reseason it. That's just more oil and heat.

Trump never rusts.

Henry said...

"A large number of old-time popular military histories were written by journalists.

Rick Atkinson, too.

rcocean said...

BTW, I'd love read Homer in the original Greek - since he wrote epic poetry. Also, a lot of the Bible was written in Greek.

But y'know there's other stuff like: the internet, work, family, and South Park reruns.

So, Homer will have to wait.

Michael said...

I love to defend Western Civilization to my leftie friends. I play a game. Literature? Fine. I will name two authors of the West and the leftie only has to name one from another region. Music? Same. Philosophy? Same and I will spot them Augustine as an African. These games are short as you can imagine and often end in a blithering rage by the leftie always trying to go all racism.

sinz52 said...

"How does Western civilization compare with the various archaic and barbarous forms of civilization that continue to exist in other parts of the world (most notably Islam and China)? Or do liberal institutions not count anymore?"

Let's look at some of the undergraduate course offerings of the English Department of the University of Ghana in Africa:

ENGL 429 Satire and the Enlightenment
This course will be an exploration of the relationship between Literature, Politics and Society during the Enlightenment in Europe, and how these are manifested in the texts to be studied.

ENGL 425 Nineteenth Century Fiction
The course provides an overview of the practice of the novel, especially in its dominant phase – Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy. The course explores the development of the ‘great tradition’ of English novel writing...

ENGL 458 Life Story
The course will begin with an examination of some of the most original and influential examples of memoir and life story writing such as Caesar’s Gallic Wars (De Bello Gallico), Confessions of St. Augustine, and Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson LL...

ENGL 438 Masterpieces of American Literature
This course introduces the students to literary works that stand out prominently from the American literary landscape. The course, therefore, deals with works of a kind and magnitude that have rendered them conspicuous, and which in various ways have provided...

ENGL 433 English Literature from Milton to Blake
This course is intended to acquaint students with the variety and development of English literature from the age of John Milton to the age of William Blake. The reading on this course will be used to show how each of the writers under study could be said to...


That's an African university.

The only people who are so down on the achievements of Western society are Western leftists. And the main reason they're so down is that Western society has refused to be led by them.

Meade said...

Brave internet sean at 6:27.

Why the pseudonymity, sean? May I call you False Name Sean? Why not come out with your real identity and debate Prof. Althouse on the merits? Bring your good faith charges and accusations. Are you able?

Or am I making too much over a silly little slimy smear?

Unknown said...

Look up Benedict XVI's essay 'Europe and its Discontents' (2006) for a prescient discussion of some of these issues.

Khesanh 0802 said...

Once again Trump provides the initial impetus for a major discussion. How important is Western Civilization to us ( you define us anyway you want.)? That the MSM doesn't get what he is doing shouldn't surprise us at all. Trump sets the hypothesis: Western civilization is critically important and worth defending. The MSM says "no it isn't." The Deplorables say to the MSM: "Who are you trying to kid, of course it's important. Didn't we just celebrate our own Declaration of Independence?"

mockturtle said...

MountainMan observes: Someone tweeted this in the last year or so: "In 100 years we've gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching remedial English in college."

So true! Both of my great grandfathers [as well as their great grandfathers] studied Latin and Greek, as did both grandfathers and my father. Some studied Hebrew, as well, to better study the Bible. This was in the curriculum back in the day. Pathetic how our educational goals have slipped to the lowest common denominator.

Bay Area Guy said...

I guess the Leftist perspective is this:

1. You forcibly converted Jews to Christianity in Spain
2. You conquered a lotta people and imposed Christianity on them.
3. You colonized and exploited a buncha brown and black people in Africa & South America
4. You slaughtered Indians
5. You enslaved blacks
6. You suppressed women
7. You marginalized gays

Ergo, we ignore Homer, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Newton etc., etc.

It is a weak, ahistorical, and facile argument.

Gk1 said...

Great speech by Trump so much so the left appears to be stunned and uncertain how to attack. They have chosen the first rock they can grab which is pretty lame. RACISM! Because REASONS! Wow, its been a pretty shitty week for those guys. ;-)

Mr. Majestyk said...

And to add insult to injury, the taxpayer supports so many of these leftist professors who disparage Western Civilization. It's like paying for the bullets that the dictatorship used to murder your relatives.

Chuck said...

There was another part of Trump's speech that the Left just couldn't handle, and therefore blew it off.

It was the Trump speechwriters' speaking in terms of "we" in the "community of reasonable [Western] nations." It was actually one of Trump's least nationalistic speeches, ever. Trump wasn't talking about America First. Trump was talking about the traditionally-understood community of modern western democracies. The UK, and northern Europe, and Israel, and the Iberian peninsula and Italy and Greece and the newly freedom-seeking eastern Europeans like the Czechs and the Poles. And so on. All of us, together. Working together, with common and eternal values.

By rights, that sort of internationalist "community of nations" stuff ought to be at least partly soothing to the Left, but they just can't accept it.

Jon Ericson said...

Trollbuster!
Thank you, Laurence.

Jon Ericson said...

Sigh, speak of the devil...

Sebastian said...

@rc: Sure, you exaggerated for effect, and I agree many academic historians have lost the common touch, and of course, there's a lot of tendentious lefty crap out there. But "total decline" is nonsense. Just staying with the Reformation, there's Roper on Luther and Gordon on Calvin. Gordon Wood is still around, and Daniel Howe's What Hath God Wrought is remarkable. Simon Schama and Niall Ferguson may not be your cup of tea, but they are on the level the old historians in writing for the wider public. Economic history is really on an entirely new level -- take Robert Gordon's Rise and Fall of American Growth. And so on, and so forth.

Michael said...

mockturtle
I studied Latin in college and taught remedial English when I went to graduate school! It didn't take 100 years.

Chuck
Although he isn't the most eloquent you cannot find a speech in which he attempts to divide Americans. He will attack the press, he will attack leakers but in all of his campaign speeches and presidential speeches you will not find him disparaging "the other side."

traditionalguy said...

He who controls the past... etc. says Orwell. it's all about writing good history. You cannot know where you are going unless you know where you have been... as far back as possible.

But the writing has to be done well done to be read by many. That was Churchill's special talent.

I would recommend one Newspaper sportswriter turned into an excellent historian, some from having lived it, and some from a dedication to telling the history accurately: Robert Leckie.

Browndog said...

I find it odd-

Althouse didn't even acknowledge the Trump Poland speech for 1 1/2 days, then uses NeverTrumper Rich Lowrey as the platform to start the discussion. Not even a cafe.

Similarly, there was some sudden need to talk Presidential assassinations using MSNBC favorite hack historian Jon Meacham.

bagoh20 said...

I wish I had had kids, becuase I would have insisted they learn what everyone refuses to today. Those children of mine would be stepping on little snowflake heads and using their tender incompetence, confusion and stupidity like free rubble to build the foundation of their own future of success in no small measure by simply showing their easily demonstrated superiority to employers, backers, and clients. It would be like Lew Alcindor showing up for the Lilliputian basketball draft.

Proghead said...

Question:

When was the last time you heard a US president mention Copernicus in a speech?

The Left: Coper Who?

Fabi said...

All modern presidents have speechwriters -- to wit: Peggy Noonan for RWR.

sean said...

Meade: I have a real job, practicing law, which absorbs most of my time, and I don't have guaranteed lifetime employment, which inhibits my ability to make open political statements in opposition to the thought police.

bagoh20 said...

If western civilization is not great, then where is the greatness? Is our current affluence, longevity, health, and tolerance a good thing, just what would have happened anyway, or much less than what a surviving Mongol, Islamic, Zulu, or Sioux hegemonic civilization would have produced? Would all that we value be here in any significant way without western ideas, strengths, and values? Could snowflakes survive in the Sahara desert?

Fabi said...

Copernicus was a geocentriphobe so his opinions don't count. ;-)

Browndog said...

Western civilization is superior because of Christian/Judaeo principles.

Many look for another explanation, few come up with a different credible one.

A common morality binds us all.

Meade said...

I pity your employer, Sean.

rcocean said...

"Simon Schama and Niall Ferguson may not be your cup of tea"

LoL. You're right, neither is my cup of tea. I loathe Schama - he's Specimen A of what's wrong with History writing. Another one is Max Hastings in the field of Military history.

I don't blame people, who just read a couple history books a year or a lifetime, for thinking these guys are OK. You really have to be a "deep in the weeds" history obsessive to see how these two characters, flim-flam their way through British and military history. Its like everything else, once you know a lot about a subject you have a different viewpoint.

Its similar to music, where some guy writes a song that us Average Joe's like, but the music aficionados know is complete crap.

But when all is said is done what does it matter? Vidal called people like me " "scholar-squirrels" maybe he's right.

Bob Ellison said...

I am not old enough to remember that Stanford chant. I remember lefties shouting using hey hey, ho ho to drive America out of South Africa.

Chants are leftists' way of saying they don't think with their own brains. Peace, land, and bread.

roesch/voltaire said...

Michael I will be glad to play your little game naming numerous authors form India, China, Japan, Korea etc that you probably never have read about because they are over looked in the Western cannon. I had an undergraduate degree in comparative literature which seem to include the Greeks, but stopped at that border and only discovered the rest of the world after college.
But you know teaching great authors in the Western cannon doesn't mean they all praise Western achievements but question it as well for example Conrad's Heart of Darkness. But we must thank Michael K for Gramsci's insight on how easily we accept the myths of any given culture while ignoring things like the duck hunt at Jekyll Island. In this way, Gramsci's theory emphasized the importance of the political and ideological superstructure in both maintaining and fracturing relations of the economic base."

Sebastian said...

"he's Specimen A of what's wrong with History writing." I have no opinion on Schama's take on British history. But I have read his work on French and Dutch (art) history. I am not an expert in either one, but thought both works well-written and well-informed, easily on the level of history written by academics for a wide public 50 years ago (insofar as I have sampled that), though of course Schama is opinionated. Which is not to say that he is on the level of the best French history--but even the little I have sampled suggests that "total decline" is nonsense: recent historians of France, both in the US and in France, have written marvelous works aimed at the general public. Le Roy Ladurie, for starters. I just finished Richard Evans on the nineteenth century: "decline" from what?

Bob Ellison said...

Um, canon.

James K said...

The proper response by a university to demands like "Western Civ has go to go" is "How would you know? We decide what you need to learn, because you don't know anything. When you become educated and join a university as faculty or administration you can make a case. Until then, shut up."

Along similar lines, my wife asked me what these antifa people actually want. I said I doubt they even know. Just spoiled brats throwing tantrums to get attention. Put ten of them in ten different rooms and ask what they want, and you'll be unlikely to get a coherent thought, but if you do get more than one, they'll be inconsistent.

mockturtle said...

Well said, Chuck at 9:04!

mockturtle said...

Proghead asks: When was the last time you heard a US president mention Copernicus in a speech?

The left would think it was some kind of sex act.

mockturtle said...

rcocean writes: I don't blame people, who just read a couple history books a year or a lifetime, for thinking these guys are OK. You really have to be a "deep in the weeds" history obsessive to see how these two characters, flim-flam their way through British and military history. Its like everything else, once you know a lot about a subject you have a different viewpoint.

What do you think of Thomas Carlyle? Most specifically, his The French Revolution?

bagoh20 said...

Which cultures or civilizations are superior is a matter of opinion. The most copied, and desired culture for a number of centuries now has been the western one. The direction of mobile human beings with a choice has been predominantly west for a long time. Mankind in general seems to say western civilization is great. I agree. There are people who will argue, but even the vast majority of them choose it with their feet, and feet don't lie.

retail lawyer said...

The left in this case does not want to harm the self esteem of people of dirt-bag cultures. And the reason people of dirt bag have only dirt and a bag is some mean thing Western Civilization did to them.

This is Obama in two sentences. Dreams of his drunken Marxist Muslim bigamist father of dirt bag who abandoned him. Its Western Civ's problem now.

Nothing a good famine couldn't fix, though.

Darrell said...

Well said, Chuck at 9:04!

That's a banning!

William said...

Protests against Western Civ are a huge part of Western Civ. Martin Luther was antithetical to the civilization of his moment. I'm no fan of the French Revolution, but it's part of Western Civ even though its express purpose was to overthrow that Civ........I think most people who care about literature will eventually find their way to Homer, Shakespeare, and Cervantes, although probably not while in high school or, perhaps, even college. But they're bedrock. They're not going away. Render unto Newton the things that are Newton's and unto Einstein the things that are Einstein's.

David Begley said...

Bay Area Guy:

I think Ted Sorenson from Lincoln wrote that Berlin speech for JFK.

AMDG:

What school? Creighton for me.

Sebastian said...

"When was the last time you heard a US president mention Copernicus in a speech?"

Recommendation for fellow history buff rc: David Wootton, The Invention of Science--top-notch history, readable for amateurs. If you don't mind testing your declinist hypothesis.

mockturtle said...

The chief purpose of studying history is not to judge it but to see where we've been and what we've done. Sometimes 'why' is part of the question but not necessarily.

David said...

It's still just a speech. Words not deeds.

David said...

"When was the last time you heard a US president mention Copernicus in a speech?"

When was the last time a President gave a speech in Poland?

Has that ever happened before?

Mr. Majestyk said...

Regarding the dustup between Meade and "False Name Sean," are we to assume on this blog that any comment critical of another commenter or the hostess is not a "good faith charge"? Or is it the lack of a link to back up the charge that is the problem? And what does the poster's pseudonymity have to do with any of this? Just wondering.

David said...

Nixon was the first sitting US President to visit Poland. Every American president but one since Nixon has visited Poland while in office. The exception is Obama. He was scheduled to go in 2011 but did not, ostensibly because of the volcanic ash in the atmosphere from the Icelandic eruption. The Obama visit was never rescheduled.

David said...

My search did not reveal whether the other presidents mentioned Copernicus during their visits.

Seeing Red said...

It's still just a speech. Words not deeds.


Backed up by Patriot missiles. Barry gave Poland the shaft.

David said...

"are we to assume on this blog that . . ."

Assume away. I assume you will make an assumption without instruction from others.

eddie willers said...

There are two ways to kill a country: (1) invasion from a foreign country and (2) internal rot.

May I quote a Westerner?

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known, and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very hall of government itself. For the traitor appears no traitor. He speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their garments, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in hearts of men. He rots the soul of a nation. He works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city. He infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero; 42 B.C.

Seeing Red said...

"I had to pick a side, George. It was a necessary choice as much as a moral one. The West has become so very ugly and sick."


Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

I was inspired to watch it tonight. I do regret I wasn't interested when Alec Guinness was Smiley.

Achilles said...

Trump is carrying out the best of the most likely scenarios. He didn't turn into a free market libertarian or even conservative. Oh well. But he is taking the media apart much faster than I thought he would.

After he destroys the media the next step is to force the DNC to be reborn into something that resembles a political alternative to the republican party. This speech highlighted the biggest problem the left has right now.

No useful number of people in this country are going to support a party that can't agree with the fundamental message Trump delivered in that speech. It really seems that Bannon is back in charge.

Ralph L said...

Barry gave Poland the shaft.
Coals to Newcastle.

Sample Commenter said...

Its similar to music, where some guy writes a song that us Average Joe's like, but the music aficionados know is complete crap.

Yes, because we all know that writing hits is dirt simple, and only the most sophisticated of musicians can write music that most people don't like. If a lot of people like it, it's not crap. Just because the music intelligentsia can't apply reductionist theories to it, or marvel at the technical mastery of the players doesn't mean it's not good music. The concept you are looking for is lack of snob appeal, I think.

DanTheMan said...

97% percent of astronomers in the 1500's agreed that the sun went around the earth. There was consensus.
Copernicus should have been silenced as a Orbit Denier.

Rusty said...

Mr. Majestyk said...

I suspect there is more going on here than what is posted. I think it is probably better to let them sort it out and not inject ourselves into it.

I thought Boorstein did a good job of describing how we got here in "The Creators" in 400 pages. Or is Boorstein not an adequate historian?

Michael said...

RV
You would do better than most but you would lose nonetheless.
Conrad, the Pole writing in English, was hardly down on Western Culture although HOD was a clear indictment of Belgium style colonialism. A contemporary professor would clearly try to make it a metaphor for the evil of racist Europe and a nod to the evil of Bach and Christianity but she would be wrong.

Freder Frederson said...

Poland, more than any other European country, has experienced the twin evils of Nazism and Communism.

And these aren't part of the history of Western Civilization? You have a fucked up concept of Western Civilization. Glorify the good, ignore the bad (like the two bloodiest wars in the history of mankind).

SDaly said...

Sean -

When you are catching flak, you are over the target.

Ralph L said...

Freder, I was going to respond to your comment, but it's too idiotic for words.

All I got is "Huh?"

Freder Frederson said...

All I got is "Huh?"

What, don't you accept that Nazism and Communism were products of Western Civilization?

roesch/voltaire said...

Michael as a contemporary professor I would be more concerned with the allegorical nature of the narration, with the notion of the blank white space in the map and what fills it, not with trite metaphors that you refer to. My original point was that authors can embrace Western culture, as I do, while still maintaining a critical understanding of how it has worked in the past, genocide, and how it works now-- fracturing the economic base.

Fernandinande said...

Mr. Majestyk said...
Regarding the dustup between Meade and "False Name Sean," are we to assume on this blog that any comment critical of another commenter or the hostess is not a "good faith charge"?


Grrr! Woof, oh, woof!

That was funny, but it's true that posts on a pop-culture blog are invalid without the poster's full legal name, phone number, street address, SSN, an author's disclaimer and all the raw data.

Clayton Cramer said...

"Most of modern civilization that everyone loves was created by western white Christians and Jews." When my wife was taking Western Civ in the pterodactyl age, the text they used was The Western Heritage of Faith and Reason. Now that I teach Western Civ, I use that title to explain that Western Civ has two roots: the Greek emphasis on reason, and Judaism from which the universality of God leads to ideas like equal protection of the laws.

Clayton Cramer said...

"My original point was that authors can embrace Western culture, as I do, while still maintaining a critical understanding of how it has worked in the past, genocide, and how it works now-- fracturing the economic base."

Of course, no other form of civilization has the history of genocide, slavery, or extreme wealth distribution pyramids. :-) Tell me the Gini coefficients of wealth for pre-contact India, China, Japan, and the Incas.

TestTube said...

Another aspect of progressivism is an assumption that Western Civilization -- or perhaps what Western civilization will evolve into under progressive management -- is in a certain sense, indestructable and inevitable.

Victory is inevitable, not only over the hated deplorables, but also more exotic, yet still lesser cultures, who will quickly and rationally see the progressive advantage, and abandon their less savory cultural traits to become good enlightened members of the soon-to-be dominant leftish mix, enriching the leaven with their quaint dress and cusine, but nothing more substantial.

But Western Culture does not seem to be so invincible. It must be defended vigorously, or, like so many other enlightened cultures in the past, it will sink beneath the waves of barbarians.

As an example, Islamic culture is, if nothing else, rugged, persistent and durable. It has the ability to survive and flourish in a harsh environment, and in the midst of other powerful cultures Islamism is able to carve out and maintain its own niche. It has managed to become dominant in the cauldron of the Middle East, surrounded by other cultures and peoples. It gobbles up the disaffected, and refuses to let them back out. It thrives in arid wastelands of prisons and streets.

MaxedOutMama said...

Regarding the ability of other countries to "westernize" - the entire point of Trump's speech was that it is not really possible without some of the underlying belief structures that led to the political/social structures and strictures of the west.

What we are now seeing is a widespread de-westernization of some countries (mostly those with large Muslim populations). Some countries had western-type social systems imposed by colonization, and are now shedding those structures. The problem is that part of westernization is democratization, which is a system that allows for peaceful political change/evolution. But when the underlying belief structure in a nation is not founded on Western values, that will inevitably lead to the destruction of the political structure. So we now seem to see in parts of southeast Asia, and has already happened in large swathes of Africa.

Sadly, the fundamental Islamic societal matrix is a theocratic dictatorship.

That is Trump's point in this speech. And his second point is that if the western populations lose their belief system (not necessarily in Christianity, but in some of the precepts of Christianity), they will not survive as democracies either.

Ann's comment on the college vote fits rather well with the points in Trump's speech.

Buddhism and Judeo-Christian religion seem to be very compatible with western political systems. Islam is not, tribalism is not, it's not at all clear that Hinduism is going to be, and paganism is clearly not.

So now what?

Ralph L said...

Judaism from which the universality of God
If I understand their theological history correctly, it's curious that the Hebrews got to that universality around the same time that the Greeks got to reason, give or take a century or two.
And then the Pax Romana was conveniently available to ease the spread of Christianity.

mockturtle said...

Fredo admittedly makes a valid point: And these aren't part of the history of Western Civilization? You have a fucked up concept of Western Civilization. Glorify the good, ignore the bad (like the two bloodiest wars in the history of mankind).

Studying history, warts and all, is showing us what mankind is capable of: Art and architecture, philosophy and music, science and medicine. Also, acts of sheer stupidity and ruthlessness. These are people like ourselves who not only allowed evil to happen but actively pursued it. History is the story of humanity at its best and at its worst.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Judaism from which the universality of God
If I understand their theological history correctly, it's curious that the Hebrews got to that universality around the same time that the Greeks got to reason, give or take a century or two.
And then the Pax Romana was conveniently available to ease the spread of Christianity.


It was Karen Armstrong I believe (whom I don't and wouldn't read) who called this all part of the "axial age." As the power of iron-based weapons and the empires they forged grew, a way of consolidating the people under a singular moral authority or idea to which they could all agree or respect became increasingly important.

Alex said...

James Maxwell, Albert Einstein, James Joyce, Friedrich Schiller, Percy Shelley, James Steinbeck, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, on and on and on. You could go with the white men who built modern Western civilization.

Alex said...

Think about Silicon Valley. All the original companies and the next thousands after that. All founded by the dreaded white male. Facebook, Twitter, Google all founded by the left's favorite whipping boy - the white male.

Alex said...

Last I checked Apple's entire senior engineering staff are white male.

Alex said...

Oh and all the classical music that everyone pays tickets to hear in concert halls across the world - all written by the European white male. The greatest ever rock bands, all white men. Ok, Jimi Hendrix you got one there.

Ralph L said...

TTR, she could be right about the Athenian empire. I understand that Jewish universality was forged in the Babylonian exile and the early Diaspora, so it was the lack of power that changed their religion.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Jewish practice changed drastically after the Roman exile - out of necessity to turn the previous temple-based practice into a prayer-based analogy - with services that (I'm told) were made to actually be reminiscent of the temple-based rituals. However, how much the basic ideas changed is more for the archeologists to discuss. IIRC, they did seem to agree that post-Babylonian exile was when monotheism earnestly supplanted henotheism under the leadership/reforms of Ezra etc.

But other ideas were obviously fluid just from the known differences of belief between Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes - even when it comes to something that would seem as basic as post-mortem resurrection, which the elite Sadducees incredibly enough rejected.

Your basic point, however, is one that makes sense - but goes further than I would. I think that their rejection of larger empire (apart from exercising one over nearby local Edomites, etc.) and ambivalence with monarchy already marked them as a nation willing to go much further in limiting their own power centuries before the exile experiences. The abolitionist ideals of their foundational Exodus myth sort of makes that a given, anyway.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Jewish universality is a vexing phrase in itself Ralph, but you could be right. However, verses in Isaiah and Psalms seem to predate whatever could have been made out of it after the diaspora.

Ralph L said...

abolitionist ideals of ... Exodus
I've never heard it expressed that way, but it fits (or did the Hebrews have slaves of their own?) Nor had it occurred to me that Rome and Athens and the Jews were all anti-monarchical to a degree for some time, certainly more than everyone else I can think of.

Are there any records of subjects chastising ancient monarchs as the Hebrew prophets did their kings? We don't think of the O.T. supporting free speech or free thought, more often the reverse.

Ralph L said...

"seem to predate" --or edited later for theological correctness

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Hebrews were allowed slaves, as long as Deuteronomy or Leviticus are your guides. But the proscriptions as to what could be done to them were discouraging enough. Probably the biggest disincentive against slave ownership was simply the designation of the home country as "promised/holy" land, which discouraged the conquest that comes from empire - as that was the biggest resource for slave acquisition.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

It's possible that Isaiah and Psalms were edited after the exile. But probably not by much. Whatever was canonized into the NT from the OT was probably already cannon by about if not before that time.

And semi-accurate canonization before that time was certainly possible. The Samaritan Pentateuch, for example, has a number of differences with the Jewish version, but they are minor and particular to arcane details relating to the center of worship over which they differed (Mt Ebal vs. Mt Moriah). If authentic, then these divergences would have predated not only the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests in the 7th c. BCE, but their split from each other as semi-separate nations about a century or two before.

And while the books of Psalms and Isaiah were particular to the Jews - the Samaritans never having developed let alone sacralized that literature - there is not much reason to think that they'd have been any more prone to editing/redacting than the older pentateuch.

However, modern scholarship throws this all into dispute with the Documentary Hypothesis, which saw Ezra as a "redactor" who was perhaps one of the last authors and editors of the Pentateuch.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Sorry - Mt Gerizim.

Freder Frederson said...

Steve Jobs

You do realize that Steve Jobs was half Syrian.

Rusty said...

Blogger Ralph L said...
"Judaism from which the universality of God
If I understand their theological history correctly, it's curious that the Hebrews got to that universality around the same time that the Greeks got to reason, give or take a century or two."

I was under the impression that it was much earlier than that.

Ralph L said...

Jobs also told Isaacson that he decided not to pursue a relationship with Jandali [biofather]: “I learned a little bit about him and I didn’t like what I learned”.

From what we know of Jobs as a boss, that could be taken as a positive recommendation.

Sorry, are you saying Syrians aren't white?

Ralph L said...

I was under the impression that it was much earlier than that.
IIRC, the Hebrews had one God from the beginning, and "No other gods before me", but they didn't believe Him to be the only God for everyone until the Babylonian captivity period in the 500's BC.

Rusty said...

Ralph. Ah. I see.
So the idea of a creator god was from their time in babalonian bondage? Still. An amazingly sophisticated moral premise.

Jim at said...

"Internal leftism is the only existential threat we face. And we should treat it as such."

Quoted for truth.
They truly are the enemy within.

Meade said...

"That was funny, but it's true that posts on a pop-culture blog are invalid without the poster's full legal name, phone number, street address, SSN, an author's disclaimer and all the raw data. "

Nothing inherently wrong with pseudonymity.

But drive-by smear comments made of low-informed personal attacks and accusations on someone who is not herself hiding behind the safety of a mask strike me as wrong, gutless, and lazy.

Jupiter said...

Browndog said...
"Western civilization is superior because of Christian/Judaeo principles. Many look for another explanation, few come up with a different credible one."

I would suggest that you read a book called A Farewell To Alms. It argues, persuasively I think, that Western Civilization was the result of evolutionary pressures operating in Western Europe to produce people with natures suited to modern civilized ways of life.

And stopped-clock Freder is correct. Those same racial traits produced nations capable of developing and willing to deploy the most destructive war machines of all time. That, apparently, is why we can't have nice things.

Jupiter said...

Meade - you censored yourself! How charming!

Moderation in the defense of your wife is no virtue. Lay on, man!

I'm guessing sean had a bad experience with a Law Professor. Could happen.

Meade said...

Self-moderation begins at home -- a concept axiomatic to Western Civilization.